In Louisiana, you still have options available if you get hit by an uninsured motorist. Unfortunately, many car accident victims assume that they have to pay for their damages out of pocket if they get hit by a negligent driver with no insurance.
That would only be in the worst-case scenario. But, before you give up, know that there are other options you have. One of these options is uninsured motorist coverage through your own insurance policy. Our lawyers explain how uninsured motorist coverage works and how it can help you during this challenging time.
Uninsured Motorists Aren’t Uncommon
Statistics for uninsured motorists show that in 2019, 12.6% of all drivers on the road didn’t have any insurance. Even though driving without insurance is illegal, that doesn’t stop irresponsible people from getting behind the wheel.
This statistic shows that roughly one in eight drivers lack any sort of insurance. This means that if you get into an accident, there is a chance that the other driver may not have the means to cover your damages. In these instances, you will want to file a claim for UM or UMBI through your insurance policy.
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What Is UM or UMBI Coverage?
During the course of your representation, your attorney may ask whether you have UM or UBMI coverage on your personal auto policy. UM coverage stands for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and UMBI stands for uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. These coverages are not always required on your auto insurance policy but can be purchased when selecting coverage for your vehicle.
While Louisiana law requires all motorists to carry liability insurance coverage on any automobile they own, many do not. Worse still, many uninsured drivers are unaware that they do not have insurance. Even those drivers who do have insurance may only carry the Louisiana state law minimum Bodily Injury Liability limits of $15,000 per injured person up to a total of $30,000 per accident, and Property Damage Liability Coverage of $25,000.
This basic coverage is typically referred to as 15/30/25 coverage. However, it is frequently insufficient to cover an accident victim’s injuries and vehicle damage even when the driver at fault is insured with the minimum coverage required by law.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Because of the number of these potential uninsured or underinsured motorists on the roads, Louisiana law allows for both UM and UMPD as additional coverage available beyond Louisiana coverage minimums.
This coverage serves to protect you against drivers with no insurance or too little coverage to pay the total amount for your injuries. UM policies also cover passengers in vehicles who are uninsured or who underinsured drivers hit.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Louisiana Law
Louisiana law requires that a vehicle owner’s automobile insurance policy will automatically include uninsured motorist coverage equal to the liability limits unless the insured vehicle owner specifically rejects uninsured motorist coverage in writing or otherwise requests lower limits.
This requirement is of paramount importance, as all vehicle owners signing up for a new insurance policy must carefully read their policy language and coverage to make sure that they have UM coverage or know that they are actively and consciously rejecting it.
Every driver should check to make sure an uninsured motorist policy is in place unless they expressly waived that coverage in writing with their insurer.
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Check Your Auto Insurance Policy Today
No one wants to be in an automobile accident. However, the situation can worsen if the driver responsible for the accident is not covered and cannot pay for the injuries sustained by you and your loved ones. Check your policy today to make sure you are sufficiently protected against uninsured or underinsured motorists.
When Should I File a Claim for Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
UM coverage comes into play when an at-fault driver has no insurance or not enough insurance to fully compensate you for your injury claim. Unfortunately, clients are often hesitant to make a UM claim with their insurance company for several reasons. Often clients are fearful their insurance company will drop them as customers, or their insurance rates will increase due to filing a UM claim.
Under La. R.S. §22:1284, “No insurer shall increase the rate, increase or add a surcharge, cancel or fail to renew any policy of motor vehicle insurance when such action is based on consideration of one or more non-fault incidents.”
Therefore, this language prohibits the cancellation of a policy or an increase in premiums when a UM policyholder makes a claim.
Don’t Hesitate to File a Claim
Clients should not hesitate to make a UM claim when the circumstances arise, as this coverage is intended to protect you as an auto accident victim. After all, you are paying extra for this coverage. Making a UM claim can pay for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages you otherwise may not be able to recover if the at-fault party has no insurance or not enough insurance.
Our Lawyers Can Help
Understanding how the law applies to UM claims can be highly challenging. While you recover from your car accident, our lawyers can handle all of the legal work surrounding your claim. Don’t divide your attention between your health and your settlement. Focus on what matters the most while we fight for fair compensation on your behalf.
Contact Morris Bart About Your Car Accident Injuries from an Uninsured Motorist
If you suffered a car accident injury with an uninsured motorist, please contact the personal injury attorneys at Morris Bart, LLC today. We offer a free case evaluation with our personal injury attorneys, who will review the details of your case and advise you on the best approach to getting the compensation you deserve for your car accident injury.
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