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What Are My Rights When Injured by an Uninsured Motorist?

Posted By Montee Law Firm, P.C. || 4-Jun-2018

When it comes to auto accidents and personal injury cases, injured victims have the right to seek financial compensation for their damages from the at-fault party. In most cases, this means an at-fault motorist who drove distracted or under the influence, ran a red light or was speeding, or was otherwise negligent in causing an accident and injuries. When filing a claim or lawsuits against a negligent motorist, a victim’s ability to recover damages – including their medical expenses, lost income, and other losses – is often hinged on whether or not an at-fault driver has adequate insurance. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Auto insurance is required by law for a reason – it ensures any damage or injuries caused by a driver can be paid for by the at-fault party, even if it means those funds come from a company from whom drivers purchase insurance coverage. Because individual drivers typically don’t have the means or financial resources to cover damages on their own, especially when injuries and damages are substantial, cases involving uninsured, underinsured, and even unknown drivers can create significant difficulties for victims in their fight for compensation.

Below, we discuss a few common scenarios involving a lack of insurance, and how drivers can protect their rights.

  • Uninsured Motorists – All drivers in the state of Missouri are required by law to purchase and maintain minimum liability coverage. However, many do not, and unfortunately put any victims they harm in motor vehicle accidents at risk of not being able to recover the compensation needed to cover their damages. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, exploring your options for a financial recovery becomes critical to easing the resulting burdens. This may involve filing claims with your own insurance company if you carry uninsured motorist coverage, or seeking compensation through claims filed against other defendants who may have caused or contributed to your wreck, such as another driver (if your accident involved multiple vehicles), a product manufacturer (if your wreck was caused in whole or in part by a defective product or auto part), and other potential liable parties. Our firm can help you explore where liability exists, and how to best approach the process of recovering your damages.
  • Underinsured Motorists – Even when drivers carry minimum liability coverage, it may not be enough to cover all of a victims damages, especially when their injuries are serious or catastrophic, and their damages far-reaching (such as significant lost wages or future expenses and losses). In this situation, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can be vital to making up the difference in recovering damages. Exploring liability for any other potential parties involved in the wreck, when possible, may also help alleviate gaps in coverage.
  • Hit-and-Run Accidents – Though hit-and-run accidents may not always involve uninsured motorists, they can pose similar challenges for victims in need of compensation. As such, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can become equally as important to protecting your rights after a hit-and-run accident, especially when a motorist cannot be located. In others, investigations and the help of attorneys may help find an at-fault driver. However, there isn’t any guarantee they’ll have the insurance or means to cover your damages, especially if they face prison time for fleeing the scene and any other crimes they may have committed.

The Importance of Protecting Yourself with UM / UIM Coverage

If there is anything to learn about protecting your rights when an at-fault driver has no insurance, limited insurance, or simply cannot be located, it is that uninsured and underinsured (UM / UIM) coverage is immensely important. When you purchase this additional coverage as part of your auto insurance, you provide yourself and any other victims who may be harmed in your wreck with a safety net that can make the difference when it matters most.

UM / UIM coverage is designed specifically to deal with the issues mentioned above. When you are harmed in such an accident, you can file a claim directly with your own insurance company, and compensation for your damages can be provided through this coverage. This is why our legal team and advocates across the board strongly recommend purchasing UM / UIM coverage. No one expects to be involved in an uninsured motorist accident or a hit-and-run accident, but having protections in place for when the unexpected happens can mean the difference between recovering your damages, or being on the hook for expenses and losses.

Discuss Your Case & Rights with a Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer

Uninsured, underinsured, and hit-and-run accidents make for challenging personal injury cases, which is why it becomes important to seek the counsel and support of proven attorneys. Our legal team at Montee Law Firm, P.C. is available to review your case to determine if you have available options for recovering some or all of your damages in these situations, and can discuss whether or not we’re able to help. To discuss your case personally with a Kansas City car accident lawyer from our firm, contact us today. Consultations are free and confidential, and offered on weekends, in homes, or at the hospital.

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