A bad driver’s automobile insurance company is required to pay for injuries caused by the bad driver. “Car accidents” include injuries caused by cars, motorcycles, semi-tractor/trailers, or any other motorized vehicle made for use on public roads.
Sometimes the bad driver has no insurance, or has too little insurance to fully take care of the injury victim. In those instances, the injured person can turn to the “uninsured motorist coverage” (UM) or “underinsured motorist coverage” (UIM) provisions of her own automobile insurance policy to compensate her for her losses. Both uninsured and underinsured policies also cover the passengers in the insured car. The passengers’ automobile insurance policies also provide the same or similar benefits. Determining which insurance policy is “primary” (and therefore pays first) can get very complicated. If you bring your insurance policy to the free interview we can help you understand the insurance available to cover your loss, after hearing the facts of your case.
Some types of crashes have special rules or are especially complex.
Below are a few of those types of crashes that we are experienced in handling.
If you were injured by a careless motorist while you were on foot – either walking somewhere or even just standing outside your car – you may be able to recover for your injuries. In this circumstance your own auto insurance policy will provide Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits while you wait to settle your claim against the bad driver. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will eventually repay your insurance company for these PIP benefits. If you do not have auto insurance, but live in the same household with a family member who has auto insurance, you may have coverage under that policy. If you were injured as a pedestrian you may wish to contact us for a free interview to learn about your rights.
Uninsured & Underinsured
Sometimes when a crash happens, the bad driver who caused it does not carry insurance, or not enough insurance. When that happens, if you have been injured, you will need to make a claim against your own insurance, even if you were not at fault. This is because when you pay your insurance premiums, you are paying for Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage in addition to all the other coverage you have on your car, truck, or SUV.
Making a uninsured or underinsured claim under your policy will not cause your rates to go up, and will not cause you to lose your insurance coverage. We ask our clients to let us know if either of those things ever happen in response to an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, and it has never happened. Our office has handled thousands of claims over the years.
Importantly, even if the other driver’s insurance company is offering you its policy limits, you will still have an underinsured motorist claim against your own policy. It is also possible that an attorney may be able to find more policies to cover your injuries. It is worth the call, since the initial consult is free and we will be able to tell you whether we think you need an attorney or not, and why. If we do not think you need us, we will tell that too.
Hit & Run
Sometimes the driver of a car will hit someone and then speed off, hoping not to be caught. The victim may be in another car, or on a bike, or just walking down the street. Sometimes the bad driver is never caught. If you have been the victim of a hit and run driver, it is critical that you report the incident to the police within 72 hours. If you can provide sufficient evidence that a hit and run driver caused your injuries, and if you have reported the incident to the police within 72 hours, then your own insurance company must cover your losses under the “phantom vehicle” provision of your insurance policy. Be certain to obtain names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses who saw the accident, and provide that information to the police. Photographs of the scene of the accident and of any property damage will also help establish your hit and run claim.
If the hit and run victim is a member of your household, your auto insurance will also cover them. We can help you understand your rights under your own insurance policy.
Drunk or Impaired Drivers
Unfortunately impaired drivers injure a lot of people every day. The damage they inflict on families and our communities is enormous. Some claims involving a drunk driver can become complicated and have very short deadlines. Sometimes there are claims against people other than just the drunk or impaired driver. These types of claims are called “dram shop claims.”
For example, if a bar over served a visibly intoxicated driver who then gets behind the wheel, you may be able to make a claim against the bar, but you have a very limited time to put the bar on notice that you intend to bring a claim. Many times this investigation needs to happen quickly.
If you have questions after being hit by an impaired driver—whether it be alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, or street drugs, we can talk with you about your options and deadlines.
Commercial Truck Accidents
Commercial trucking accidents are especially frightening because of the sheer size and weight of these massive semi-tractor/trailers and other commercial trucking vehicles.
Because multiple insurance policies may be involved, trucking accidents can become complex quickly. The truck may be insured by one company, the trailer by another company, and the cargo by a third company. Knowing precisely how you were hurt is the key to identify the correct insurance carrier. Vital evidence must be found and preserved. Because of the potential of especially serious injuries, commercial trucking companies must maintain much higher insurance limits than private car owners. Because identifying the right insurance companies is very important and commercial shipping business relationships can be complex, you should contact an attorney if you have been seriously harmed in a trucking accident. Some of the evidence will disappear quickly and if you’re talking to the wrong company, or sue the wrong company, and the deadline passes, you will lose your claim.
Motorcycle accidents often involve very serious injuries because the rider has little protection against cars and stationary objects like trees, barriers, light poles, and even the highway itself.
Insurance coverage for motorcycle injuries is similar to coverage for regular automobiles, except that PIP coverage is not required on motorcycle policies (although some insurance companies offer it at an extra cost). Because PIP is not required on motorcycle insurance policies, motorcycle injury victims are sometimes left with huge unpaid medical expenses, unless they have health insurance. You can still make a claim against the bad driver for your injuries, lost wages and your medical bills.
If you have been seriously injured while operating a motorcycle, contact us for a free interview to understand your rights.
Let Us Help You
If you have been injured and you are not sure what steps to take next, call us. We can help.