Uninsured & Underinsured Motorists
When a driver doesn’t carry adequate motor vehicle insurance, he or she puts everyone on the road at risk. Car insurance is typically who pays out to victims for medical expenses, loss of wages and other damages, and if the insurance isn’t there, the victim can’t get paid as usual. Instead, they may have to rely on uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
There are two cases in which you’ll need uninsured motorist coverage: if you’re in an accident cause by a driver who’s not carrying insurance, or if you’re the victim of a hit and run and cannot identify the other driver.
Many states require auto insurance companies to offer uninsured motorist coverage. If your insurance company offers uninsured motorist coverage, and you chose to include it in your policy, then your insurance company will act as if it were the at-fault driver’s insurance company in compensating you.
When you file an uninsured motorist claim, your insurance company’s interests can be adverse to your interests. Consulting with an attorney before filing a claim is wise.
Underinsured Motorists Coverage
What happens when the driver at fault has insurance but it’s not enough? That’s where underinsured motorist coverage comes in. Every state requires all drivers to carry some level of auto insurance, but some state minimums are very low, meaning that in the case of an accident, there’s not enough money to cover the actual damages sustained.
If you have underinsured motorist coverage, you may be able to collect, from your own insurance company, the amount of your damages that exceeds the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage.
Collecting Insurance Benefits
To recover benefits under an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy, you’ll need to show that the other motorist was at fault in the accident and that your injuries and/or damages are significant. To collect benefits under an underinsured motorist policy, you’ll need to collect as much money as possible from the at-fault driver’s insurance company first.
Stacking Insurance Coverage
In South Carolina, an injured party may “stack” various insurance policies to reach a satisfactory level of compensation if those policies allow it. By stacking coverage from more than one auto insurance policy — or coverage for more than one car on a single policy — the injured party increases monetary recovery.
Contact an Attorney
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects accident victims when they are most vulnerable. Not every policy has such coverage, however, and the victim’s approach to the situation can change the level of compensation he or she receives. It’s important to speak with an attorney experienced in auto accident cases so you can improve your chances of getting a fair settlement. Call 800-868-2110 or contact us online to set up your free consultation.