What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage And Do You Need It?
Imagine this pretty terrible scenario: you or somebody in your family is catastrophically injured in a car accident. You sue the other driver who is clearly at fault for the accident. But there is one problem: Although the other driver has insurance, he only has a very small policy—say, $10,000, which is hardly enough to fully compensate for the most serious of injuries after an accident.
You are now in a situation where you will potentially never recover the true value of your injuries or damages. The other driver personally most likely will never have the funds to compensate you, and even if they did, it would take years to get to it, uncover it, and collect it.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage to the Rescue
How could you have avoided this problem? The answer is by having what is known as uninsured motorist (UM) coverage on your insurance policy.
UM coverage is not mandatory on your car insurance, and the law doesn’t require that people have UM coverage. Many people just deny getting the coverage, in an effort to save money. But UM can be vital to help you get compensated for your injuries.
In our example above, had that been a real case, your own UM coverage would have stepped in, and paid the balance of what your injuries or damages were, up to the limits of the UM policy.
Your UM insurance company “stands in the shoes” of the other driver, and pays the balance of what the other driver’s insurance didn’t cover. So, if your injuries in the accident were valued at, say, $300,000, you would get the $10,000 from the insurance of the liable driver, and then you would pursue your own UM insurance company for the $290,000 balance.
Phantom and Missing Drivers
But UM does more than cover excess damages. UM can also help you when you don’t know who the responsible party may be. For example, let’s say you are injured when your car hits a couch that fell in the middle of the highway. Some driver, somewhere, had that couch on their vehicle, and it fell off. But who did that? How would you ever know?
With UM, you don’t have to–your UM will “pretend” it is the unknown driver, and compensate you the way the unknown driver would have had to do, again up to the limits of your UM policy.
UM also helps when there are phantom drivers, or hit-and-runs, when the driver of another vehicle is clearly liable, but the other driver cannot be found.
Suing Your UM Insurance
If you make a claim on your UM, you will name your own UM as a Defendant, along with the other, liable Defendants (if you know who they are). It can seem odd, suing your own insurance company, but it is normal, and is a part of getting UM insurance, so they know and understand why you are doing that.
We can help you with insurance issues after an accident. Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today.