Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, especially while recovering from a subsequent injury. Stress is likely to increase when the driver at fault has inadequate auto insurance coverage or no coverage at all. To protect yourself from unnecessary medical and property damage expenses, it is important to include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in your plan. The Insurance Research Council’s latest report reveals that, although the number of uninsured motorists has experienced a downward trend over the past five years, the amount of uninsured claims has increased an estimated 75%. In 2012, insurance companies paid out over $2 million in uninsured / under insured motorist claims.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage allows you to make a claim against your own insurance company when the at-fault driver carries no auto insurance. Although there is an option to sue the at-fault driver, it is likely that he or she will not have the funds to compensate you. Claims against your own insurance company can be as high as the limit of coverage and will cover both property damage and medical expenses.
The statute of limitations for uninsured motorist claims typically provides a very short period during which to file. Therefore, it is in your best interest to report a claim as soon as possible. Try to exchange insurance information with the at-fault driver at the scene of the accident. If the driver does not comply, ask the police officer involved to check the insurance information of everyone involved.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
When an at-fault driver in Massachusetts has insufficient liability coverage, under insured motorist coverage pays the difference. For example, you may have a total of $150,000 in medical and property damages. If the at-fault driver’s policy only covers $100,000, you may make a claim against your own company for the remaining $50,000. Underinsured motorist coverage tends to take longer to process. Determination of both medical expenses and liability coverage can delay the process for several months. However, even though the statute of limitations may not be as time sensitive as with uninsured motorists, it is still important to file a claim as soon as possible.
Compared to standard liability insurance, uninsured and under insured motorist coverage is very inexpensive. To ensure clients do not take advantage of this by purchasing a large amount, insurance companies limit the amount of under insured coverage to the same amount as the primary liability on the policy.
“Bad Faith” Situations
Because your insurance company has been paid to provide protection, your adjuster has an obligation to act in “good faith” during settlement negotiations. If he or she is demonstrating questionable tactics to decrease the settlement amount, you can file a “bad faith” claim. Examples of such tactics include tampering with witnesses or withholding evidence. Because uninsured motorist coverage forces settlement negotiations with your own insurance company, it is in your best interest to be aware of this type of situation. If you feel your adjuster’s actions may be questionable, contact an attorney immediately.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Car Accident Lawyers
Having to deal with an uninsured or under insured driver, as well as insurance adjusters, can be frustrating and exhausting. Balancing financial stress and physical / emotional recovery can be equally overwhelming. At Altman & Altman, LLP, our Boston car accident attorney’s will work quickly and aggressively to relieve as much of this burden as possible. We treat each and every case as though it’s our one and only. Our legal team will keep you informed and will be available for any questions or concerns that arise as we prepare your case. Every detail is examined to position you for the best possible outcome. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free consultation.