No one plans to get into an accident, which might explain why nearly one in eight motorists drive without insurance. But what happens if the person responsible for the car crash is uninsured? Most states do not require uninsured motorist coverage, making it difficult to come out of an accident without some kind of financial hardship. If you do have uninsured motorist coverage through your own car insurance company, though, here are some things you need to know about uninsured motorist claims.
After a car crash, the first thing you should be concerned about is the health and well-being of anyone involved in the accident. Most uninsured motorist coverage will pay for injuries you might sustain from an uninsured motorist while driving or riding in a vehicle, as well as if you’re a pedestrian.
Friends & Relatives
If someone else is riding in the vehicle named in your policy, don’t worry! They’re covered too. Insurance doesn’t stop there, however. Your policy might also cover someone that drives your car with your permission, or anyone riding with you in a vehicle you do not own, such as a rental.
Every insurance company is different, and it may be alarming to see that vehicle damage is not included in your uninsured motorist coverage. If this is the case, you can always check your collision coverage section of your policy to see if property damage is covered. If it is not, you may end up needing to pay the cost of repairs for your vehicle.
Hit & Run Drivers
Because a hit and run driver never stops to offer their insurance information, they might be classified by your provider as an uninsured motorist. However, this only applies if you or your vehicle are actually struck; damage caused by attempting to avoid an accident does not offer enough evidence to count as a hit and run situation.
Payments for other injuries, disabilities, or medical needs may lower the amount you are entitled to from your uninsured motorist policy. In the case of an injury while on the job, the payments you receive will be deducted by the amount you receive for workers’ compensation. In the case that you are injured by an uninsured motorist as a passenger in another vehicle, the owner of that car becomes your primary coverage. You may still be able to receive payment from your own policy, but only if the damages exceed what the primary insurance allows.
If you have opted out of uninsured motorist coverage, the only other option to regain any financial losses resulting from a car accident is suing the other driver. This can be a lengthy process, and it begins by filing a car accident lawsuit. If you do win in court, the defendant may need to set up a payment plan, as most motorists only forego insurance if they do not have the money to pay it in the first place.
Making a Claim
Making a claim for an uninsured motorist doesn’t have to be difficult or scary. In fact, it’s nearly the same as a regular liability claim. An adjuster from your insurance company will consult with you about the damage both to your person and property, how at fault you might be for the accident, and the liability of the other driver. However, there is always the possibility that they will offer less than you deserve, so it is best to have your attorney look over any settlement offer before you sign.
Uninsured motorist claims can be tough to navigate. Don’t try to manage your claim alone. Instead, seek guidance from an experienced car accident attorney who will fight for your rights and ensure that you get every dollar you deserve.
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