It is likely that at some point in your life you will be the victim of an automobile accident. There are hundreds of thousands of car crashes every year. When this happens, one of the drivers is almost always at fault, and they and their insurance company are responsible for damages you suffer, whether your damages are medical expenses, loss of earnings, or loss of quality of life.
Problems arise, however, if the responsible driver is either uninsured or does not have sufficient insurance to pay for all of the damages caused by his or her negligence. What do you do when this problem arises? How can your own auto insurance policy compensate you for your medical bills, time missed from work, and the restrictions on your personal life caused by your injuries? Here we will discuss how having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can help you get compensation for your injuries.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Some drivers are under the mistaken belief that if they have “full coverage,” their insurance will take care of any damages that another driver’s won’t. It is important to understand that “full coverage” is a vague term that typically means that you have coverage for damage you cause to others and for damage to your own vehicle. To be sure that you are covered for injuries caused by a driver who has no insurance or not enough insurance, you must have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your policy.
Everyone should have the maximum uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage that they can in order to protect themselves against uninsured or underinsured drivers.
This form of coverage kicks in when the driver responsible for your injuries has no insurance or not enough insurance. However, the maximum it will pay is the amount of coverage you purchased. For example, let’s assume that you have $300,000 in underinsured motorist coverage and you have a case with a value of $325,000. For the purpose of our example, we will further assume that the other driver has $50,000 in liability coverage. Your underinsured motorist policy will pay $275,000, the difference between the at-fault driver’s liability policy and the value of your case. However, if the value of your case were to exceed $350,000, your underinsured motorist policy would pay only $300,000, the amount of coverage you purchased. Given the ever-rising cost of medical care, it is very important to have adequate underinsured motorist coverage policy limits.
While uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will pay up to the full amount of your policy, you can not purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage greater than the amount of your liability coverage. This means to have $300,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you must also have at least $300,000 liability coverage.
When it comes to damage to your vehicle, your collision coverage will pay for the damage to your car that results from an auto accident, less the amount of your deductible. You may use your collision coverage regardless of who is responsible for the accident, but it only covers damage to your vehicle, not injuries to you or your passengers.
You may be able to file a lawsuit against the other driver to recover money for your damages. If you win the lawsuit, the next hurdle is collecting the amount awarded to you. It is likely that if the person responsible for your injuries does not have insurance, or does not have sufficient insurance, they also do not have assets to pay a judgment against them. It is important to know that there are strict time limits for filing a lawsuit, and the time limit may vary depending upon your circumstances. Therefore it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible following an accident.
Seek Help From an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
The best way to ensure that you recover from all available insurance coverage is to take two steps. First, contact your own insurance company and report the accident. Be clear and honest, but be careful not to offer information that is not requested. If you are asked any questions that you are uncomfortable answering, inform your insurance company that you will consult an attorney before providing the requested information. The second step is to contact an experienced auto accident attorney. Your lawyer will know what steps to take to ensure that you are not blamed for the negligence of another driver, and will ensure you the best possibility of financial recovery for your injuries. For many years the attorneys at Eglet Prince have helped people like you fight for their rights following car accidents. Give us a call today for more information and a free consultation regarding your case.