Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be a stressful and confusing experience. When the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, the situation becomes even more complicated. In this post, we'll discuss the options available to you when faced with an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim and provide tips on how to protect yourself and your assets.
1. Know the Difference Between Uninsured & Underinsured Motorists
Before diving into the specifics, it's important to understand the difference between uninsured and underinsured motorists. An uninsured motorist is someone who does not have any liability insurance, meaning they cannot pay for the damages they cause in an accident. An underinsured motorist, on the other hand, has insurance but their coverage is not enough to cover the total cost of damages.
2. Familiarize Yourself with State Laws
Each state has its own laws regarding uninsured and underinsured motorists. In Texas, for example, drivers are required to have a minimum amount of liability insurance to cover the costs of an accident ($60,000 for injuries, $25,000 for property damage). However, this minimum coverage may not be enough to fully compensate you for your damages. It's important to familiarize yourself with the insurance requirements in your state and consider purchasing additional coverage to protect yourself in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
3. Purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
One of the best ways to protect yourself from the financial burden of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver is to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. This type of insurance coverage will help pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages if the at-fault driver's insurance is insufficient. While not required in every state, it's a wise investment that can save you from significant financial strain.
4. File a Claim with Your Insurance Company
If you're involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, the first step is to file a claim with your own insurance company. They will investigate the accident and determine if your UM/UIM coverage will apply. Keep in mind that you may need to provide proof that the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, such as a copy of their insurance policy or a statement from their insurance company.
5. Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
Dealing with insurance companies and navigating the legal system can be overwhelming, especially when you're recovering from an accident. A personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process of filing a claim. They can also help you negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.
At MAS Law, our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to helping clients in Richardson, TX, and the surrounding areas protect themselves from the financial consequences of accidents involving uninsured and underinsured motorists. We understand the complexities of these cases and are committed to providing personalized, compassionate representation.
Contact us at (972) 460-9339 today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your options for pursuing an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.