If you were injured in an automobile accident in Pennsylvania, there is a 10% chance the person who caused the accident carries no automobile liability insurance. In Pennsylvania, although all licensed drivers are required to carry liability insurance, not every driver complies — or they just carry the bare insurance minimum. In the event of a “hit and run” accident, you might not locate the driver, much less the driver’s insurer. Is there some way to protect against these situations in advance?
You can protect yourself ahead of time against an uninsured motorist (UM) by purchasing uninsured motorist coverage (UMC). UMC provides a source of recovery in situations where a negligent driver’s insurance coverage cannot fully compensate you.
It is not mandatory for you to purchase UMC in Pennsylvania, but it is good to have, even if it costs a bit more. It is mandatory for your insurance company to provide the option. Without UMC, you might not be able to recover sufficient damages for your pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost income. Even if you successfully obtain a judgment against a driver that hurt you, it is very unlikely you will recover these monies directly. Uninsured motorists usually have few assets of value.
Even if the responsible party has insurance, it may be insufficient to pay your damages. Underinsuance coverage, rather than uninsured coverage, will protect you from this type of harm. Underinsurance claims are made against your own insurance company, not the other party’s insurance. Generally, you start a lawsuit as plaintiff against the responsible party because, in the great majority of injury cases, the negligent party’s insurance settles. However, if in the course of litigation you find that the negligent party’s liability coverage is insufficient to cover your losses, your attorney will then make a UM claim.
For more than 50 years we have attended to all types of accident insurance needs, including those involving uninsured and underinsured motorists. Contact Rosenn Jenkins and Greenwald LLP for a free consultation.