Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Claims
As a car accident lawyer in Rhode Island for over two decades, Attorney David Tapalian often encounters clients whose car has been hit by an uninsured, or under-insured, driver. This means that the driver who caused the crash has no insurance at all, or not enough insurance, to cover the cost of the damage they caused. For those hurt in the collision, this can leave them in a dire financial situation. The injured may be left with unpaid medical bills that compound already difficult financial circumstances, and may not seek, or delay seeking, necessary medical treatment for fear of not being able to pay the bills. In addition, he or she may not have the money to pay for car repairs making it tough to get to work and provide for their family. This added emotional distress further complicates, and can have adverse effects on, their physical recovery.
If you or a loved one have been hurt in an accident caused by an uninsured, under-insured, or hit and run driver, there are options to consider when faced with a complicated situation like this. An experienced car accident attorney can help you explore ways to cover these costs with an uninsured or under-insured motorist claim in Rhode Island.Auto Insurance Requirements in RI
All Rhode Island drivers are required by law to carry auto insurance liability coverage. Typically, this consists of three main components: bodily injury coverage, property damage coverage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (frequently referred to as UM/UIM).Is UM/UIM Required in Rhode Island?
While they must have some type of bodily injury and property damage coverage, drivers in Rhode Island are not required to select the Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist portion as part of their auto insurance coverage- they may decline this option. Although this is an optional choice when selecting the motor vehicle insurance coverage that’s best for your needs, it is one that all motor vehicle operators should strongly consider for the myriad of benefits the protection can offer you not just behind the wheel as a driver, but also as a passenger, or pedestrian.
- Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is protection for you in the case you are hurt in an accident and the driver who hit you has no auto insurance- they are uninsured.
- Under-insured motorist (UIM) coverage, while similar, protects you in the event of an accident where the driver who hit you does in fact have an auto insurance policy, but its policy limits are not high enough to cover all of your expenses.
As a car accident lawyer, David Tapalian has helped countless clients file an uninsured or under-insured motorist claim in Rhode Island to seek compensation for expenses they incurred after being hit by a driver with no insurance, or not enough insurance. Getting hit by an uninsured driver or underinsured driver is scary, but fortunately if you carry these protection options on your insurance policy, the financial burden upon you and your family may be lightened and less stressful.Benefits of Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured, or underinsured, motor vehicle coverage can be extremely beneficial to both the policy owner and anyone they hurt, in the event of a car accident. This type of insurance comes into play in different motor vehicle accident situations.
For example, even if you don’t drive a car often but you walk, jog, or bike, uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle can be very beneficial to you in the event that you are hit as a pedestrian. If you are primarily a pedestrian or bicyclist, it’s even more important that you have this type of coverage because if you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, even while walking or riding a bike, these coverages could still apply to your benefit and allow you to recover your losses for property and personal injury claims. A qualified car accident attorney can help you navigate the complexities of filing an UM or UIM claim in Rhode Island.
Consider another scenario- if you are in an auto accident caused by another person and they are not insured, you could be out of luck for your property damage and personal injury claim. Even though this is a statutory requirement in Rhode Island, unfortunately it is extremely common to encounter accident victims hit by another person without insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage comes into play when someone else does not have motor vehicle insurance coverage. However, if you have purchased this type of insurance, you could still receive compensation for your bodily injury claim and or your property damage claim. This would involve filing a claim with your own auto insurance company. Your recovery would be limited by the value of your claim and the amount of UM coverage that you purchased. Top-rated car accident Attorney David Tapalian has processed countless UM and UIM claims for clients throughout his over 20 years of experience. People often have the misconception that since it’s their own insurance, the process will be simple, straightforward, and fair. Unfortunately, whether it’s your insurance or somebody else’s, insurance companies’ directive is to pay out as little as possible on any UIM or UM claim.How Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage Can Help You
As an injured auto accident victim: If you are involved in a crash where the at-fault driver who hit you is uninsured, you can be left with thousands of dollars of unpaid bills, not to mention a huge deal of stress. However, if you carry UM coverage, your own coverage may cover the losses that the uninsured driver’s insurance does not. This can alleviate the need for a costly lawsuit, but more importantly allow you to seek necessary medical treatment that you require, payment for medical bills, and repairs to your vehicle. A skilled car accident lawyer can help you to seek compensation from your own coverage with a Rhode Island Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist claim.
As a pedestrian: If you walk, jog, or bike to work, school, or just for leisure, UM and UIM coverage can help you. If you have this type of coverage and you are hit by a motorist as a pedestrian, an attorney can help you to access your own benefits with an UM/UIM claim, even though you were not driving a car.How Under-Insured Motorist (UIM) Coverage can Help You
Under insured motorist coverage is valuable in a situation where your property damage claim and/or personal injury claim is in excess of the motor vehicle insurance limits of the at fault driver. This is also a very common situation in Rhode Island, where many people are not carrying a sufficient amount of motor vehicle insurance. The statutory minimum for bodily injury coverage in Rhode Island is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. It’s easy to comprehend where that may not be enough to fully compensate an injured party for their personal injury claim.
An example of under insured motorist coverage, is when you have a claim for personal injury worth well over $100,000; but the tortfeasor, at fault party, only carries bodily injury liability insurance in the amount of $25,000. In this example, there would be a $75,000 deficit in bodily injury motor vehicle insurance. Were the injured person, who is not at-fault, to have under insured motorist coverage that could then be used to pay the balance of their personal injury claim. Like all insurance coverages, the more you pay in premiums often equates to the greater coverage you may acquire.
Keep in mind, the UIM company, your insurance company, does not make it easy to use the insurance that you paid for. There are multiple hurdles that need to be cleared in order to use your under-insured motorist coverage for an auto accident in Rhode Island. One of the many pitfalls that clients are not aware of is that you actually need your under-insured motorist claim carrier’s permission to settle with the at fault insurance company. If you do not obtain their written permission, you could forever be barred from using the insurance that you paid for. You also have an inherent duty to cooperate with your insurance company if you expect to use any available Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage. Cooperation can mean many different things, but it certainly means providing timely notice of the claim and answering and assisting with any potential investigation of the claim. Of course, this type of UIM claim is best done through an experienced car accident attorney in Rhode Island.Tapalian Law can Help You With Your Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim
At Tapalian Law, our goal is for you to achieve the maximum compensation for your car accident injury claim. As a personal injury law firm dealing with Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist claims in Rhode Island, our skilled team will use all available means to determine actual coverage for the person that hit you. We know that most people prefer to go through the motor vehicle insurance of the person who caused the accident, the at-fault driver’s, motor vehicle insurance. Often times even when it appears that there may not be any auto insurance for the person that hit you, we have been successful in locating an actual insurance policy. The police report, though important, is not the final determination of applicable insurance companies or coverage for either driver. At times, cases that appear as if there were insurance for the at-fault party turn into uninsured/underinsured motorist claims. If you have been injured in a car accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, call Tapalian Law for a free consultation. With offices in Providence RI, Warwick RI, and Seekonk MA, we are easily accessible to you by phone at 401-552-5000, or use our online contact form. Let us begin helping you today.