Underinsured motorist coverage (UIC) is designed to support drivers when the at-fault party in their accident is not carrying adequate insurance. This type of insurance should not be confused with uninsured motorist insurance (UM), which focuses on accidents involving motorists that are completely uninsured. UM also covers accidents involving hit and runs.
How does UIM Work?
UIM is not a required form of insurance in Ohio. The state only requires drivers to carry liability insurance, with the following limits:
- $25,000 in bodily injury per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
Remember, liability insurance does not cover your damages after an accident. Liability insurance coverage reimburses those hurt by the negligent behavior of another driver. It can only be provided by another driver’s insurer, not your own.
UIM kicks in when an at-fault driver’s liability coverage does not fully reimburse you for your losses. To secure UIM compensation, you will need to communicate with your insurer and ensure that UIM is part of your insurance plan. If you do not have UIM coverage, you cannot receive a UIM settlement from your insurer.
What About UM?
UM only applies to accidents involving hit and runs and uninsured drivers. You cannot receive UM unless the driver that caused your accident was not insured and/or fled the accident scene. Like UIM, it is a specific insurance plan. Just because you carry liability insurance does not mean that you automatically have UM or UIM. Speaking with your insurer or a car accident lawyer could help you better understand the limits of your insurance plan.
Why Should I Have UM and UIM Coverage?
The Insurance Information Institute reports that roughly 13% of drivers in Ohio do not have liability insurance. If you collide with one of these drivers and do not have UM, you could be out of luck. Your health insurance may not adequately cover your losses.
Similarly, UIM can protect you if the at-fault driver involved in your accident was not carrying enough liability insurance to cover your losses adequately. Ohio’s state minimums often are not enough to reimburse the expenses associated with a car accident. The National Safety Council reports that the average financial cost of a car accident involving injury is $29,200. If you include non-economic metrics, like pain and suffering, this number jumps to $345,000.
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Insurance Negotiations After a Car Accident
If your accident involves the following instances, you will likely need to deal with your insurance company to secure a settlement:
- A hit-and-run driver
- An uninsured or underinsured driver
In cases where the other driver carries insurance, your claim will likely involve their insurer. However, in either of the situations mentioned above, settlements usually include communicating with whoever provides your UM or UIM insurance plan.
Communicating with your insurer is usually less painful than dealing with the insurer of an at-fault party. However, your insurer might dispute the value of your claim or outright deny your claim.
During an insurance claim, you are entitled to legal representation. An Ohio car accident lawyer could manage insurance communications on your behalf and push back against unfair settlement offers.
What About Lawsuits?
Lawsuits present another potential solution to the challenge of uninsured motorists or hit and run accidents. However, lawsuits have several drawbacks, including:
- They are typically more time-consuming
- They may be more costly
- They can be adversarial
For these reasons, insurers and lawyers tend to avoid lawsuits whenever possible. However, in some cases, lawsuits are necessary. For example, a lawsuit may be your only option if you were not carrying UM insurance and were struck by a driver without insurance.
Car accidents that involve underinsured and uninsured motorists are complex. Speaking with a lawyer could assuage some of your concerns.
What Damages Can I Receive Compensation for After a Car Accident?
Car accident settlements can be pursued through several avenues, including insurance claims and lawsuits. Regardless of the avenue you choose, you can pursue two types of damages, economic and non-economic.
Economic damages cover the financial toll associated with your case. This includes:
- Lost wages
- Upfront medical expenses, like surgery or hospital stays
- Vehicle damage and other types of property damages
Non-economic damages, while more complicated, are equally as important. These damages can reimburse you for the emotional toll of your accident, covering:
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
- The loss of a loved one if your case involved a wrongful death
How Much Will I Receive?
Truthfully, there is no “average” amount that claimants receive. This is because the value of car accidents is contingent on several factors, including:
- The outcome of insurance negotiations or a lawsuit
- The type and severity of your injuries
- Other contextual factors
Speak With a Car Accident Lawyer from Our Firm for Help Today
Our car accident lawyers are familiar with cases involving UIM and UM insurance coverage. We know how challenging it is to be at the mercy of an uninsured or underinsured driver. We can advise you on your next steps and review your case during a free case evaluation.
We are committed to providing a seamless legal experience to our clients. We can review the evidence associated with your case and pursue the best settlement outcome possible. Call Bressman Law to get started whenever you are ready.