What happens if the driver that hit you doesn’t have insurance? Or what if the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your losses? How do you cover expensive medical bills, car repairs, and lost income from the time you’ve had to take off work? There may be options available to you, and the best way to pursue compensation is to discuss your case with an experienced uninsured and underinsured accident attorney.
Attorney Tim Reed will carefully review your case and help you understand your options for obtaining the compensation you deserve. Contact the Reed Firm today to schedule your free case evaluation.
Minimum Liability Coverage in Little Rock, Arkansas & Issues With Underinsured or Uninsured Drivers
In Arkansas, all drivers are legally required to carry minimum amounts of auto insurance coverage. The minimum liability coverage ensures drivers can pay for at least a portion of the expenses related to the car accident. In Arkansas, the minimum limits of liability car insurance coverage are as follows:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident (two or more injured people)
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
You’d be surprised how many people drive without insurance. And many times, even if the other driver has insurance, the minimum amounts required by law are insufficient to cover the damages caused in an accident.
What Is an Uninsured Motorist Accident?
Drivers who do not have any insurance are considered “uninsured,” and if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you will have to look elsewhere for compensation. Though you can sue the uninsured driver, the driver likely will not have any assets, and you won’t be able to recover any compensation for your losses. That’s a blood-from-a-stone situation. Similarly, if you’re involved in a hit-and-run collision and can’t identify the other driver or his or her insurance company, then you can’t hold the other driver to account.
In both of those situations, you will need to seek another avenue for recovery. If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy, you can seek compensation through an uninsured motorist claim.
Recovering Compensation Through Uninsured Motorist Coverage
When making an uninsured motorist claim, you’ll file a claim with your insurance company. In that case, it is as though your insurance company provides coverage for the at-fault driver. Typically, if you have uninsured motorist coverage, it will be the same amount as your liability coverage, $25,000, though you can absolutely (and should) purchase coverage in higher amounts.
Tip of the day: Review your policy and make sure you have uninsured motorist coverage. If you don’t, contact your agent and add it. That’s the only way you can be sure to protect yourself and your family from uninsured motorists, and you’ll be surprised by how affordable it is.
What Is an Underinsured Motorist Accident?
Accidents involving underinsured motorists are different from those involving uninsured motorists. When the at-fault driver has insurance, but it’s not enough to cover the full extent of the damages that occurred due to the accident, that driver is considered “underinsured.” If you’re hit by an underinsured driver, you can be left with significant out-of-pocket expenses, even after the other driver’s insurance company pays.
In that case, if you have underinsured motorist coverage on your policy, you will need to seek additional or supplemental recovery by way of an underinsured motorist claim.
Recovering Compensation Through Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If the at-fault driver only has $25,000 of liability coverage, which is common, and your losses are more than that, then you will need additional coverage to take up the slack. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, then you can seek additional coverage from your insurance company.
For example, suppose you have $50,000 of underinsured motorist coverage, and another driver with only $25,000 in liability coverage hits you. The at-fault driver causes you injury, and your case is worth $75,000. In that case, you can recover $25,000 from the at-fault driver’s company, and then assert an underinsured motorist claim with your insurance company for the additional $50,000. That way you’re not in the hole.
Second tip of the day: Review your policy and make sure you have underinsured motorist coverage. If you don’t, contact your agent and add it. That’s the only way you can be sure to protect yourself and your family from underinsured motorists. Like uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage is generally very affordable.
Pursuing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against An Uninsured or Underinsured Driver May Not Be the Best Option
Failure to carry the required amount of liability insurance is a violation of Arkansas law. When drivers violate these insurance laws, they can incur fines and penalties, but that does little to help you. Why not just sue the other driver?
While you have a right to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit against an uninsured driver, doing so is generally not viable. When drivers don’t have any insurance coverage, it is likely that they don’t have enough assets or property to cover the damages caused in an auto accident. Even if you’re able to obtain a verdict against an uninsured individual, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to actually get paid.
Likewise, when the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your losses, it generally does no good to sue. In that case, it is unlikely the underinsured driver has any additional assets or property that might serve to cover your losses.
Determining Who Is At Fault For Your Injuries In An Uninsured or Underinsured Case
The first step in recovering compensation in any case is to consult with an attorney. An experienced attorney can review your case and determine who is at fault and what insurance coverage is available for you.
For example, perhaps multiple parties are at fault. In that case, it may not matter as much that one is uninsured. Or, perhaps you were hit by a driver while he or she was on the job. In that case, you can assert a claim against the at-fault driver’s employer. For example, if a company’s delivery driver negligently swerved into your lane and caused your injuries, his or her employer may be vicariously liable for the accident. Commercial companies are more likely to carry larger insurance policies and could be the best option for you to recover the compensation you need.
Finally, suppose a dangerous construction zone or a defective vehicle part contributed to the accident. In those types of cases, you may be able to pursue compensation from the construction company in charge of road construction or the company that manufactured or sold the defective part.
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Little Rock Uninsured or Underinsured Car Accident Attorney
Understanding how insurance policies work can be difficult for those that aren’t in the business. One thing is for sure. Your insurance company knows how insurance policies work, and if you want to make sure you’re getting a fair shake, you’ll need someone on your side with the same understanding, someone you can trust. Otherwise, you’ll be at the mercy of an insurance company that seeks primarily to protect its interests, not yours. Attorney Tim Reed will fully explain your options and protect your rights and interests. Contact the Reed Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more.