To car or truck accident victims, a car crash can feel like the end of the world. People you love may have been injured and your trusty method of transportation lies in a smoking, crumpled heap at the side of the road. Thankfully, you think, the driver at fault will reimburse you and your family’s recovery. That’s what auto insurance is for, right?
But what if the at fault driver does not have insurance? There may still be a way to fix everything that went wrong. Even if you did everything right and bought great uninsured motorist insurance coverage for yourself and your family, there is no way to predict who will hit you and if they are insured or underinsured.
If you have been injured in a collision involving an uninsured motorist, attorney Darryl Isaacs — The Hammer — and the experienced car accident lawyers at Isaacs and Isaacs are standing by to provide a free review of your important case. Call us today at (800)800-8888 or contact us online.
In a 2017 study, the Insurance Research Council found that 13% of U.S. motorists were uninsured in 2015. This number varies widely from state to state. A whopping 26.7% of Florida drivers are uninsured while only 4.5% of drivers in Maine do not have insurance. Other state statistics include-Kentucky: 11.5%, Indiana: 16.7%, Ohio: 12.4%. David Corum, Vice President of the Insurance Research Council, says that there are a number of variables pertaining to why the numbers vary so drastically. Most notably, the economic conditions. “Economic conditions are a large reason the number of uninsured motorists vary across states,” Corum says. “As well as the cost of insurance.”
While your state’s economic condition may be out of your control, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you and your family’s safety in the event of an accident involving an uninsured motorist.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
The squeal of tires, the crunching of glass and other violent motifs associated with a car crash can cause even the sturdiest person to balk. Thankfully, there are ways to protect yourself in the event of an accident. Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) exists to protect yourself and your family by compensating for losses in case you are injured by an uninsured driver.
Twenty states currently require drivers to have UM coverage, but the amount you are required to buy, and the type of insurance automatically included with your coverage varies from state to state. Most of these states only require Bodily Injury Coverage, but some also require Property Damage Coverage.
Types of Uninsured Motorist Insurance: Bodily Injury and Property Damage
There are two types of Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Bodily Injury Coverage and Property Damage Coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury
Bodily injury insurance pertains to costs associated with injuries. The amount required varies from state to state. For example, in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, you are required to have an auto insurance policy that includes a minimum of $25,000 of “Bodily Injury Coverage” per person and $50,000 per incident, in order to be considered road legal.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage
States are less likely to mandate this type of insurance be included in your car insurance, but it is still important in the event of a crash. This type of insurance can include personal property as well as your vehicle.
What To Do If You Are In an Accident With an Uninsured Motorist
First and foremost, call 911 for immediate police and medical assistance. Drivers are required to carry proof of insurance with them, so if you are in an accident with someone who does not produce evidence of insurance coverage, he or she is putting you legally at risk.
It may be reassuring to see the familiar blaze of blue and red police lights bouncing around the scene of your accident. They mean that the proper authorities are present and ready to get down to the bottom of your accident. It is true, in a sense, that the first responders are there to record the incident in the all-important police report. Primarily, however, it is their responsibility to make sure that both parties are safe and to take basic documentation. Unless someone is catastrophically injured, there is rarely enough time to perform anything more than a limited investigation.
If there is any pertinent information you believe they should record, make sure to talk to a police officer about the specific details relevant to your side of the story. You never know what the other driver will say happened.
For your own records, make sure to take pictures and write down your entire account so you don’t forget any important details. Taking pictures will immortalize the scene and confirm your interpretation of the accident.
What You Need to Know About Uninsured Motorist Payouts
Like many auto accident injury cases, Uninsured motorist lawsuits typically involve a form of negligence on the part of one or several parties.
Pure and Modified Comparative Negligence
Depending on your state, comparative negligence could affect the amount you receive in an uninsured motorist claim. It measures the responsibility of both parties in relation to the accident, so if the other driver was at fault, but the allocation of fault finds you to be partially responsible, your settlement could be lessened by the percentage of which you were found responsible. In other words, just because one party received a ticket for negligent driving, it does not necessarily mean that driver will be considered 100 percent at fault in a court of law.
- Pure Comparative Negligence applies to states, like Kentucky, that measure an apportionment of fault and allow plaintiffs to recover claims based upon how much the courts assign responsibility.
- Modified Comparative Negligence applies to states, like Ohio and Indiana, that moderate claims, permitting lawsuits only if the plaintiff was less than a certain percentage (often 50%) at fault.
The Importance of No-Fault Laws
Before insurance was refined, many drivers refused to go to the hospital for their injuries because few drivers would admit fault at the scene, making it difficult to decide who was responsible for medical bills. No-fault laws were enacted to ensure a percentage of insurance from both providers goes towards medical bills and lost wages.
Also known as No-Fault Benefits, Basic Reparation Benefits or Personal Injury Protection (PIP), No Fault Laws are an integral part of car insurance because, no matter who was at fault, both drivers have the means and opportunity to seek medical attention and even collect lost wages. In many states, you must go out of your way to decline PIP. The best way to make sure you are getting the most out of your car insurance is to be familiar with all its benefits.
Should You Take an Uninsured Motorist to Court?
In extreme cases, when the driver at fault does not have enough insurance to reimburse your recovery and when you do not have enough insurance to protect yourself from an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may be tempted to go to court. Unfortunately, it is reasonable to assume that if a driver could not afford the minimum insurance, they likely do not have a lot of assets to recover. Additionally, if you are awarded judgement and the defendant is in possession of minor assets, their first step will probably be to declare bankruptcy.
Thankfully, court collections are not the only reason to hire an uninsured motorist attorney. It is always advisable to contact an attorney as part of your important steps after a car accident, especially because they are responsible for a lot of behind the scenes work with settlements and medical providers.
Uninsured Motorist Lawyer: Average Uninsured Motorist Settlement
An experienced attorney can discuss your strongest options and guide you down the wisest legal path. In many cases, they will advise against suing someone without any assets because they want to avoid frustrating litigation costs. Your attorney’s goal is always to get you the largest settlement possible.
The job of your attorney then becomes how to settle the case with the opposing party and work with anyone who is seeking reimbursement against the claims. David Scott, an Isaacs & Isaacs attorney and 2015’s “Plaintiff Attorney of the Year” by The Kentucky Trial Court Review states, “A large part of our day is working with different medical providers to negotiate how much goes back to them. We do that in almost every case to increase the financial benefit to our client.”
The amount of an uninsured motorist settlement varies from case to case, but even if you don’t get your day in court, your attorney will take every step to ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your accident.
How Much Insurance Coverage Do I Need? An Attorney’s Perspective
Darryl Isaacs, co-founder of Isaacs & Isaacs Law Firm, often receives calls asking him how much coverage to buy, because car insurance isn’t just about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting all drivers on the road. To these types of questions, he says: “It is hard to give advice to people without knowing their individual circumstances. Generally speaking, I tell people to get the most amount of coverage that they possibly can and to also include an umbrella insurance policy for an extra layer of protection.”
Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Law Firm is dedicated to protecting you and your family from the wrongful acts of negligent drivers. With over 275 collective years of legal experience, our lawyers in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio have recovered over $1 billion for our clients. Call (800)800-8888 or contact us online for a free case review.
Isaacs & Isaacs
1601 Business Center Ct
Louisville, KY 40299