Can You Sue An Uninsured Driver?

Last Updated on August 8, 2023

Uninsured drivers, by definition, do not have car insurance. That’s why in many cases, your best option is to sue the uninsured driver.

Uninsured drivers are a huge problem in the United States. In 2020, approximately 1 in 7 drivers in the United States are uninsured. That means out of every seven cars you pass on the road, one will be uninsured, on average. That means in a collision with another motorist, there’s a 1 in 7 chance you’ll be unable to claim damages through insurance – even if the other driver is at fault.

Nearly 1 in 3 or 1 in 5 drivers are uninsured in some states.

Fortunately, there are options beyond car insurance – like a civil suit. Can you sue an uninsured driver? Today, we explain everything you need to know about suing an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Yes, You Can Sue an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist

Yes, you can sue an uninsured or underinsured driver after a collision. In fact, this is often your best course of action. There are entire law firms that specialize in suing uninsured and underinsured motorists. Contact an auto accident attorney in your area and schedule a free consultation.

However, there’s a problem with suing uninsured drivers. Typically, people who drive without car insurance don’t have much money. You can sue these drivers for all they’re worth, but you might still not get enough money to cover your damages – like your medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other expenses.

This is why drivers across America choose to buy uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

How Does Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is a form of optional car insurance. This type of car insurance comes in handy when you’re involved in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

If the other driver is uninsured, then it means they have no insurance coverage whatsoever. If the other driver is underinsured, then it means they don’t have sufficient coverage to pay your damages. They might only have a basic liability plan, for example.

Suppose you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, and you get into a collision with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. In that case, you can claim damages from your own insurance company – even if the other driver was at fault. Without uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you would be unable to make a claim or recover your damages (unless you choose to file a lawsuit).

Consider Filing a Personal Injury Claim

If you sue an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you will be filing a personal injury claim.

Suppose you were involved in a car accident that caused $200,000 in total damages – including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. The other driver’s insurance covers $100,000 in damages, but you’re still left with $100,000 in damages.

You could make a claim through your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This could cover the remaining $100,000. Your insurance company may cover the damages above and beyond what’s covered by the other driver’s policy.

Or, you can sue the other driver for the remaining damages above and beyond what their car insurance policy covers.

However, if the other driver has no assets, they’ll likely just declare bankruptcy. This will absolve them from having to pay for the damages they caused. You won’t get compensation.

In other words, filing a lawsuit and winning that lawsuit in court can give you a piece of paper entitling you to collect money from the other person. However, this doesn’t guarantee you’ll get paid.

There are other situations where it may be in your best interest to sue an uninsured driver. If the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident, for example, then a civil suit may proceed more smoothly.

Suppose you do choose to sue the other driver. In that case, you may be able to recoup damages for pain and suffering, loss of income and earning ability, healthcare costs, home maintenance costs (if you’re unable to maintain your home while injured), family member costs, caregiver benefits, death benefits, and funeral expenses, among other costs.

Final Word on Suing an Uninsured Driver

Yes, you can sue uninsured or underinsured drivers. This is often your best and only option for recovering losses. Remember: approximately 1 in 7 drivers across America drive without insurance daily. In some states, as many as 1 in 5 or even 1 in 3 drivers do not have insurance.

If you’re interested in suing an uninsured driver, sit down with an auto accident attorney in your area for a free consultation. The attorney will explain the best way to proceed with your case. In some cases, a civil suit is the best option. In other cases, suing an uninsured driver may not be worth the hassle.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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