UNINSURED OR UNDERINSURED WHEN INJURED?
In the majority of situations, one driver gets into an accident with another driver and the at-fault driver’s insurance pays for the damage to the injured party’s car, medical expenses, and any other damages that they may have.
In a perfect world, this process is seamless, covers all their expenses, and works without a hitch.
Of course, we don’t quite live in a perfect world. Sometimes drivers don’t carry enough coverage to manage the liability to an injured party. Sometimes, drivers aren’t carrying any insurance at all. The question then becomes: what does an injured party do to recover expenses related to their accident?
WHAT DAMAGES ARE YOU ENTITLED TO RECOVER IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT?
In an auto accident, you are entitled to recover damages to both your person and your property. In other words, you are entitled to any repairs necessary for your car and your body. In addition, you are entitled to missed time from work. These are called economic damages. Economic damages can be easily proven. Your medical bills add up to a specific amount of money. You’ve lost a specific amount of time from work.
On the other hand, you’re also entitled to non-economic damages. These can include:
- Pain and suffering (including emotional anguish),
- Loss of enjoyment,
- Permanent impairment,
- Or disfigurement.
For instance, if you were an avid jogger and you have sustained serious injuries to your legs that make it difficult for you to run without pain, then you are entitled to collect on that.
THE COMPARATIVE FAULT SYSTEM IN INDIANA
Some states are no-fault accident states while others use a fault or tort-based system. Indiana’s fault-based system is based on comparative negligence. That means that each individual in a car accident is assigned some amount of the blame. However, if you’re the plaintiff and your percentage of the blame drops to under 50%, then you aren’t entitled to collect damages from the defendant.
Indiana Auto Insurance Requirements
Fort Wayne drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance. In Indiana, that is:
- $25,000 for personal injury liability of one person,
- $50,000 for personal injury liability of more than one person,
- 10,000 in property damage.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M STRUCK BY AN UNDERINSURED MOTORIST?
Indiana’s minimum coverage requirements may not cover the full extent of your damages. If you have suffered a severe bodily injury, $25,000 will likely not be enough. Those who are in serious auto accidents can end up paralyzed or suffer lifelong impairments due to injuries that they have had no fault in causing.
No-fault auto insurance states require drivers to carry something called PIP or (personal injury protection insurance). In no-fault states, a driver’s own PIP insurance pays out regardless of who is at fault. While Indiana does not require drivers to carry PIP, Indiana insurance companies offer something called Med-Pay that pays out in the event an at-fault driver’s minimum coverage doesn’t cover the full extent of your damages.
In addition, Indiana now requires that insurance companies offer their customers uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. It costs more for the customer but pays out in the event that the at-fault driver’s coverage does not add up to the full value of their damages. This offer must be explicitly rejected in writing by the customer. Of course, most drivers will be better off if they don’t.
WHAT DOES MED-PAY INSURANCE COVER IN INDIANA?
Med-Pay insurance covers medical expenses for you or a passenger in your vehicle. It can help offset the difference between an underinsured at-fault driver’s liability insurance and your damages.
Can I Sue an Underinsured Motorist for Damages?
You can sue an underinsured motorist for damages in excess of their liability coverage. On the other hand, those who carry the minimum amount of coverage tend not to have significant assets worth going after. Those who do pay larger premiums to avoid exposing their assets if they’re found liable for an accident.
In other words, it can be very difficult to recover the full amount of your damages in an accident with an underinsured driver.
What Happens if the Other Driver is Uninsured?
While it’s a legal requirement to carry accident liability insurance, we know that not everyone does it. Indiana also requires auto insurance companies to offer uninsured/underinsured auto accident liability insurance.
Although customers are allowed to reject this offer, it is highly advised that they do not do so. If you’re in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, this policy is what can help make up the difference.
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UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED AUTO ACCIDENT INSURANCE
The state of Indiana requires that insurance companies offer the state minimum for uninsured motorist coverage. In other words, it is the same 25/50/10 insurance policy that would pay out in the event that a motorist is uninsured.
On the other hand, Indiana does not offer property damage coverage in the event that the at-fault driver is underinsured. If their $10,000 policy does not cover the damage to your car then you are stuck footing the bill. On the other hand, you can carry collision on your coverage and your own insurance policy will make up the difference.
FILING AN UNINSURED MOTORIST CLAIM WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
Insurance companies don’t automatically pay out every claim that is sent to them. Once the claim is filed with the insurance company, they will expect that you can prove that:
- The other motorist was at fault for the accident,
- You suffered damages as a result of their negligence,
- And the other motorist was uninsured.
You will also be expected to prove what damages you experienced and the extent of those damages.
Many folks in this position elect to have a lawyer manage their accident claim. Lawyers can not only ensure that you are paid for your injuries, but they can also maximize the value of your claim.
Call an Underinsured/Uninsured Accident Attorney in Fort Wayne Today
The Indiana underinsured/uninsured accident attorneys at Delventhal Law Office LLC helps those in car accidents litigate their claims against difficult insurance companies. Give us a call at (260) 238-8608 or contact us online and we can begin collecting the evidence you’ll need to receive the full value of your claim.
AREAS WE PRACTICE
At the Delventhal Law office, our Fort Wayne personal injury attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights and interests of accident victims. If you or a family member was injured because of the carelessness or recklessness of another party, we can help. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers handle a wide array of legal cases, including:
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