When people are in a car accident, it often occurs that they are so undone by the experience that all prior knowledge and common sense goes out the window. I recently had a client tell me he was hit and had major damage on his car after a woman pulled off a side street (violating a stop sign). They both pulled over and she told him she was in a terrible hurry. She apologized, then wrote down her name, address, telephone number and insurance company name for him. He called me with the information. I investigated and found that all the information was FICTIONAL. She had made up the information. And he had been so trusting he did not even write down her license plate number.
We were unable to pursue the claim for his injuries and he had NO COLLISION COVERAGE on his own car which was an older model. Unfortunatley, his agent convinced him to reduce his insurance premiums by eliminating the collision coverage. The collision coverage is what pays for damage to your car in an accident if there is no other insurance. Unfortunately, most agents do not tell their customers that if they decide to get rid of their collision coverage to reduce their premiums, they had better save up enough money to buy a replacement vehicle and leave it in a savings account for that unpredictable moment when it might be needed. He had not saved a cent and had no insurance coverage so he had to car pool to work and take public transportation in 20 degree weather.
To clarify-if he had just obtained the driver’s license and a copy of the insurance card of the driver who hit his car, he would have had a chance to have the entire thing paid by her insurance company. Don’t trust the other driver after an accident. ASK FOR AND REQUIRE to see the actual driver’s license and insurance card PLUS write down a description of the defendant’s car PLUS license plate number. If the police had come to the scene they would have required to see the cards, but in Philly you are lucky if you ever see the police after an accident. Often the Philly EMT will show up but no police. The EMT has no requirement to check anyone’s auto information. This is on YOU.
Finally, if he had purchased UNINSURED motorist coverage on his own policy for a few pennies per day, he could have reported this to the police as a hit and run and at least received compensation from his own company (with NO surcharge against him) under his UNINSURED motorist coverage. His agent did not tell him how important this coverage can be.
Make sure you always have Uninsured AND Underinsured motorist coverage in addition to FULL TORT. The value of a potential claim can far outweigh the cost of these coverages.
For more information on Car Accidents visit the Worthington Law Group website.