Protecting People Injured by Uninsured Motorists
If you are injured in a motor vehicle collision, and the party at fault does not have insurance, or the insurance is not sufficient to compensate you for your physical injuries and monetary losses, you may be able to obtain uninsured (UM)/underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage. It is a mandatory type of vehicle insurance in Connecticut.
With this coverage, you can make a claim against your own insurance company for harm and losses suffered in a car accident. At Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney in Bridgeport, our attorneys will help you explore all of your options to cover the cost of your medical care and other damages.
Cover Your Bases and Obtain the Right Coverage
If you don’t have enough UM/UIM coverage, you may be personally responsible for your medical bills and may not be compensated for your lost wages and physical injuries.
Consider this story of Connie and Lynn: They were injured in a three-car chain collision on I-95. The person who caused the accident only had minimal insurance coverage: $20,000 per person, but no more than $40,000 per incident.
Connie, who was the driver, had badly injured her shoulder. Her medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering far exceeded the at-fault party’s $20,000. She didn’t purchase any additional underinsured motorist coverage beyond the minimal $20,000/$40,000 coverage, so she couldn’t recover any additional compensation. Lynn, a passenger in Connie’s car, had injured her back. She had purchased $300,000 in underinsured motorist coverage as part of her own car insurance. She could, therefore, obtain additional compensation from her own insurer, even though she was a passenger in someone else’s vehicle.
Check Your Insurance Coverage and Increase It if Necessary
It is very important to make sure that you and your family have adequate uninsured and underinsured coverage. People are often surprised to learn that umbrella and excess policies do not typically cover these types of situations. You may wish to increase the amount of your liability insurance, so that you can buy a matching amount of UM/UIM coverage.
There are other ways to increase your UM/UIM coverage: double UM and conversion coverage. Double UM increases your coverage to twice the amount of your liability coverage; conversion coverage enables you to collect the full amount of the uninsured motorist coverage purchase, regardless of the amount you may have already recovered from the at-fault party.
We Are Here to Help. Contact Our Firm Today.
Do not lose hope just because the person who hit you does not have insurance coverage. Call 203-212-9075 or contact us online to discuss your case and learn more about how we fight for families in Bridgeport and across Connecticut.
Auto Accident Frequently Asked Questions
What is a personal injury attorney?
A. A personal injury attorney represents victims and their families who have been injured due to someone’s negligence or reckless actions. A personal injury attorney can help you find justice after an accident by pursuing compensation to help pay for your medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering and damages depending on your case.
When should you contact a lawyer after a car accident?
A. You should call a lawyer before you speak to the insurance company. An attorney can protect your rights by collecting evidence, evaluating all options for recovery and negotiating with the insurance company to maximize the compensation in your case.
When should you hire an attorney after an accident?
A. Hiring an attorney is a big decision, especially after you have been injured. However, it is one that should be made as soon as possible so your right to file a claim is protected.
What are your rights after a car accident?
A. You have the right to pursue a legal claim against the driver responsible for the accident. To protect yourself, do not admit fault after an accident. You also do not need to make statements to the insurance company or sign any settlement agreements without consulting a lawyer first. Speaking to a lawyer can help you protect your right to file a lawsuit after an accident.
How do I know if I have the proper auto insurance?
Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney repeatedly reminds and educates our clients regarding the importance of having appropriate auto insurance coverage. Over and over again, we see clients who are left unprotected with inadequate insurance. Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney would like to share with you the seven do’s and don’ts for selecting the best auto insurance protection for your family.
1. DO understand your policy. Can you answer the following questions?
1. What is the amount of my bodily injury/liability (BI) coverage?
2. What is the amount of my uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage?
3. What can I do to obtain conversion coverage or double UM?
2. DO increase your UM/UIM coverage, if possible.
We always hear people tell us that they have purchased umbrella insurance coverage, yet they do not know their UM/UIM limits. While umbrella, excess and BI coverage protect you if you cause an accident, they afford no protection if an uninsured or underinsured motorist injures you. The only way to protect yourself is to increase your UM/UIM coverage and request double coverage. Example: If you have $300,000 BI and $300,000 UM, request double UM coverage and increase your UM limits to $600,000.
3. DO purchase underinsured motorist conversion (UIMC) coverage.
UIMC coverage guarantees that you and your family will be afforded the full extent of the coverage you purchased, no matter how much is recovered from the driver who caused the collision. Otherwise, the amount that you receive from the other driver will be deducted from your coverage. Example: At-fault driver pays out to injured person his $20,000 limited policy. Injured person has limited $50,000 without conversion. Injured person can only make claim for remaining $30,000 in coverage (50,000-20,000 = 30,000). With conversion coverage, injured person can make a claim for $50,000. If the injured person had double UM, he will have $100,000 of coverage in addition to the $20,000 received.
4. DON’T be cheap – be smart.
A few dollars saved can result in inadequate coverage, which basically is no coverage at all. Although the law only requires limits of $20,000 worth of coverage per person and $40,000 worth of coverage per accident, such limits are woefully insufficient to cover the costs resulting from serious injury. Remember to purchase the maximum amount of insurance that you can afford as it is money well spent.
5. DON’T “write down” your UM/UIM motorist coverage.
Always reject any offer to reduce your UM/UIM coverage to below the amount of your BI coverage.
6. DON’T be left without medical coverage.
The law no longer requires you to purchase no fault or medical benefit coverage. However, if you do not have health insurance coverage, you should still purchase this optional coverage in order to protect yourself. If you do have health insurance, the premium for this coverage may be better spent increasing your UM/UIM limits.
7. DON’T think “It won’t happen to me.”
Unfortunately, Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney has seen many situations where clients have been injured by uninsured or underinsured drivers and these clients have had inadequate UM/UIM coverage. Hopefully, you will never need it, but be smart and protect yourself.