How Can Insurance Affect My Car Accident Case?
Posted on January 18, 2022 in Firm News
“If automobile insurance affects my car accident case, in what way does it do so?” This could be a question you find yourself asking following an MVA (motor vehicle accident). Of course, not only does your insurance come into play but that of the other driver as well. Policy limits and coverage types are also going to play a big part in the settlement of a case following a car accident.
Every month or so, you pay your insurance bill. But, until after a car accident, when you actually realize you need specific types of coverage, you might be unclear as to what your policy entails. All automobile insurance policies have one thing in common: They are designed, following an accident, to cover damages. However, all insurance policies are not created equally.
Policy Limits and Available Coverage
From a legal standpoint, all resulting harm should be the financial responsibility of the person at fault in a car accident. However, speaking practically, following a car accident, how much compensation, and whether or not it can be recovered, can depend on a number of things:
- The policy’s coverage limit
- If accident-related losses are covered by a car insurance policy
If the other driver was at fault for the car accident you were involved in – but no automobile insurance is in place on their end – you will likely have to file a personal injury lawsuit and see them in court to recover any damages/compensation. While you may succeed in court, it’s another matter altogether to collect a judgment. Unless significant personal assets are held by the driver, your financial recovery could be slim to none.
Accidents with Injury
It goes much the same if you suffer significant injuries in an accident but only the minimum insurance was carried by an at-fault driver. If they only have $25,000 worth of bodily injury liability insurance, and your medical bills add up to in excess of $30,000, their policy limits determine what they are obligated to pay. For the remaining $5000, they’re pretty much off the hook. If you were planning on adding pain and suffering to your damages, you’re out of luck again.
So, if you can’t collect on the judgment, is it actually worth the time and effort to take them to court? This is something you’ll have to discuss with your personal injury attorney.
Your Insurance May Come to the Rescue
If you have UIM coverage (uninsured motorist), and no insurance is held by the other driver, your own insurance company – through the filing of a claim – will likely pay for pain and suffering, medical bills, and additional losses. In a few states, in fact, UIM is mandatory.
Note: You may need to add additional coverage to make sure the damage to your vehicle is covered. Ordinary UIM policies may not suffice.
There is also something referred to as “underinsured” motorist coverage. As you would expect, it applies when you are involved in an accident and the at-fault driver has inadequate insurance with which to cover your losses.
Underinsurance (“UIM”) coverage in New York State is optional, which means the claimant must request this coverage and pay the additional premium in order to enjoy this protection. This coverage is designed to apply if the tortfeasor is covered by a policy of insurance, but the limits are inadequate to properly compensate the injuries sustained by the claimant.
Regardless of Insurance – Regardless of Fault
Whether or not the other driver has insurance – whether or not they were at fault – after receiving medical attention the most important thing to do following a car accident is to get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney familiar with car accident cases. That’s us! We are Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe, and Fein, P.C., and we want to help you.
You never know which way blame is going to go or what losses will be covered until you speak to a knowledgeable legal representative. Don’t sell yourself short.