It only takes the blink of an eye for a car accident to take you by surprise. And the ramifications of a wreck can be severe. Your physical and emotional injuries may be significant, leaving you with extensive pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and severe financial losses in the form of medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages.
In many of these instances, insurance companies step in to help cover your losses. You can then negotiate a fair settlement amount that gets you back up on your feet and on the road to recovery. But what if the other driver didn’t have insurance?
This is where you could end up facing some trouble. In these circumstances, you’ll only have your own insurance policy to rely upon, and it may be insufficient to meet your needs. This highlights the importance of obtaining an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy.
How does this kind of policy work?
Uninsured motorist coverage can cover bodily injury that you suffer at the hands of an uninsured or underinsured driver. This policy helps cover your medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and even your pain and suffering up to a certain limit and is mandatory coverage on an automobile policy in the State of Connecticut. You just need to make sure that your policy limits are high enough to make you feel comfortable that your needs will be met if you’re injured in one of these wrecks.
How much does one of these policies cost?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the insurer used and the extent of the coverage that you’re seeking. However, most uninsured and underinsured motorist policies are very affordable, some costing a little more than $100 per year for ample coverage. It’s a small cost to pay to give yourself peace of mind and to ensure that your interests are protected in the event that something goes wrong. Sadly, our office has handled many injury cases where our client had significant injuries and the at-fault driver had no insurance or a very limited policy amount. Our clients were then able to proceed against their own uninsured motorist policy but in some instances their policy limits were also minimal so they were not fully compensated. For instance, say your vehicle was struck by another vehicle in a head-on collision and you sustained significant injuries and the case had a settlement value of $500,000.00. If the other driver did not have insurance and you only maintained $100,000.00 in uninsured motorist coverage, then you would only be able to receive $100,000.00 as to an insurance settlement.
What if you don’t get coverage?
If you don’t get one of these policies and end up in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, then you may be on the hook for your bills and may not receive compensation for you injuries and pain and suffering. Sure, you can still pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused your wreck, but the truth of the matter is that many uninsured drivers don’t have insurance because they can’t afford it, or they have a minimal bodily injury liability policy, which in Connecticut is $25,000 per person to a maximum of $50,000 for all injured parties. This means that recovering any judgment levied against the other driver could be extremely difficult. That said, you may be able to obtain a wage garnishment order or other post-judgment remedies if you succeed on your claim and have difficulty recovering what you’re owed from that driver. However, that process is much more challenging than simply proceeding with an insurance claim to receive your compensation.
Making sure that your future is protected
Securing an uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance policy is a relatively inexpensive and effective way of protecting yourself and your family. But you can still run into issues dealing with an insurance company in the aftermath of an accident. Attorneys with experience can help you understand your legal options.