Operating a vehicle comes with a risk, regardless of one’s use of caution. Insurance matters. When a driver hits another vehicle, a bicyclist or a pedestrian, they create a whirlwind of financial headaches for all those involved. What happens if they are uninsured or underinsured?

Well, in no-fault states, the easy answer is to collect from your insurance company and hope that they cover your expenses. After all, that is why no-fault states require personal injury protection. And while that is certainly still an option in Washington—a comparative fault state—you may want to avoid filing a claim with your own insurer if you can help it. Additionally, the state does not require uninsured motorist insurance (UMI) coverage.

Without UMI, if you simply have liability coverage for auto accidents, it may be in your best interest to consider legal action. For many, a lawsuit may be the last thing on their minds. Between the stacked medical bills and maintenance, adding what they perceive as another layer of responsibility may sound like too much trouble.

However, issues like determining liability and proving negligence would not be your responsibility. While you may have to be in contact with your attorney and collect necessary documents for them, most car accident lawyers will make efforts to handle all the work involved. And, if successful, a lawsuit will provide you with compensation for your medical expenses and then some.

Ultimately, an uninsured driver was operating their vehicle illegally and they now bear the responsibility to help you recover for your financial and other losses.