Injury or wrongful death resulted from Uninsured or Underinsured Accident?
One common misunderstanding of those injured in a car accident by an at-fault driver with little or no insurance is that they have no other avenues for recovery. If you have been involved in a car accident in Indiana and the at-fault driver did not have valid insurance, or had too little insurance to cover your damages, you may still have a case.
Have you or someone you care about been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist in Fort Wayne, Indiana? Contacting a personal injury attorney in Fort Wayne with experience can mean the difference between something or nothing in the event of an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.
- Recent years have shown an increase in the number of uninsured drivers, largely attributed to economic struggles.
- Approximately 1 in 7 drivers on the road are uninsured, leaving you exposed to higher costs.
- An average of 14% of all motor vehicle accidents are the result of an uninsured motorist.
- Indiana is listed as the state having the 12th highest amount of uninsured motorists.
What Do You Do
What do you do if you have been involved in an auto accident and the other driver just ran away or does not have insurance? What if you were a pedestrian or riding a bicycle and hit by a driver who drove away or does not have any auto insurance? What do you do if the other driver did not have enough insurance to cover your medical bills? This is not unusual. Many drivers in Indiana do NOT have insurance, so what should you do if the driver that hit you does not either?
You probably will not make a claim against the person who caused the accident if that person does not have any auto insurance because most people who drive without insurance don’t have enough money to justify the time and expense of making a claim against them, then proceeding to court and then, if you win at trial, trying to collect from such person any judgment you might obtain after a trial. Even if you win, the other party might file for bankruptcy protection and then you might receive nothing even though you incurred all those court expenses and wasted considerable time and energy. So, what should you do?
Uninsured Motorist Claim (UM Claim)
Fortunately, there may be a solution. If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage on your auto insurance policy, you will be able to make a claim against your own insurance company for your losses without any detriment to you. Even if you personally do not have auto insurance coverage, you still may be covered. For example, if you were a passenger in someone else’s vehicle and the owner of the vehicle you were in has UM coverage, it should cover you. If you live with someone who is related to you who has UM coverage, it also may cover you. Even if you are a pedestrian or bicycle rider, if you or a relative you reside with have UM coverage, it may cover you. If you think any of these may apply, be sure to tell your attorney right away.
The UM insurance company pays when the other driver does NOT have any insurance. UM coverage pays for most (but not all) of the things that the other person’s insurance would have paid if it existed. UM insurance coverage should cover the following losses: Ambulance, paramedic, hospital and medical bills, including dental, x-ray, MRI and prescriptions. Loss of wages, earnings and income. Pain, suffering, disfigurement, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life activities. Loss of future earnings and earning capacity.
There are some things that UM coverage may not cover, including the following: Property damage. UM coverage does not cover damage to your car, towing, rental or loss of use. However, you may also have collision coverage that does pay for property damage, less your deductible, and UM waiver of deductible that may cover your deductible. You may also have rental reimbursement and towing coverage. Check your policy coverage carefully and give a copy of your coverage declaration page to your attorney to review. Punitive damages. These damages are not covered unless your own insurance company wrongfully handles your UM claim. Then you may be able to bring a separate action against it for the bad faith handling of your claim. If you think this may apply, you should immediately consult our offices for advice.
Underinsured Motorist Claim (UM Claim)
Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is similar but not quite the same as uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. UIM applies when the person who caused your accident has auto liability insurance but the limits are not high enough or sufficient to fully compensate you for your losses. In contrast, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, discussed above, applies when the other party does NOT have any auto insurance at all.
Here’s an example of how UIM coverage works: Let’s say the person who ran into you had insurance that pays only $25,000 for each person injured in an accident and your losses and damages are about $100,000. If you have underinsurance coverage (UIM), you will be able to collect the other person’s $25,000 from the other person’s insurer and then collect the balance of your damages from your UIM coverage, up to the limits of your own UIM coverage.
It's critical that you visit with a doctor as soon as possible after your personal injury accident. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it's a good idea to seek treatment in the event that you begin to experience new or worsening symptoms over the days following your accident. One of the most damaging factors to any personal injury accident claim is what is known as a "gap in treatment." This occurs when a person waits to seek treatment or fails to show for a doctor's appointment. Without detailed medical records and a consistent treatment history, there will be little to no evidence that supports your injury claim. Simply put, you must follow up with a doctor as soon as possible after a personal injury accident and continue to keep your appointments until you have been released from care.
Insurance Company Goals
The goal of the insurance company is to pay the smallest amount possible to settle your UM/UIM accident case. Insurance companies make billions of dollars every year by settling claims as quickly as possible and employing high-priced defense attorneys who make sure their dollars stay out of your hands. UM/UIM accident victims are often pressured into giving recorded statements to the insurance company and signing medical authorization release forms that expose your health history. In both instances, this information is used against you to limit how much they pay for your UM/UIM accident. (It's also common for the insurance company to use often-heard excuses to deny or limit your claim. The car accident wasn't your fault, and you shouldn't be made to feel guilty.)
- You can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a free consultation with our lawyers
- When you contact us a lawyer will immediately respond - No call centers - No time waiting for the important legal advice you need
- Our no recovery no fee promise - You won't have to pay a dime until there is a successful resolution to your case.
- All accident, injury and wrongful death lawyers at our office have years of experience litigating such cases, so they know how to get the maximum compensation for your case.
- Our lawyers will fight for your right to compensation against insurance companies and defendants for all your damages including:
- Medical bills - Hospitalization costs
- Future medical care
- Loss of earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress If you are the victim of an injury or wrongful death, contact us for immediate assistance.
Remember, our consultations are free, and when we take a case, we do not charge our clients a penny until our client wins. If you don't win, then we don't get paid. That's how confident we are in our ability to successfully handle your case. Call us now to speak to a Fort Wayne car accident attorney personal injury and wrongful death lawyer immediately.