What to do When the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured or Underinsured
Car accidents are a daily occurrence. Typically, a police report is taken and insurance information is swapped. Then the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays for damages and/or injury expenses. But, what happens when the at-fault driver is an uninsured driver or underinsured? Whose insurance company pays for the damages and injury expenses in this situation?
Drivers in 49 states are required to carry liability insurance. However, many drivers decide to drive without it because of cost, while others do not have enough liability coverage. All drivers need to be aware of this and know what to do to protect themselves.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In 2015, according to a release from the Insurance Research Council, one in eight drivers across America were uninsured, which is a larger percentage than the previous year.
An uninsured driver has no insurance coverage; therefore, it is important that other drivers have a provision in their policy to cover uninsured motorist. Uninsured motorist coverage will pay for your medical bills and property damage expenses when the at-fault driver in the accident does not have insurance.
Of course, a driver can file a lawsuit against the uninsured at-fault driver. However, if they are unable to pay for insurance, it’s likely, they are not going to be able to pay significant damages.
Immediately following an accident, the police should be on the scene to investigate. They will review the insurance of all drivers involved and inform everyone on the scene if the at-fault driver is uninsured. If the police are not called to the scene, it is imperative that you swap insurance information with all drivers involved.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
A driver is underinsured when they do not have enough liability insurance policy to pay for the injuries or damages caused by the accident. Therefore, it is best for all insurance holders to have an underinsured motorist provision in your policy. Having this provision will prevent any gaps from occurring between your medical bills and damage expenses if the at-fault driver is underinsured.
Here is an example of what can happen when the at-fault driver is underinsured. Drivers A and B are involved in an accident. Driver A incurs $50,000 worth of injury and damage expenses. Driver B, who was the at-fault driver, only has $25,000 liability insurance policy limit. If driver A does not have an underinsured provision in their policy, then they would have to pay the difference of $25,000.
Knowing if the at-fault driver is underinsured is difficult to determine at the time of the accident. Finding the liability limits of the at-fault driver’s coverage should be something you do as soon as possible. Then you need to determine the extent of your injury and damage’s claim and where it fits (or doesn’t) within those limits. Time will tell how much medical treatment you will require, how much work you will miss, and more. One thing to consider is if the at-fault driver only carries state-minimum liability coverage, then you should evaluate quickly to make an underinsured claim.
Once you know whether the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured make sure you contact your insurance and make a claim. Most policies carry a limit on the number of days that they will accept a claim. After making the claim, if you experience any problems, then contact an attorney for assistance.
If you or someone you know needs legal assistance following a car accident, then contact Miller & Wynn. Our locally-based attorneys have decades of experience. Call us at 770-942-2720 to make an appointment or visit www.MillerWynnLaw.com.