Rockville Maryland Auto Accident Attorney | Uninsured Motorist Accidents

Most states require drivers to carry some level of car insurance. Unfortunately, not all drivers abide by this law. This can pose a major problem when a negligent driver who is uninsured or does not have a sufficient amount of insurance causes a car accident that injures someone else and has no financial ability to pay for the harm he/she may have caused. Since the at-fault driver cannot pay the injured victim through their insurance company and generally has limited or no personal assets, the victim is left to face the financial burden of his/her losses – auto accidentincluding medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and more on their own even though they have done nothing wrong.

If you are a resident of Bethesda, Rockville or the greater areas of Maryland, or Virginia, and you need an experienced car accident attorney, call (301) 605-9469 to schedule a free consultation.

Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
In order to protect yourself against this potentially disastrous situation, you should purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) on your own auto policy. Many people choose to save themselves money when they purchase automobile insurance, and it is only after they are seriously injured in  a car wreck that they discover that their “full coverage” does not include Uninsured Motorist Coverage and they have no reserves to make up for their losses. Keep in mind that 60% of all bankruptcies occur because people cannot pay medical bills. Review your policy and make sure you have both UM and UIM coverage. The amounts recommended are at least $50,000, if not $100,000, but the more, the better. Some states, such as Maryland, require you to carry this type of insurance. In other states, it is merely optional, but strongly encouraged.

Uninsured Motorist Statistics
According to the Insurance Research Council, 14% of all car accidents are caused by uninsured motorists, and over 16% of all drivers nationwide are uninsured. The majority of uninsured motorists are male (62%).

The most common excuses people give for being uninsured are:

  • Their vehicle is not in working condition at the time so why insure it (24%)
  • They cannot afford insurance (21%)
  • Insurance premiums are too expensive (20%)
  • Their vehicle runs, but is not currently being used (17%)

Every year, over $860 million is collected from tickets issued to uninsured motorists, which means the risk of an accident with one of these drivers may be high.

Underinsured Motorists – Minimum Liability Coverage

Each state requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage. For Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C., these minimum amounts break down as follows:

  • Maryland – $20,000 for bodily injury of one person; $40,000 total for bodily injury of multiple people; $10,000 for property damage.
  • Virginia – $25,000 for bodily injury of one person; $50,000 total for bodily injury of multiple people; $20,000 for property damage.
  • Washington D.C. – $25,000 for bodily injury of one person; $50,000 total for bodily injury of multiple people; $10,000 for property damage.

However, these small requirements in many cases do not come close to paying for the amount of damage and loss caused. Drivers who are below the legal requirements or simply do not carry enough insurance to cover a significant accident are called underinsured motorists because unlike uninsured drivers who have no coverage at all, these persons do have some minimal amount of insurance. As a result and depending the seriousness of the accident, these drivers can pose just as big of a problem as uninsured motorists because an underinsured driver may not be able to cover all of your losses if you are in a significant collision.

If you have UM/UIM protection, your insurance company should pay you the difference between what the other driver was able to pay you, and the amount of coverage you have under your own auto-policy. So, for example if you have $100,000 in UIM coverage, and the responsible driver only had $25,000 in coverage, you have $75,000 in reserve, which you may seek to recover depending on your loss.  Again, it is wise to get substantial coverage under your own auto policy and such coverage is not costly.

Problems Recovering Compensation With Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Even if you have UM/UIM insurance protection with your own insurance company, it is not always easy to collect the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies, including many times your own, will use any excuse to deny your claim: saying you’ve made a procedural error in submitting your claim, downplaying your injuries or property damage, and coming up with other justifications not to pay you a fair amount. Also, if you were a victim of a hit-and-run accident, a pedestrian, or are injured by an untraditional vehicle (motor scooter, moped, etc.) the insurance company may claim you have no coverage for that type of accident. That’s not true either.

If your insurance company is giving you the runaround with an UM/UIM claim, you need to consult with an experienced Maryland auto accident attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Stuart Plotnick can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, making sure you receive every benefit you are entitled to. Before you accept any settlement offer from either your insurance company or the other driver’s, talk to someone who has your rights and your best interests at heart.

What to Do After a Car Accident With an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist

  • You must put your Uninsured Motorist Insurance Company on notice as soon as is possible after the crash. If you don’t, you may be failing to comply with the insurance contract and void your own coverage.
  • You do need to comply with their requests for cooperation and recorded statements. (Only for your insurer, not the other guy’s insurance company)
  • Are there other relatives you live with that have their own insurance policies? If so, you may be covered under their insurance as well.
  • You are covered under the Uninsured Motorist coverage for the vehicle you are riding in at the time and possibly other policies of family members in your household even if it is not your primary insurance policy.
  • If you plan to settle with the other driver, you must notify and get consent of your insurance company or you may jeopardize your claim for uninsured or underinsured benefits.

Contact An Experienced Rockville Auto Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a car accident with an uninsured/underinsured motorist in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington D.C., please contact the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick today to schedule a free case evaluation. We can help you fight for the fair compensation you deserve.