Posts tagged with "uninsured motorists"

2 men looking at car accident damage

Injured by an Uninsured Driver – What’s Next?

Being in a motor vehicle accident can be a stressful and traumatic experience. The first and most immediate concern is, of course, ensuring that any injuries suffered by the driver and passengers are treated. But regardless of whether the accident was serious or just a minor fender bender, at some point, the insurance companies get involved.

Under normal circumstances, if there is a clear case of who was at fault, then the responsible party’s insurance company will end up footing the bill for the accident and additional resulting expenditures. In some cases, if the insurance claims adjusters are offering a seemingly unfair amount, you may want to retain a personal injury attorney to help settle the case and ensure just compensation.

But what happens if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver? You certainly can’t file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company if that person has no insurance, but there is no reason you should have to handle the financial costs on your own, no matter how minor or huge.

Of course, in most states, including Massachusetts, automobiles are required to have insurance, but many people still manage to drive without it. This could be because they have allowed their insurance to lapse or they simply never acquired any in the first place. Regardless, if a negligent party was at fault for an accident, you are entitled to compensation, and there are steps you can take when dealing with a driver who does not have insurance.

What to do when you are injured by an uninsured driver

Many of the initial steps that you would follow when in an accident caused by an uninsured driver in Massachusetts are the same as what you would do if the driver was insured. First, call the police. You will want an accident report, as it can help you with a personal injury claim later on. Besides, the individual driving without insurance was also breaking the law.

Even if the driver doesn’t have insurance coverage of any type, that person may still be liable for paying for some of the damage to your car out of his or her own personal assets due to at-fault laws. The police report will be an important document in determining fault.

Get all the information you can

Make a note of the driver’s contact information, the license plate number on the car, and the car make and model. Write down all the details of the accident while they are still fresh in your mind. And even though the information may be on the police report, it is a good idea for you get the contact information of any witnesses as well.

Additionally, use your cellphone to take pictures of both cars and the area where the accident happened so that you can better describe the details to a personal injury attorney.

Call your insurance company

It is always important to call your insurance company in a timely manner. Some policies may have a time limit on how long you have to make a claim. Additionally, you may want to consider adding uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to your policy. This protects you in case of an accident with an uninsured driver. And since Massachusetts doesn’t require a high amount of coverage for drivers, the insurance will also protect you if the negligent driver is underinsured — that is, doesn’t have enough coverage to adequately compensate you for damages and injuries.

If you don’t have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you may have a collision or personal injury protection part of your policy that provides compensation for your medical bills in addition to the damage to your car. It is always wise to know everything your insurance policy covers so that there are no surprises after an unfortunate accident.

Call a personal injury attorney

If, after speaking with your insurance agent, you have been left without a means of compensation for the damages and injuries you’ve suffered, it would be a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney in Massachusetts. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help you file a claim with your insurance company against the negligent driver and attempt to recoup monetary compensation from the driver’s personal assets.

Recovering funds may be difficult, especially if the negligent driver doesn’t have much in the way of personal assets. However, there may be other avenues that can be pursued. The driver might actually have insurance coverage under someone else’s policy, or more than one party may be responsible for the car accident, leaving you other options to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

Contact Us

An experienced personal injury attorney in Massachusetts can help research and discover all possible avenues leading to potential sources of compensation. At the Boston law firm of Colucci Colucci Marcus & Flavin, PC, our attorneys help clients recover the maximum possible compensation for their injuries. For a free initial consultation with one of our professional and experienced personal injury lawyers, call (617) 698-6000, or contact us online via our email form.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Issues in Massachusetts

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists

Far too many drivers venture out on the road without adequate car insurance. According to the Insurance Research Council, the number is nearly one in seven drivers across the country.

In Massachusetts, the percentage of uninsured drivers is about four percent, or one in twenty-five drivers. Though this means Massachusetts is better than the national average, issues still arise when drivers without insurance get into motor vehicle accidents. Drivers need to be aware of the consequences of driving without insurance and how underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage on an insurance policy can help mitigate the problems that arise.

Consequences for Driving without Insurance

When uninsured drivers get into an auto accident with insured drivers, serious consequences can result. People who drive without auto insurance may face civil and criminal penalties for failing to comply with state laws mandating insurance coverage. They may also lose their houses, cars, savings and other assets if they cause an accident and an injured person sue to recover for his or her injuries.

Different – but no less serious – issues arise for insured drivers who get involved in accidents with uninsured drivers. Those drivers can choose to sue the uninsured at-fault driver personally for the medical bills, lost wages, property damage and pain and suffering that result from the accident. In practice, however, the uninsured driver may be “judgment-proof,” meaning that the insured driver will never collect anything because the uninsured driver simply has no money or other assets.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

One way that drivers can protect themselves from uninsured drivers is by purchasing uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage as part of their own insurance policies. UM coverage pays medical bills, lost income and property damage expenses when the policyholder is involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.

UIM policies pay expenses that exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. This is often necessary when drivers carry only the minimum amount of insurance that state law requires. Damages from automobile accidents frequently exceed these state-mandated minimums and a UIM policy can make up the difference so the injured driver does not have to pay personally.

Some drivers may be tempted to try to save money by carrying the least amount of insurance possible and foregoing UM or UIM coverage – or by driving without insurance altogether. However, the problems that arise when people get into auto accidents and the parties do not have enough insurance to cover the damages are too big to make the risk worthwhile.