Car accidents happen; it’s a fact of life, and more often than not these days it’s not a matter of if you’ll be involved in one, but a matter of when. When you are hurt or your vehicle is damaged in an accident, car insurance kicks in and helps you pay for the losses you sustain. However, when happens when the driver you’re involved in an accident with doesn’t have this financial backing? Recovering your losses can become extremely difficult, so you can’t approach these cases like you would any other accident. Let’s take a closer look at what you should do when you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured (or under-insured) motorist.
Do You Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
If you are involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver, you’ll likely need your own insurance to cover the costs of your damages. This is where uninsured motorist coverage kicks in. Uninsured motorist coverage is designed to provide you and your passengers with coverage for bodily injuries and even damage to your vehicle when the other person has no financial backing.
This coverage is generally inexpensive especially here in Idaho, where the percentage of uninsured drivers is extremely low compared to national averages. A sizeable limit of uninsured motorist coverage will usually add just a few dollars per month to your premiums.
Underinsured motorist coverage is similar to uninsured motorist coverage, and in fact functions exactly the same way. The only difference is the type of claim you must file. When a driver doesn’t have insurance, doesn’t have the legally-required amount of insurance, or flees the scene of an accident without giving you their information, then you would file an uninsured motorist claim. If the other driver has insurance to satisfy the legal requirement but not enough to cover the costs of your damages, you would file an underinsured motorist claim.
Retain an Attorney
A Pocatello car accident attorney can stand up for your rights and make sure those responsible for covering the costs of the damages you sustain are held accountable and don’t attempt to misrepresent your injuries in an attempt to protect their own bottom line. This is unfortunately a fairly common tactic, particularly in serious accidents where the expenditures will be immense.
An attorney can also help keep the pressure on the other party to make sure they keep their end of the claim on track. Often times those who are negligent will simply refuse to take action until the statute of limitations for filing claims has passed in an effort to absolve their liability. An attorney can protect you from these unscrupulous tactics to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Review Your Policy
If you do have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you should absolutely know your policy limits. Keep a copy of your insurance policy with you in the vehicle at all times, as well as proof of financial liability so you can get the ball rolling on your claim as soon as possible.
If you are unsure whether or not you have this coverage, now would be an excellent time to check through your policy declaration and find out if you need to add this coverage on to your plan. If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, speak with your insurance agent to find out about the cost. Idaho’s minimum insurance standards require drivers only to carry bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverages, so odds are if you’ve purchased the cheapest possible option (like so many drivers do) then you probably should ask about adding this additional protection.
File a Lawsuit
You might wish to file a lawsuit against the other driver or their insurance company in order to recover compensation for your losses. On some occasions, an insurance company may deny the other party’s claim. They may also deny your claim on the grounds you are overstating your injuries and they are not responsible for what you are claiming.
A lawsuit is complex and difficult to navigate, so it’s strongly advised you only consider this option when your attorney advises it’s a good idea to do so. Having an experienced legal advocate on your side can greatly improve your odds of successfully filing a suit and using it to recover damages for your losses.To learn more about underinsured and uninsured motorist accidents, or to get legal representation for your car accident injury claims, contact May Rammell & Thompson today at 208.623.8021 to request a consultation!