What should you do when an uninsured or underinsured driver injures you?
Every person who owns and drives a motor vehicle must carry insurance. In fact, drivers who take to the roads without insurance face serious criminal penalties. Despite these potential penalties, tens of millions of drivers across the United States do not carry auto insurance. According to the most recent study from the Insurance Research Council (IRC), roughly 14%, or one in seven, drivers in Indiana do not carry automobile insurance. Nationwide, nearly 13% of drivers are uninsured.
In Indiana, drivers must carry the following minimums in bodily liability coverage:
- $25,000 per person
- $50,000 per accident
Drivers must also carry $10,000 in property damage liability coverage.
After a serious accident, an at-fault driver who is uninsured or carries only the liability minimums may not be able to cover all of your damages. For these reasons, I strongly urge all of my clients to make sure they have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage under their own auto insurance policies. The cost for this extra insurance is low, but the benefits can be immeasurable. After an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you will need to take two critical steps.
Look at your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
You may wonder whether your insurance policy covers accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured motorists. In Indiana, unless you waive this requirement in writing, every new insurance policy in Indiana must carry, at minimum, uninsured or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage in the following amounts:
- $25,000 per individual and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage
- $25,000 per individual and $50,000 per accident in underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage
- $10,000 property damage
Considering the expenses associated with a serious motor vehicle accident, it is generally a good idea to carry more than minimum UIM coverage. Little known fact: UIM coverage can also apply if an uninsured or underinsured motorist injures you while you are walking or biking.
Get in touch with a lawyer
If you or someone you love was injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may need to bring a claim using the UIM coverages under your own insurance policy. Even though you are a customer of your auto insurer, your insurer may still try to minimize the extent of your damages. When you have an advocate on your side who knows how to investigate all applicable coverages under your policy, and can bring a claim backed by the facts and law, you can put yourself in the best position for success.
My name is Steve Crell. For nearly 30 years, I have represented people throughout the Indianapolis area and beyond who have been injured in all types of motor vehicle accidents. I have handled dozens of UIM claims and have found insurance coverage for clients who thought they had no source of recovery when injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. My experience, tenacity and skill have made a difference for people time and again.