You're driving along safely, slowing down for a red light, when you hear a sudden crash and feel a sudden jolt. You've been hit by another driver. You and the other driver get out to assess the damage, but when you ask for their insurance information, they tell you that they don't have automotive insurance. Alternatively, when you get out to assess the damage, you see the other driver drive away, disappearing before you can call the police to describe the car. Now what do you do? Your car is ruined, your back is aching, and you know that you will need to pay for medical treatment and car repairs out of pocket.
If you have uninsured motorist insurance, however, all this could be avoided. This type of insurance policy is an additional coverage you can add on top of your current auto insurance policy. In Rhode Island, there are minimum amounts of insurance coverage all drivers must purchase. These minimums are:
- $25,000 of bodily injury coverage for one injury or death
- $50,000 of bodily injury coverage for two injuries or deaths
- $25,000 of property damage coverage for one accident
These minimum policy amounts don't protect you from uninsured motorists, however. If you've been injured by a motorist without insurance or without adequate insurance, you may be left to pay your own expenses.
WHAT IS UNDERINSURED MOTORIST INSURANCE?
Like other add-on policies, uninsured motorist insurance adds protection against a specific type of event—specifically, accidents involving drivers without appropriate insurance. Many drivers choose not to add this important policy to their coverage, but the results could be disastrous. Uninsured motorist coverage isn't only for accidents where the at-fault motorist doesn't have any insurance. It can also apply in situations like:
- Your injuries or property damages exceed the limits of the at-fault driver's insurance policies, leaving you responsible for expenses beyond what their insurance will pay.
- The at-fault driver left the accident scene, meaning that you have no idea if there is an insurance policy that you could file a claim against.
As you can see, uninsured motorist coverage can protect you in a multitude of common accidents.
WHY DO I NEED UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE?
Rhode Island is one of the leading states in uninsured motorists, with about 17% of drivers in the state driving without insurance. This means that nearly 1 in 5 drivers on the road doesn't have insurance. This number doesn't even account for the number of drivers who carry the minimum insurance amount or for those who are hit-and-run drivers. The odds of becoming involved in an accident where insurance coverage is an issue are rather high.
Without uninsured motorist insurance, you may be left with few options after an accident. You may choose to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, if possible, but it may prove to be difficult to recover any meaningful amount of compensation. If you don't know who the driver was, this avenue will be closed to you. If you believe the accident was caused by a fault in the road's maintenance or its design, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the government organization responsible for the road. Injury claims against government entities, however, are difficult and must meet very specific requirements.
This is why it is critical to have an underinsured motorist insurance policy. This coverage is vital to getting the compensation you need to pay for repairs and medical treatment—regardless of what the other party is able to pay. An uninsured motorist claim works like any other auto accident claim, but rather than filing a claim against the other driver's insurance company, you'll file the claim against your own uninsured motorist policy. This will allow you to still receive the compensation you deserve, even when the other driver's policy isn't available.
Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident involving an uninsured motorist? Don't hesitate to call our Rhode Island cat accident attorneys as soon as possible. At Inman &Tourgee, we're committed to protecting your best interests during this difficult time. With our experience and knowledge on your side, you can focus on your recovery while we handle your case. Schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your legal options today.