Uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) is an optional coverage in Ohio. However, all drivers are required to purchase and maintain liability coverage on their vehicles. Ohio mandatory insurance minimums are as follows:
- $25,000 per person injured in one accident
- $50,000 for all people injured in one accident
- $25,000 for property damage in one accident
Nonetheless, almost 13% of Ohio drivers do not carry liability insurance. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or a driver who only has state minimum coverage, you may be wondering if and how you can pay for the financial burden caused by your injuries and the property damage to your vehicle.
Fortunately, you have options. The personal injury lawyers at Robenalt Law can explain your options, negotiate with your insurance company, and, if necessary, represent you in court to obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Limitations of a Liability Only Insurance Policy
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or a driver who only has state minimum coverage, you may be wondering if and how you can pay for the financial burden caused by your injuries and the property damage to your vehicle. The personal injury lawyers at Robenalt Law can explain your options, negotiate with your insurance company, and, if necessary, represent you in court to obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries.
In theory, every driver should have liability coverage that will cover personal injuries and property damage caused to another driver in the event of a car accident. But we all know that theory rarely meets reality and that many Ohio drivers do not have insurance.
If you were involved in an automobile accident with an uninsured driver, your liability policy does not apply. A liability insurance policy only covers damage caused to other people’s cars. If you did not cause the accident and your vehicle was the one that sustained damage, your liability insurance policy will not provide coverage.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) is an optional coverage in Ohio. When you purchase an insurance policy, you have the choice to buy this additional coverage that applies when another driver hits you and that driver does not have insurance or does not have sufficient insurance to cover the loss.
If you purchased UM/UIM coverage, your insurance company will compensate you for your injuries and property damage, even if the other driver did not have insurance or lacked sufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate you.
UM/UIM coverage is particularly important if you suffered severe injuries in an auto accident that was caused by a driver who was uninsured. UM/UIM coverage gives you the option of pursuing a claim through your own insurance company to cover personal injuries, lost wages, and more.
Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim or an Underinsured Motorist Claim
The process for filing an uninsured motorist claim or an underinsured motorist claim is similar to filing a claim for a collision with an insured driver. Your lawyer will contact your insurance company to advise them that you are represented. He will prepare a demand package that sets forth the extent of your injuries and the financial losses you incurred due to the accident. Then your lawyer will try to negotiate a full and fair settlement of your claim.
If your lawyer cannot resolve the claim, he can file a lawsuit against the other driver and your insurance company to seek compensation for your injuries.
The process is similar for a claim involving an underinsured driver, except that before your insurance company agrees to extend coverage, your lawyer must first prove that your losses exceed the limits of the other driver’s insurance policy. The other driver’s insurance company must agree to pay you the limits of the negligent driver’s insurance policy, and you can pursue additional compensation through your insurance company, up to the limits of your policy.
Filing a Civil Lawsuit
You may still wish to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, when people drive without insurance, it is usually because they cannot afford an insurance policy. Even if you obtain a judgment against the at-fault driver, the chances of collecting on that judgment are slim. If you were involved in an automobile accident with an uninsured driver, seeking compensation from your own insurance carrier under your UM/UIM insurance policy is usually the surest way to recover compensation for your losses.
How Robenalt Law Can Help
Even though a claim under your UM/UIM policy is with your own insurance carrier, it is still wise to hire a lawyer to represent you. While your own insurance company owes you a duty of good faith and fair dealing, the insurance company is still in the business of making money and maximizing shareholder profits. One way they do this is by paying as little as possible to compensate you for your losses.
When you work with the experienced personal injury lawyers at Robenalt Law, we will guide you through the process, act as your advocate to maximize your financial compensation, and improve the likelihood of a successful resolution to your claim. In addition, by working with a lawyer you eliminate some of the stress that comes after any car accident. You will gain peace of mind knowing that your claim is being handled by a professional who knows Ohio personal injury law and will fight to protect your best interests.
If you were hurt in a car accident with an uninsured motorist or an underinsured motorist, Robenalt Law can help. We handle personal injury claims, including UM/UIM claims, on a contingency fee, which means you won’t pay us unless we recover money for you.
To learn more, contact Robenalt Law today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.
Robenalt Law is based in Cleveland and represents people throughout Ohio and across the country.
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.