What Should I Do If I’m Hit by an Uninsured Driver?

A two vehicle motor vehicle accident with police on scene.

There are several things you should be aware of if you are hit by an uninsured driver. A driver may have an insurance card at the scene of a wreck but you have no way of knowing whether that insurance is expired, whether it applies to that particular vehicle, or whether that driver has permission to be driving that vehicle. So what should you do if you’re hit by an assumed uninsured driver?

Find out if the driver is, in fact, an uninsured driver.

Being hit by an uninsured driver could mean a handful of things.  There could be no insurance on the vehicle or the person that hit you may not be authorized to drive that vehicle. An attorney can determine whether the at-fault driver is uninsured by looking at the police report and sending a letter to the applicable insurance company to find out if that person is a proper driver.

Notify your own insurance company.

Most automobile insurance contracts require you to notify the insurer about any car accident within a reasonable time. If you do not comply with the terms of the insurance contract, your insurer may deny coverage.  If you have been hit by an uninsured driver, the uninsured motorist coverage of your policy would be utilized to cover any damages you suffered in the wreck.  If you are hurt by an uninsured driver, it is best to speak with an attorney because your own insurance company is going to defend that case against you, which puts you in a tricky position.

 Identify all insurance policies.

There are many different types of insurance policies and it is important to locate and share them all with your attorney.  Some insurance companies write specific policies for each vehicle in a household where as others write one policy that covers all vehicles in a home. 

Additionally, most all of your common insurance companies have what is known as resident relative coverage. This means that all relatives from the same household are entitled to use insurance policies from all other relatives in the same household, regardless of company.

 Treat your wreck like any other wreck.

Just like if you were hit by an insured driver, follow the same steps we suggest doing after any wreck.  Click here to read the 7 MOST IMPORTANT things to do after an accident

 If you are the victim of a hit and run, your case would be treated the same as if you were hit by an uninsured driver.  Your own insurance company is going to defend that case against you, so it is important to document as much as you can, take photos, look for witnesses, and seek medical treatment.

If you have been hit by an uninsured driver and would like to discuss your case for free, give us a call at 833-LEGAL-GA.

How Do I Prove Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Case?

One construction worker wrapping an injured arm of another construction worker with construction equipment in the background.

If you have been injured and are forced to miss work or miss the opportunity for work, you can seek lost wages as an item of damages from the at-fault insurance company.  A common question we are asked is, “how do I prove lost wages in a personal injury case?”

W-2 Employee

Proving lost wages for a W-2 employee is pretty clean and simple.  If you are a W-2 employee, someone who gets paid the same amount every two weeks, the easiest way to prove lost wages is to get a pay stub.  From your pay stub, calculate your hourly rate and multiply that by the number of hours you were forced to miss work.

1099 Employee

Currently though, we have an increasing ‘gig economy,’ a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations hire independent workers for short-term commitments” (Tech Target, 2022).  Most gig employees are paid by 1099, meaning hours of work are not necessarily consistent.  So if a 1099 employee is forced to miss work due to a personal injury, it is more difficult to prove how much work, or compensation, was actually missed.

The best way to prove lost wages for a 1099 employee is to average out your typical compensation and hours worked.  The longer the history of contract work available, the easier this is to do.

Another way to prove lost wages is to show documentation of work you were scheduled to do, that now will be delayed or canceled due to your personal injury.  Documentation of scheduled work could be a text, email, or signed contract showing the type of work and compensation agreed upon by both parties.

Business Owners

Unless you are in a real niche industry, a business owner’s income fluctuates with the success of the business.  Therefore, a business owner’s lost wages can be more difficult to prove in a personal injury case.  Business owners need to review their tax documents, profit and loss statements, and more to determine a reasonable income or compensation for missed work.

Proving lost wages for 1099 employees and business owners is made easier with a history of earnings. Trying to extrapolate figures from your history of work to projections of what you would have earned had you not missed work due to a personal injury is how we go about calculating lost wages.  This does not have to be proven with exact certainty;  a reasonable projection of what you would have earned is legally sufficient in most states.

One thing to keep in mind when you receive damages for lost wages is that money is taxable.  As opposed to money you might receive for bodily injury, medical bills, or pain and suffering, money for lost wages is still and will be considered taxable income.  For this reason, depending on your case and the size of your claim, it may or may not be in your best interest to make a claim for lost wages. For instance, if you have a million dollars worth of medical bills and catastrophic lifelong injuries, it might not be worth arguing a small lost wages claim—you want the court to focus on your larger claims and your attorney will have more leeway to argue for an overall larger award that is not taxable.  This allows you to benefit the most from the money awarded to you for your personal injury.

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence and would like to discuss your case for free with one of our attorneys at Williams Elleby Howard & Easter, please give us a call at 833-LEGAL-GA.