Why It’s Important to Know If You Have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Mar 22, 2017 Car Accidents    Insurance Issues    Uncategorized

Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC

You have been in a car crash. You were immediately taken to the hospital where you were treated for injuries that will keep you out of work for a while. It was a scary and painful experience, and now you have to deal with the aftermath. Once you get home, you know you need to file an insurance claim to cover your wrecked car and out-of-pocket medical expenses. Your first step is to get a copy of your police report for the other driver’s personal and insurance information. Unfortunately, you are hit with unexpected news. According to the report, the other driver who caused the collision and your injuries was uninsured. What do you do now?

If you have uninsured/underinsured (UM / UIM) motorist coverage, you need help. If not, it can be difficult to recover compensation. Contact the experienced Ohio car accident attorneys of Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW to learn what you can do.

When a Driver is Uninsured, Another Option is to Sue

When an uninsured driver causes the accident that leads to your injuries and financial strain, you are put in a difficult position. Without insurance, you have no one to immediately turn to. You have no one there to repair or replace your car, reimburse you for your out-of-pocket medical expenses, and replace your lost wages. However, you are not without another option to seek recovery. Whenever insurance is not an option, your next step is to look into filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. You should speak with an experienced Ohio car accident attorney about this option.

During a personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical limitations
  • Loss of consortium

The Difficulties of Recovering From an Underinsured Driver

Drivers who are underinsured offer unique challenges. The main issue with an underinsured driver is that a settlement offer up to the policy limit may not cover your expenses. You have a few options here. You could accept the low settlement, understanding that it will not be enough. Whether or not this is a viable option usually depends on your financial position and the actual difference between the policy limit and your expenses. You may be able to accept the settlement while retaining the right to sue the other driver for the remaining amount. This gives you the opportunity to try for your full damages. Your other option is to reject the settlement offer entirely and choose to take your case to court. However, when working with uninsured and underinsured motorists, there are issues with going to court.

Dealing with a Judgment-Proof Driver

The most common issue with filing a personal injury claim against an uninsured/underinsured driver is actually getting paid after you win. If the other driver did not have insurance or had the bare minimum, it is possible they could not afford better. If the individual could not afford insurance, it is doubtful they have enough in the bank to compensate you for all of your expenses related to the accident.

You should discuss the merits of filing a lawsuit with your attorney. If you choose to move forward with a suit, will have to work with your attorney to try and recover whatever amount is possible from the at-fault driver. This may require garnishing the person’s wages, if they are employed, or putting liens against the person’s assets, if they own a home or other vehicle. Unfortunately, the driver may be judgment proof, which means they have no income or assets. Your judgment against the other driver then does not financially benefit you.

The Benefits of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

By having your own UM / UIM motorist coverage, you can avoid many of these issues. When you determine the other driver does not have an auto insurance policy or the minimum coverage is not going to be enough to reimburse you for your expenses, then you can turn to your own auto insurer for help. Additionally, if you are injured in a hit-and-run accident and you have no information about the responsible driver, your uninsured/underinsured coverage will kick in.

With an uninsured policy, you file a claim with your own insurer to cover all of your damages from the accident. Your policy will likely cover your property damage and personal injury expenses up to your own policy amount. An underinsured motorist policy is meant to cover the difference between the at-fault driver’s policy limit and your actual damages. When you make a claim based on an underinsured driver causing you injuries, your own policy will not cover all of your damages.

UM / UIM motorist coverage is not required in Ohio. However, it is a smart option to add to your auto insurance policy. For only a slightly higher monthly bill, you can protect yourself when you suffer property damage and bodily injuries from a driver without any insurance or the legally required minimum.

Contact Our Ohio Car Accident Lawyers for Help

Car accidents lead to many legal and practical questions. For answers to these questions and advice on the best way to recover after a crash, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys of Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW.