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What are my legal options in a rear-end hit and run if the driver is uninsured?

Asked by user in Arizona.

I was rear ended in an accident on the freeway by a driver who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. The driver fled the scene on foot and was arrested. The officer found an empty alcohol bottle near his car. They were unable to determine if he has insurance. Unfortunately, I do not have the uninsured motorist coverage.

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

I’m so sorry this happened to you.

If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, your only option is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver. It will most likely be easy to prove liability (given the arrest and the empty bottle). The problem with suing an uninsured driver is that a driver who doesn’t have money to purchase insurance generally doesn’t have money to satisfy a judgment. With that being said, there are a number of legal tools that can be used to collect a judgment (including wage garnishment and liens).

I recommend meeting with an attorney in your area. An attorney can conduct a quick investigation to determine if the uninsured driver has a job or any assets that might make a lawsuit worthwhile.

In the meantime, take a look at our article on insurance requirements in Arizona.

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