In Ohio, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle without a minimum amount of liability insurance. Ohio law requires that all drivers carry liability insurance coverage of at least $25,000. Nonetheless, hundreds of Ohio drivers who do not carry insurance get behind the wheel every day. When these drivers are involved in a car accident that causes personal injuries and other damages, the injured driver must turn to his or her Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage to receive full compensation.
What Is Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage?
If you were involved in a car accident with a driver who did not have insurance and you purchased Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM), your own insurance policy will pay to cover the damages.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) works like a backup insurance policy. Once your insurance company determines that the other driver did not have insurance, your UIM coverage will cover the claim and pay for any medical bills and property damage, up to the limits of your insurance coverage.
If you were involved in a car accident, the police probably came to the scene and asked the other driver for proof of insurance. If the driver was unable to prove that they were covered, the police will inform you of this fact. You may still choose to sue the at-fault driver. They may be wealthy and be able to cover your bills and expenses. But that’s unlikely. People who choose not to carry automobile insurance are often unable to pay your bills and expenses. It’s usually best to make a claim under your UIM coverage.
What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Underinsured Motorist (UM) Coverage is a little more complicated. It will pay your medical bills and property damage claim if the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for your loss. Underinsured motorist coverage fills a gap between your total expenses (medical bills, property damage, etc.) and the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
Suppose you are involved in a car accident and you incur $35,000 in medical bills. But suppose the at-fault driver has a state-minimum policy that only provides up to $25,000 in liability coverage. This leaves you with a $10,000 shortfall. Your underinsured motorist coverage will step in to pay the difference.
It takes time to determine whether the at-fault driver has adequate insurance. This fact will usually not become apparent until you and your lawyer have determined the extent of your injuries, including your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc., and the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage.
Making a Claim Under Your UM / UIM Insurance Coverage
If you make a claim under your UM or UIM coverage, your insurance company will investigate the claim including the extent of your injuries, the cost of your past and future medical treatment, any lost wages due to time off of work, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other economic and non-economic losses that you suffered as a result of the crash.
UM / UIM coverage is not required in Ohio and is an optional coverage that drivers may choose to decline when purchasing an auto insurance policy. However, UM / UIM insurance provides coverage when an uninsured or underinsured driver causes an accident, and in hit-and-run accidents where the at-fault driver cannot be identified.
Work With a Lawyer to Maximize Your Recovery on a UM / UIM Claim
Recovering financial compensation for injuries suffered in a car accident is an uphill battle. It is made even more difficult when the at-fault driver does not have insurance or is not adequately insured. Working with an experienced Ohio personal injury lawyer can help. At Robenalt Law, our lawyers know how to work with insurance companies to maximize your financial recovery after a car crash.
Someone who was injured in a car accident in Ohio generally has two years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and, if applicable, their own insurance company for UM/UIM benefits. Nonetheless, if you were hurt in a car accident, it is best to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help put together a settlement demand that shows all of the ways your life has been affected by a car accident and will work with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and your UM/UIM insurance carrier to negotiate a favorable settlement. If the insurance companies do not make a fair offer, your lawyer will file a lawsuit to protect your rights and prosecute your claim.
Getting a lawyer involved as early in the process as possible gives your lawyer a chance to fully investigate your case before discussing it with the insurance company, and increases the chances of a successful resolution. Remember - insurance companies - whether it’s the at-fault driver’s or your own - are interested in minimizing the amount they pay to settle a claim. A lawyer will work to ensure that you are fairly compensated for the injuries you sustained, your pain and suffering, the cost of past and future medical treatment, and any lost wages due to time spent away from work.
If you were involved in a car accident in Ohio, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side who will fight for the compensation you deserve. The personal injury lawyers at Robenalt Law are here to help. Learn why clients choose us, get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Call 216-233-7573, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete our online form.
Tom Robenalt started his litigation career at a large firm in Cleveland where he defended insurance companies and policy-holders against claims of negligence. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help people who were hurt in car accidents and their families obtain the compensation they deserve.
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