A Way Forward for Motorists Involved in Car Accidents With Uninsured Drivers

Car accidents are common across the United States. In 2020, there were about 65 injuries from car accidents for every 1,000 citizens. The increasing rates of car accidents necessitate a well-structured insurance system to deal with the resulting issues, such as compensation for damage and injury. The figures indicate an urgent need for proper safety measures and robust insurance plans to tackle this alarming situation.

What is alarming is that many drivers on the roads lack insurance. Many drivers are either uninsured or grossly underinsured relative to the amount of bodily injury and property damage they cause by their negligence. This lack of adequate coverage compounds the issues arising from car accidents, making it more difficult for victims to recover financially from the damage and distress caused by the accident. It’s also a significant contributing factor to the financial strain on the health and auto insurance systems.

This problem creates a significant deterrent to seeking legal help when these drivers cause accidents requiring substantial compensation. “If you are involved in an accident with such a driver, immediately contact an auto accident attorney for a free consultation,” says Richard Godshall of Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers. Getting legal advice is particularly crucial in these cases, as it can help victims understand their rights and potential remedies. Lawyers can also navigate the complex legal system to ensure the best possible outcome for the victim.

Auto Insurance Coverage in Pennsylvania

Source: marketwatch.com

Pennsylvania drivers must carry at least $15,000 (per person)/$30,000 (per accident involving multiple people) of bodily injury liability coverage to compensate injured parties. In addition, Pennsylvania drivers are required to have at least $5,000 in coverage to compensate individuals for property damage caused by the driver. These are the minimum requirements, but drivers are advised to opt for more comprehensive coverage if possible to better protect themselves and others on the road.

Lastly, all auto insurance policies sold in Pennsylvania must carry at least $5,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage for first-party medical payments. A first-party payment means your own (“first party”) auto insurance will pay for your medical treatment up to your PIP limits, even though you were not at fault for the accident. The insurance for the at fault driver (“third party”) is responsible for paying any additional amount of medical treatment, subject to the driver’s liability policy limits. This provision underscores the importance of having comprehensive coverage, which not only safeguards the driver but also ensures that victims of an accident receive the necessary care.

Pennsylvania drivers also have several optional add-on coverages for different circumstances. The additional coverage can help when you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. The main options include:

  • First-party benefits such as lost income coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Underinsured motorist coverage
  • Uninsured motorist coverage

These additional coverages can provide an extra safety net for drivers, helping to cover costs that might otherwise lead to significant financial hardship. This is especially important considering the high number of uninsured or underinsured drivers on the roads.

Underinsured Motorist or Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Source: stephenslaw.com

Underinsured motorist (UIM) and uninsured motorist (UM) coverages are optional in Pennsylvania. However, drivers should not proceed without this important coverage.

When you have UIM or UM coverage, your own insurer will compensate you for bodily injuries and vehicle damage when the offender cannot pay. If the offender is uninsured, UM coverage applies. If the offender is underinsured, UIM coverage applies. It’s important that you have both UM and UIM coverage to cover you in both scenarios. Given the prevalence of uninsured and underinsured drivers, UIM/UM coverage is almost indispensable. These coverages offer an additional layer of protection and ensure that victims of car accidents aren’t left out-of-pocket.

Thus, a UM/UIM policy functions similarly to a driver’s property damage liability and bodily injury liability. The difference is that the coverage is under your policy rather than the offending driver’s. UM/UIM coverage shifts the responsibility from the offender’s insurer to your own, offering you a better chance of being compensated in the event of an accident.

Lack of Uninsured Coverage

If you lack UM/UIM coverage, your main option is to file a personal injury claim against the offending driver. This approach will likely require engaging an auto accident lawyer. While this can be a lengthy and complicated process, it may be the only course of action to secure compensation if you lack the relevant coverage.

You may settle if the offender has the resources to issue full compensation. Otherwise, your case will go to court, and your fate will be in the hands of a jury. While court proceedings can be daunting, with the right legal advice and representation, they can often lead to a favorable outcome.

In the case the jury issues a verdict in your favor, your compensation could cover:

  • All medical expenses
  • Approximated future medical costs
  • Loss of consortium
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Emotional and physical suffering and pain
  • Disfigurement and scarring

This extensive list of potential compensation areas underscores the serious financial implications of car accidents and the importance of seeking compensation in such cases.

Car Accidents

Source: barrypgoldberg.com

The Takeaway

The only real option you may have if you are a victim of an accident caused by an uninsured driver is UM/UIM coverage. This policy functions similarly to a driver’s property damage liability and bodily injury liability. Here are a few tips to help you when filing UM/UI claims:

  • Prove the offender was uninsured or underinsured and responsible for the accident
  • Report the accident to your insurer as soon as you can
  • Let an auto accident attorney review your case and guide you through all processes
  • Review who may not be covered in the policy before filing a claim
  • Prove there was contact between you and the offender’s vehicle in the case of a hit-and-run accident

These tips can help you maximize your potential compensation and ensure that you follow the necessary steps to file a claim. They also highlight the need for legal assistance in managing the complexities of filing a claim.

If you have no UM/UIM coverage, your main solution is to file a personal injury claim against the uninsured driver. Legal assistance is crucial in such cases. Without proper coverage, navigating the legal landscape can be challenging, but it’s essential to pursue all possible avenues of compensation in these instances.

This underscores the importance of having adequate insurance coverage and the crucial role that legal professionals play in these cases.