What happens when you are in a car accident and the other person is uninsured or doesn’t have enough insurance?
The United States has some of the busiest roads in the world so it’s no surprise we have so many accidents. In 2015 it is reported that there were 6.3 million crashes, causing fatal and non fatal injuries as well as property damage. Many of us have been involved in a car accident at one time in our lives whether it be a major or minor accident. When you have an accident, you expect that your car insurance coverage or that of the other driver will be sufficient to cover your medical treatment and any property damage. However, this is not always the case.
So what happens when the other driver is uninsured or doesn’t have an adequate insurance coverage?
Car insurance is mandatory in most states but that doesn’t mean the person at fault has enough insurance to cover the damages they caused. Other times it’s a hit and run, and you may not be able to identify the driver or the car. If you are in such a situation, you have to turn to your insurer to cover your damages. However, this is only possible if you are properly insured.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Commonly referred to as (UIM), this is an additional coverage that you can purchase from your insurance company. This is a coverage offered by insurance companies to protect you when you get involved in a car accident, and the other party does not have car insurance and is found to be responsible for the accident.
What is underinsured motorist coverage?
Quite similar to the UIM coverage, the underinsured motorist coverage covers you for damages sustained in an accident when the other driver has an insurance policy, but it’s not enough to cover your injuries, damages and any other losses arising from the accident. This coverage covers the difference between the other party’s coverage and the total losses up to the limits you purchased.
What is collision coverage?
You can also get a comprehensive collision coverage with your insurance company. If you get into an accident with an uninsured or hit-and-run driver, this coverage covers you for damages to your car but does not cover you for any injuries that you sustain. People sometimes think that by having the “best” collision coverage they are completely protecting themselves. They are not, they are protecting only against damages done to their vehicles not for injuries they sustain. So be sure to get adequate levels of Underinsured and Uninsured coverage as well.
Why can’t I sue the other driver?
You can but it doesn’t mean you’ll ever get financial compensation. It is an unfortunate fact that many car owners who don’t have car insurance or have the bare minimum, don’t have it because they can’t afford it. This often means that they are not in a financial position to pay for the damage on your vehicle and medical costs. You may sue them and get a court judgment entitling you to compensation by the uninsured driver but it is very unlikely that you will ever receive any compensation. The old expression “you can’t get blood out of a stone” is often true in these circumstances. Your best defense is to be “properly” insured yourself.
What are the consequences of driving without insurance?
It is important to note that the uninsured motorist does escape without consequences. Apart from being unable to cover the damage to their vehicle or their own medical treatment they are often subject to additional fees and penalties. These penalties may include;
- Suspension of their driver’s license
- Reinstatement fees for suspended licenses
- Confiscation of the vehicle’s license plate
- Criminal charges depending on the state
If you have been involved in a car accident with an uninsured, underinsured or hit-and-run motorist, it is critical that you engage the services of an experienced auto injury attorney and also consult your insurance provider. Be sure to ask “Do I have adequate Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage? What will it cost to increase my coverage limits on these two coverages?” It is often very inexpensive to raise your protection significantly which can provide substantial benefits should the unfortunate happen.
With offices in Chelsea and Salem, MA, Spada Law Group provides Boston quality legal representation without the commute into the city with free on-premises or validated parking. We are here to answer any questions you may have. Call Spada Law Group today at 617-889-5000 to discuss your situation. The consultation is free and there is absolutely no obligation to hire us. We are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm.