How Can I Protect Myself from an Underinsured Driver in an Accident?
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Apr 16, 2019 in Car Accidents
Imagine you were just in an accident and found out the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured. This adds more frustration to an already stressful situation. Find out what you need to know about insurance coverage for these types of accidents and if you are protected.
Our South Bend car accident attorneys discuss the details below. If you were injured in an accident or suffered property damage because of an underinsured or uninsured motorist, contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation to learn your legal rights.
What Do Uninsured and Underinsured Mean?
An uninsured motorist is one who does not hold any automobile insurance. Indiana law requires that all motorists who operate a vehicle hold minimum liability coverage - the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) must verify that a motorist holds minimum liability coverage when he or she is involved in an accident for which a report is submitted to the agency. A driver may be also be uninsured if his or her automobile insurance policy has lapsed due to a missing payment, or if he or she has not purchased a policy.
An underinsured motorist is one who does not hold enough insurance to cover the damages in a claim. The driver’s insurance policy will only pay up to the coverage limit. Any damages over that are not paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Serious accidents result in serious damage, to both people and property. If a driver holds minimum coverage, chances are his or her coverage will not be enough to cover all the damages related to the accident. Medical care for serious accident injuries is expensive and often victims require future treatment, for which the insurance coverage limits may not be enough.
Indiana requires that newly written insurance policies include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, unless the policy holder expressly rejects the coverage in writing. This is coverage within your own policy that can be used in the event you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Indiana insurance policies must meet the state’s minimum coverage requirements, which are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one individual
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more individuals in a single accident
- $10,000 for property damage in a single accident
The minimums for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on newly written policies include:
- $25,000 in uninsured coverage for bodily injury of one person and $50,000 for bodily injury of two or more people in a single accident
- $10,000 in coverage for property damage for uninsured motorist accidents
- $50,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injuries caused by an underinsured motorist
In Indiana, your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is intended to cover the difference if the at-fault motorist’s insurance policy does not offer enough coverage to equal your damages, or in the event a motorist has no coverage at all.
For example, say your damages for your injuries and lost wages comes to a total of $40,000, but the other driver has just $25,000 in coverage. You may use your underinsured motorist coverage to claim the leftover $15,000. If the at-fault driver has no insurance, you may recover $25,000 from your underinsured motorist coverage if you hold minimum underinsured motorist coverage.
Indiana does not offer underinsured motorist coverage for property damage in an accident. This means if damages to your vehicle total over the limit of the at-fault driver’s insurance, you will only be able to recover the amount of their insurance limit. If the at-fault driver has minimum coverage, only $25,000 in property damage can be recovered from that policy. You may file a claim with your own insurance company for the difference.
Let a Reputable Attorney Review Your Case
If you were involved in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured motorist, the South Bend car accident lawyers at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages and property damage.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation now to learn what legal options may be available in your situation. We charge no upfront fees and payment is only owed if we recover compensation for you.