If you were injured in a crash caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may be able to get money from your insurance company.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance Claim
If you live in a state that requires uninsured motorist coverage (UM), like Minnesota, you will be able to make a claim under your policy. Your company pays when the other driver doesn’t have any insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage pays for many (but not all) of the things that the other person’s policy would have paid if it existed. Check your policy. Uninsured motorist insurance often covers the following:
- Medical bills and wage loss
- Pain, suffering and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Loss of future earning capacity.
There are some things that are not covered, including:
- Damage to your car (but you may also have collision coverage that does pay for property damage, less your deductible)
- Punitive damages.
Uninsured motorist coverage is not a gift or present from your company. You already paid a premium for it, so don’t think you’re taking “advantage” of your insurance company because you have to make a uninsured motorist claim. You also don’t have to worry that your premium will go up if you make a uninsured motorist claim; most states prohibit premium increases if the accident wasn’t your fault.
Underinsured Motorist Claims in Minnesota
Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) applies when the person who caused your accident has insurance but the limits aren’t high enough to fully compensate you for your losses. Here’s an example: Let’s say the person who ran into you had insurance that pays only $25,000 for each person injured in an accident and your losses are worth $100,000. If you have UIM coverage, you will be able to collect the other person’s $25,000 and then look to your underinsured motorist coverage for the remainder of your damages.
Even if this coverage is available, each state has different rules about the way it works. For example, some states allow you to “add on” the full limit to the other person’s insurance limit allowing you, in the example above, to collect $125,000. Other states have “difference in limits” rules that require subtraction of the other person’s limits, resulting in a maximum benefit of only $100,000.
States also have different rules about the way these claims are made. Some require claims to be made in court; others allow them to be resolved through arbitration.
Do I Need an Accident Attorney?
If you decide to make these claims, we strongly recommend that you find an attorney with experience. You can be sure that the insurer has a number of people who are already working on ways to reduce or deny your claim. A good attorney will keep these people in line. Any wrong move, and the company may be faced with a lawsuit or mandatory arbitration, which is often required with these policies. Many of these cases involve “breach of contract” and bad faith on the part of an insurer. For information about this, please read: “What if my life or auto insurance claim is denied?”
For additional information, please see the following: