Introduction Uninsured, Underinsured Motorist Claim Lawsuits, Lawyers and Cases
Nearly every state in the United States requires motorists to have some form of auto insurance policy in force when they get behind the wheel. The purpose of these laws is simple: In the event of a motor vehicle collision, these auto insurance policies ensure that the injured motorist and the person at fault for causing the crash are both able to obtain compensation in a timely manner to help them address their medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. In those states that do require auto insurance, state laws usually dictate the minimum amount of coverage that drivers must have in force. Taking to the road without sufficient auto insurance may not only be a criminal offense, but it jeopardizes the ability of injury victims and the at-fault driver to address their injuries.
What is an Uninsured Motorist Claim?
When you or a loved one are involved in a motor vehicle crash, a significant number of states require that you file your claim for compensation with the at-fault motorist’s insurance company. The at-fault motorist’s insurance company verifies coverage and then offers to pay up to the policy limits for each type of loss you sustained in the crash. (In some states, an injury victim files a claim with his or her own insurance company, regardless of who is at fault. These are referred to as “no-fault” states.)
An “uninsured” motorist claim begins when it is discovered that the at-fault or responsible party does not have a valid insurance policy in force at the time of the crash. This means that the injured victim must use his or her own insurance benefits to obtain compensation and/or pursue compensation for his or her injuries directly against the at-fault party.
What is an Underinsured Motorist Claim?
An underinsured motorist claim occurs (as its name implies) when the at-fault or responsible party does not have an insurance policy in force that meets the state’s minimum requirements. For example, if your state requires drivers to have an auto insurance policy in force that pays a minimum of $25,000 for bodily injuries resulting from a crash, but the at-fault driver’s policy only pays a maximum of $12,500 for bodily injuries. In this case, the at-fault driver is said to be “underinsured.”
Help for Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claimants
The main challenge facing victims in uninsured and underinsured motor vehicle accidents is obtaining prompt compensation for their injuries. While these victims usually retain the ability to file a suit for compensation against the uninsured or underinsured motorist, resolving these suits takes time – which means that victims must pay for the treatment they need and bear the financial burdens of their injuries (at least initially).
In most cases involving an uninsured or underinsured driver, the injury victim’s own insurance company (either his or her auto insurance policy and/or health insurance policy) will step in and assist in paying for the victim’s medical bills and expenses. However, the victim’s own insurance may not pay for time missed from work due to the victim’s injuries. Not only this, but in some states uninsured and underinsured coverage is not automatic – drivers who wish to be able to obtain compensation for their losses and expenses after being struck by an uninsured or underinsured driver in certain states will need to purchase specific coverage from their insurance agent.
Challenges Following an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Crash
Uninsured and underinsured motorists may have an incentive to flee the scene of a crash – especially a crash they cause. If the injury victim is not able to obtain information that might help identify the uninsured or underinsured driver, then the injury victim may experience challenges in bringing a successful suit for damages.
If you or a loved one are the victim of a hit-and-run accident in which the at-fault driver flees the scene of the crash, try to remember and write down as soon as possible as many details as you can remember about the crash, the driver’s car, and the driver’s appearance. The more details you can remember about the at-fault driver, the greater the likelihood that police and investigators will be able to locate the hit-and-run driver. Once the hit-and-run uninsured or underinsured driver is located, criminal charges may be brought against him or her by the prosecuting authority in the state and you will be able to serve the individual with a civil lawsuit for compensation.
Call Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 for Dedicated and Compassionate Legal Representation.
There are a great many challenges in a car accident case involving an uninsured or underinsured driver, but Stern Law, PLLC is prepared to help you meet these challenges and help you get your life back on track. Our firm has the knowledge and resources to assist you in locating uninsured or underinsured drivers who flee the scene of an accident and can help you pursue compensation against others who may have also played a role in your crash. Call Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 for dedicated and compassionate legal representation.