Uninsured or Under-Insured Motorist Claims

The purpose of Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) is to pay for your medical bills, property damage expenses, wage loss, miscellaneous expenses, and  related pain & suffering in the event the at-fault party in your car accident case does not carry any automobile liability insurance. Under-Insured Motorist Coverage (UIM) gives you the opportunity to be compensated for the difference between the at-fault party's insurance limits and your own UIM coverage, if the at-fault party has lower limits than your own UIM coverage. For example, if the defendant has a $15,000 per person/$30,000.00 per accident policy and you have a $100,000.00 per person/$300,000.00 per accident  policy, you could collect the difference, or $85,000 per person in new money. Note- some exceptions may apply.       

In a situation like that, you may of course choose to sue the at-fault driver/owner. Perhaps they are independently wealthy and can simply write a check to cover your bills and expenses. This is pretty unlikely, since people who choose not to carry liability insurance or only have minimal coverage are rarely sitting on substantial assets. As the saying goes, "you can't get blood from a stone", so your better course of action is probably to make a claim under the UM/UIM provision of your own auto policy.

Chances are, you will not know on the date of the accident whether the at-fault party has liability insurance or in what amount. If the police investigate the accident, they will inquire into the existence of the insurance coverage details for every driver/owner involved. However, believe it or not, people lie. If the at-fault driver/owner does not have coverage, the police will likely inform you of this but if they provide details for cancelled or fraudulent insurance, your life just got a lot more complicated. 

If the police do not investigate your accident (sometimes they do not), you should still exchange insurance information with the other driver. Make sure you photograph the damage to any involved vehicles, the other driver/owner, their driver's license, their license plate and VIN number, as well as their insurance card. lf the other driver/owner confesses a lack of insurance coverage, that is your cue to immediately contact attorney John Christopher Maples to  open a UM/UIM claim on your behalf. At this point, your insurance company will "stand in the shoes" of the defendant. Anything you say may be used against you! That means your insurance company has all the defenses that were available to the defendant so DO NOT TALK TO ANY INSURANCE COMPANY WITHOUT  LEGAL REPRESENTATION.