Car accident injuries are already stressful. Discovering the driver who damaged your car and injured you did not have car insurance can make a bad situation worse.

If you are involved in a car accident injury with an uninsured motorist, you may still be able to recover for your injuries and damage to your vehicle. First, check the policy of the vehicle involved in the accident for uninsured motorist coverage.  This coverage, also known as UM, is not required but can be purchased on your automobile policy as additional coverage.

What is uninsured motorist auto insurance coverage?

There are several types of UM coverage:

  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage (UMBI) will pay for medical bills incurred, lost wages, pain and suffering as well as any other damages stemming from your car accident injuries.
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage includes repairs to the vehicle or payment for the value of the vehicle if it is totaled, but expenses such as rental vehicles and towing are usually separate coverages which can also be purchased.
  • Uninsured Motorist Economic Only will cover special or out-of-pocket damages including medical bills and lost wages.

Does my auto insurance cover my car, or me as a driver?

Automobile insurance coverage follows the person or insured, not the vehicle.  Therefore, passengers in either the at-fault or non-fault vehicle should check their personal automobile insurance policies for uninsured motorist coverage. A passenger’s personal automobile policy will become primary when the at-fault driver is uninsured and the host vehicle does not carry uninsured motorist coverage.  Lastly, many insurance policies will extend uninsured motorist coverage to a household relative (usually blood-related) who carries UM coverage on their personal vehicle if none of the aforementioned coverage has been located.

What if the other driver and passengers don’t have uninsured motorist coverage?

As a last resort, if no uninsured motorist policies have been located to compensate bodily injury or property damage claims, personal action against the tortfeasor is an option. A car accident injury lawsuit can be filed in the proper jurisdiction, including city, state, federal, or even small claims court to attempt recovery of damages from the named defendant. After trial, a judgment can be awarded against the defendant, which can be collected through various means including seizure of assets and wage garnishments.

Recovery from an individual defendant is rare; therefore, protecting yourself and your passengers by purchasing uninsured motorist coverage is the best way to ensure you are covered in the event an uninsured motorist cause a car accident injury to your property or person. Contact the Morris Bart personal injury attorneys for a consultation today!

May 16, 2013 | Categories: Auto Accidents, Legal Tips |