This is a situation we see arise all the time: you are badly hurt in an accident, but the person who hurt you doesn’t have insurance. Maybe you were struck by a motorist in a T-bone or rear-end collision. Or maybe you slipped and fell in someone’s home and they lack homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Is there any way to obtain compensation?
The short answer is “yes.” The longer answer is that we need to carefully analyze the situation to determine whether it makes sense to file a personal injury lawsuit. Some defendants have assets you can collect on, whereas others might be “judgment proof.”
Uninsured Motorist Accidents
Many Washington drivers lack insurance, even though the state requires it. Fortunately, you probably have uninsured motorist coverage. This policy will step in and pay compensation if you are hurt by a negligent driver who lacks insurance.
With uninsured motorist coverage, you can only make a claim if you are not at fault. If you caused the accident, then you can’t use it.
Washington also requires that motorists carry personal injury protection insurance, called PIP. This is no-fault insurance which can pay for reasonable medical bills and cover some lost wages. Every motorist must have at least $10,000 in PIP benefits, although you might carry more. Because these benefits are no-fault, you could use them even if you caused the crash.
If you still have uncompensated losses, we can use certain collection methods discussed in the next section.
Uninsured Premises Liability Claims
Many accidents happen on someone’s property. For example, you slip and fall or trip and fall. Or there is some hazard on the property which hurts you, like poor wiring leading to a fire or electrocution.
Many homeowners lack insurance, especially if their mortgage is paid off. And few renters actually get renters’ insurance. Consequently, there is no insurance policy available to fund a settlement.
Our law firm can investigate whether the defendant has personal assets we can collect on. If you win at trial, the court will give you a judgment for a certain amount of money. This is just a piece of paper. It’s up to the defendant to pay it. If he or she refuses, we might rely on different collection methods to pry money loose.
However, Washington exempts certain property, such as a person’s home up to a certain amount of equity. Some personal property is also exempt. Nevertheless, we might use the judicial process to reach assets like:
- Other real estate
- Cash in a bank account
We might also be able to garnish the defendant’s wages if they have a regular job. This means you would be paid a little bit each month until the court judgment is satisfied.
Unfortunately, some defendants are “judgment proof.” They have no assets at all to pay a settlement, so it might be a waste of time to sue.
Let Us Help
Seeking compensation is vital following an accident. Few people can afford their medical bills or go without income. Call Alliance Law Group for help with your claim.