After a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed as you deal with injuries and the like. But what happens if the driver that hit you doesn’t have any insurance? If you have damage to your car, medical bills, or other expenses, you may be wondering what to do. Our Arkansas car accident attorney can review your case and help you determine your rights and options.
Driving Without Insurance Is Illegal in Arkansas
Arkansas law requires liability coverage for motor vehicles, which is intended to protect and cover fellow drivers, pedestrians, others’ property, etc. For example, if you negligently cause an accident and injure another person, your liability coverage will likely cover the injured person’s damages. In Arkansas, the minimum coverage a person must carry is $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident to cover injuries to two or more people, and $25,000 to cover damage to others’ property.
When you purchase liability insurance, the insurance company must also offer you the option to purchase uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage. You can add uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage together, or you can add only uninsured motorist coverage, but you cannot add underinsured motorist coverage without first adding uninsured motorist coverage. In other words, you must add uninsured motorist coverage before you can add underinsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Unfortunately, drivers may fail to carry insurance, or in some instances, their policies lapse. Sometimes a driver will hit someone and leave the scene. Drivers in each of these scenarios are considered “uninsured,” and you want to be sure to protect yourself and your family from uninsured drivers. That’s what uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is for.
If you have UM coverage and an uninsured driver causes you damages, then you can file a UM claim with your insurance company to help with your damages. And don’t fret, a UM claim with your insurance company won’t reflect poorly on you because UM claims are appropriate only when another person is at fault. You can seek compensation from your insurance company to the extent of the UM coverage you purchase, and typically, it doesn’t cost much to add UM coverage to your policy. It’s a great idea to do so.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage applies if the other driver is at fault and has insufficient insurance to cover all your injuries or damages. For example, suppose the at-fault driver has $25,000 of liability coverage but causes you bodily injury damages that exceed that amount. In that case, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is only required to pay $25,000 and does not have to pay you a penny more.
If you have UIM coverage, you can file a claim with your insurance company to cover any amounts the other person’s insurance does not cover, to the extent of the UIM coverage you purchase. As with a UM claim, a UIM claim will not reflect poorly on you, and it typically doesn’t cost much to add UIM coverage to your policy. Again, it is wise to do so.
What if I Don’t Have UM or UIM?
UM and UIM insurance coverages are two distinct types of coverage. It is essential to review your insurance policy to ensure you have sufficient coverage in the event you are in an accident. Although your insurance company must offer UM and UIM insurance, you may not have purchased those coverages because they are optional. But you can add these coverages to your current policy at any time, and you should do so before an accident happens.
Whether you’re hurt by an uninsured driver or an underinsured driver, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and get the compensation you deserve, whether that requires filing a claim or bringing a lawsuit.
Consult With an Attorney
If you are injured in a car accident by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you need to speak with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. Time is limited in Arkansas to bring a claim. For personal injury claims, generally, the statute of limitations is three years, though there can be exceptions. For UM and UIM claims the statute of limitations is typically longer. We understand the importance of promptly addressing your claim. Contact us today for a free consultation.