You were in a car accident in Plymouth and the other driver was at fault. You discover that the at-fault driver does not have insurance coverage or they are underinsured. Now you are wondering when you should make an uninsured motorist insurance claim. Before we answer that question, we need to discuss a few things.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Claim?
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for your medical bills and damage to your property when you get into an accident with a driver who does not have automobile liability insurance.
Assuming they are rich and won’t have a problem writing a check to cover your bills and expenses, you can choose to sue the driver if they do not have car insurance. But this is highly unlikely since people who do not have car insurance most likely don’t have substantial assets. It would be a waste of time suing an uninsured driver so you would be better off making an uninsured motorist coverage claim under your own insurance policy.
You will know immediately after an accident if the at-fault driver has liability insurance or not. The police will ask about the insurance coverage details for both you and the other driver once they arrive at the accident scene. They will inform you if the other driver does not have coverage.
If the police don’t investigate your accident, you should exchange insurance information with the driver. If they tell you they don’t have coverage, that should be your cue to file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance provider.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Underinsured motorist coverage will pay for damages and medical bills in the event where you get into a car accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to cover your losses. Underinsured motorist coverage is meant to cover what the at-fault driver’s insurance policy cannot.
So let’s say you were in a car accident and you incur property damage worth $20, 000 and your medical bills amount to $45, 000. If the at-fault driver has a policy limit of $50, 000 then they are underinsured and you will have to file an underinsured motorist claim with your insurance company.
It actually takes a while for you to find out that you got into an accident with an underinsured driver. It’s quick and easy to find out the driver’s insurance policy limits but it will take a while for you to determine the extent of your claim and where it fits within those limits.
The amount of medical treatment you will need, how much time you will have to take off work because of your injuries, etc. will also take some time to determine.
If the driver at fault carries the state minimum liability coverage, then you will automatically need to make an underinsured motorist claim but if they carry $50, 000- $100, 000 liability coverage, it may be many months before you can find out if you need to make an underinsured motorist claim.
Make Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage Claim Fast
The moment you find out that the driver at fault is underinsured, is the moment you should notify your insurance company that you wish to make an uninsured motorist coverage claim. Some policyholders have strict deadlines for making underinsured motorist claims.
Limits on the Amount of Coverage
Your insurance carrier will not allow you to carry more uninsured motorist coverage than your own liability coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage is cheap and insurance companies do not want people to buy minimum coverage for their own liability while spending more on underinsured motorist coverage. This would create financial problems for insurers.
Potential for Bad Faith
You can expect your insurance company to investigate the nature of your injuries, medical treatment, etc. the moment you make an underinsured motorist claim. Every insurance company is obligated to handle all claims in good faith.
If you suspect your insurer is acting in bad faith, you should talk to a Plymouth car accident lawyer to help you with your case.
We Will Evaluate Your Case for Free
Have you been involved in a car accident with an underinsured/uninsured motorist? We can help you. Our lawyers at Kevin P Landry Law Offices understand Massachusetts personal injury law and we can help you recover potential damages for your injuries. Contact us at 508-746-2700 or visit our offices in Plymouth for a free initial consultation today.