Uninsured and Underinsured Driver Accidents
In order to drive in Maryland, a driver has to meet a minimum level of insurance coverage. Drivers can elect for extra coverage over the minimum limits, which usually results in a higher insurance premium. The minimum coverage includes at least:
- $30,000 for bodily injury
- $60,000 coverage for two or more people
- $15,000 for property damages
Some drivers may be operating a vehicle on the road without any insurance coverage. This could occur when a driver is not able to get insurance due to accidents or drunk driving convictions. It could also include people who think they don't have enough money to pay for insurance. In some cases, a driver's insurance policy may have lapsed without them even realizing it. Whatever the reason, it is a violation to drive without insurance. However, that may not help a driver who is involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.
If police pull over an uninsured driver, they will keep the driver from immediately getting back on the road. The penalties for driving while uninsured include fines and penalties. The vehicle's license plates and registration may be suspended, and the vehicle may be impounded. Failing to respond to MVA insurance notifications may result in compounded fines and fees, resulting in collections. Providing false evidence of insurance is punishable by up to a year in prison.
Most drivers only have the very minimum level of insurance. This could be because they cannot afford to pay a higher insurance premium. In many cases, people don't realize how low the minimum level of coverage is. Drivers may not understand that it is easy for a car accident to exceed their limits of liability. When the insurance coverage does not cover the full cost of the accident, the at-fault driver may be liable for the excess damages.
Unlike uninsured drivers, underinsured drivers are generally in compliance with the insurance limits for driving on Maryland roads. They are not breaking the law. In the case of a minor fender bender or low-speed collision, their minimum level of insurance may be enough to cover property damage and any personal injury damages. However, when a more serious accident is involved, their limited insurance can be exhausted, which then makes them an underinsured driver.
Uninsured or Underinsured Driver Insurance Coverage
Drivers who are concerned about getting into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver should look getting uninsured or underinsured driver coverage from their car insurance company. This offers some protection in the event that a driver's damages exceed the coverage of the at-fault driver.
An Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may need to contact the police. You may need to call the police after an accident anyway. However, some drivers decide to settle the accident without getting the insurance companies involved. In an accident with an uninsured driver, you should not take the chance that the uninsured driver will pay you for your damages, and make sure to get an accident report that identifies the driver and the fact that they don't have liability coverage.
Car accidents can easily exceed the minimum levels of a driver's liability coverage. For example, an accident involving death, or permanent injury to a child can quickly surpass the minimum liability limits. Car accidents involving multiple injuries and multiple vehicles can also quickly add up to more than the at-fault driver's insurance coverage. Once the damages involved exceed the coverage limits, the driver who was at fault for the accident is liable for any excess damages. Unfortunately, many individuals do not have the financial resources to pay for damages out of their savings.
When a driver does not have insurance, they may be personally liable for the damages they caused. Unfortunately, many uninsured drivers also have limited financial resources. Even if an injured driver sued the uninsured driver for their accident, the uninsured driver may have no money to offer. However, there may be other ways to seek compensation after an accident.
If your damages exceed the limits of the at-fault driver's coverage, you can seek damages through filing a civil lawsuit. This may depend on whether the driver has enough money or property to pay for your injuries. However, in some cases, there may be another way to get compensated for your injuries. For example, if the driver that caused the accident was working at the time, then their employer may be liable for the employee's accident. Talk to your Maryland vehicle accident attorneys to evaluate your options in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Maryland Uninsured or Underinsured Accident Attorneys
If you were injured in an accident with an uninsured driver or an underinsured driver, contact the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian to get the help you need. We will deal with the insurance companies and other drivers so you can focus on recovery. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Our experienced attorneys have years of experience handling personal injury and car accident cases throughout Maryland. Contact our office today for a free consultation.