When the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance
It’s not uncommon to suffer injuries in a car crash and then find out that the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance. If you were injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist who doesn’t carry enough insurance to fully cover what you are entitled to, you may have additional insurance coverage that is available to you.
If you don’t know the at-fault driver or that person does not have insurance, your auto insurance policy may help. Uninsured motorist (UM) and uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage may be the best place to turn in these circumstances. UM applies when the at-fault driver has no insurance on their vehicle. UIM applies when the at-fault driver is not carrying enough insurance to fully compensate you for your injuries and losses. For example, if the value of your case is $50,000, and the driver at fault only has $15,000 in insurance coverage, you can turn to your UIM for the $35,000 balance of the value of your claim.
If you have multiple cars in your household, check whether you have “stacking,” which allows you to multiply the amount of UIM or UM coverage by the number of cars owned by members of your household. For example, if you have $100,000 of UIM or UM benefit insurance coverage on your car, and two additional relatives living in your house each have cars with $100,000 of “stacked” UIM coverage, you have three times the amount of UIM or UM that’s on your policy. This is why stacked UM and UIM are one of the most important types of coverage you can purchase on a car insurance policy.
Sometimes, our clients have more UM and UIM coverage than their policy indicates, because the insurer or an agent did not complete an insurance “sign down” form properly. This can be one of several ways we can get you more money than the amount of insurance covering the driver who hurt you.
Avoid Insurance Company Tactics
If you reach a settlement with the at-fault party, you will need to ensure you don’t jeopardize your entitlement to UM or UIM coverage. There are several notice requirements and steps to avoid signing away your right to what could be much more insurance coverage available (through UIM or UM benefit coverage) than the at-fault driver carries. As a result, it’s critical to hire an experienced lawyer to handle your claim if you are injured. Insurance companies pay almost triple the amount of money in cases where a lawyer represents the victim. If you face the insurance companies alone, they will use tactics and resources to pay you less.
If you have limited tort insurance coverage, you will face even more hurdles after a crash. We can help. Generally, injured motorists with limited tort cannot recover damages for pain and suffering. But there are exceptions to this rule. After successfully handling thousands of cases, we have obtained full recoveries for most of our clients with limited tort insurance.
Don’t delay contacting us if another driver hurt you in a crash. We will discuss the details of your accident, your available insurance, and what you can do next. Call Ostroff Injury Law at 484-351-0350.