What to Do in an Accident With an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist
In most states, including Utah, motorists are required to carry liability coverage on their automobiles, and if the automobile is financed, most banks and other lenders require that collision insurance is carried as well. However, the reality is that what people are required to do by law and what they actually do are two different things.
In fact, around 10% of Utah motorists do not have insurance coverage, and an even larger percentage are underinsured, and do not have the limits necessary to cover an accident if they are involved in one and at fault
The answer to the above question lies in your own insurance policy. In Utah, you are not legally required to carry uninsured motorist insurance as part of your policy, but because there are so many uninsured drivers, it is a good idea to do so. The limits on this part of your policy should match the other limits in place in case you are at fault.
The time to talk about and learn about these limits is not when you have an accident, but when you sit down with your insurance agent to look at your policy. It is a good idea to have an annual insurance review with your agent in case circumstances and laws have changed.
What is the difference between an uninsured and underinsured motorist? An uninsured motorist has no auto insurance coverage.
An underinsured motorist has coverage, perhaps even the legally required policy, but does not have sufficient coverage to pay for all of your medical bills or damage to your vehicle, or maybe both.
In this case, the answer for how to pay your bills over what their insurance coverage will pay again is up to your insurance company. Usually underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage are a part of a package offered by your insurance company, but you need to be aware of the limits of that coverage, and the circumstances under which it applies.
The most important thing in dealing with uninsured drivers is that you get all the information you would in case of any other accident. Be sure you have their full name, phone number, physical address, and driver’s license number.
In this case it’s especially important to document the accident scene and to call law enforcement. Their report may be key if you need to file any legal action against the other driver. Police will also issue a citation to the other driver for not having insurance, another important piece of evidence in any case you might file.
Your insurance company will ensure that you get your vehicle repaired and any medical bills covered up to certain limits. In many cases, it is also pretty simple to determine who is at fault in an accident, and who will ultimately be responsible to pay for damages.
However, there is something called comparative fault in Utah, which says that you may be partly responsible for an accident instead of either driver being 100% responsible. This affects what percentage of damages the insurance company will pay for.
Does all this sound a bit complicated? When you have been in an accident, it’s common to feel overwhelmed and confused. One of the best ways to ensure that you get the help you need and all the compensation you are entitled to is to contact an accident or injury attorney. They will ensure that you are treated fairly in cases where additional legal action becomes necessary.