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I’ve Been Sued and Have No Insurance – What Now?
There are a number of reasons someone might be uninsured. Maybe you moved and never received a bill at your new address; maybe you drive a moped or scooter and have never needed insurance. Regardless of why you are currently uninsured, it’s important to understand what your options are after being sued. Fortunately, all hope is not lost.
Pro Se Litigation and the Importance of Legal Counsel
Pro Se representation allows plaintiffs or defendants to represent themselves in court, should they lack the means to hire a lawyer. “Pro Se” translates from Latin to “on behalf of themselves.” This translation is essentially what Pro Se representation allows plaintiffs and defendants: the option to represent yourself in court without legal counsel. The right to Pro Se representation is Constitutionally protected and allowed by most courts. Judges are typically sympathetic to the burdens of Pro Se litigants, making certain allowances they might not for a lawyer. For example, a judge may assist a Pro Se litigant with staying on top of the procedural aspects of a case. They will, however, not offer a Pro Se litigant legal advice.
Should you be considering the Pro Se option, there are some important things to note. While it’s true you’ll be saving money on attorney fees, it’s likely you’ll be opposing a seasoned lawyer representing the plaintiff in court. Covering any damages you’ve incurred as a result of the plaintiff’s injuries will be your responsibility, and yours alone. What you would spend on a lawyer to mitigate damages would likely be worth the cost, especially if the potential settlement is large.
When your financial security is at stake, contacting an attorney, even if just for a consultation, is always the smart bet. Even if hiring an attorney may cost exponentially more than representing yourself, experienced counsel could be the difference between winning and losing a case.
Consider Coverage Options for the Future
Unfortunately, there is no way to receive coverage for a specific accident after it occurs. This, however, should not prevent you from purchasing insurance. An insurance policy will cover settlements and attorneys’ fees in potential cases against you going forward. Also, many insurance companies offer fair prices for coverage even after accidents.
Ultimately, the protection an insurance policy offers is vitally important, and something everyone should invest in. When searching for insurance, be it auto, health, or home, don’t limit your options to the big names (i.e. Allstate, Geico, State Farm, etc.). Regional insurers may offer policies that better fit your needs in terms of price and/or coverage options. If you’re unfamiliar with insurance and what policies might be optimal for you, an insurance broker could assist you in finding the right policy.
What If My Insurance Company Has Denied Coverage?
Should you purchase insurance and find yourself in a situation where your provider denies coverage, it’s important to understand why this happened, and what steps to take next. Most often, insurance companies disclaim cases they believe do not fall under the purview of a specific insurance policy’s coverage. Sometimes an insurance company’s rationale for disclaiming coverage may be convoluted and difficult for a person unfamiliar with law and contracts to understand.
When an insurance company disclaims, they are governed by strict rules. These rules prevent companies from frivolously denying coverage to maintain profit margins. Many lawyers specialize in the field of insurance law and could better help you understand what protections you are entitled to recover based on your policy, as well as if your insurance company is abiding by the rules. If you find yourself in this position, consider contacting an attorney for a consultation.