If you have been injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, your chances of recovering compensation often rely in part on the other driver’s liability insurance coverage, as most people lack the funds to pay for injury damages out of pocket. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, this can raise questions and concerns regarding how you will recover the payments to which you are entitled. The good news is that in some cases, you can file a claim for compensation through your own car insurance policy if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
What Are Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverages?
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is a segment of your auto insurance policy that pays for expenses related to your injuries and injuries to your passengers if the at-fault driver in the accident does not have car insurance. Car insurance policies sold in Wisconsin are required by law to include uninsured motorist coverage with at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. UM coverage will only pay for damages related to bodily injury and not for any property or vehicle damage.
By comparison, underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage covers situations where the at-fault driver has insurance, but you have suffered damages beyond the limits of the driver’s liability coverage. Wisconsin car insurance providers may offer underinsured motorist coverage, but customers are permitted to reject UIM coverage. If a policy does include UIM coverage, the minimum coverage amount is $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident. If you have UIM coverage, it will pay the difference between the at-fault party’s bodily injury liability maximum and the limits of your UIM coverage.
When Should I Make an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim?
After a car accident for which you believe another driver is at fault, you should do your best to identify the driver and obtain his or her contact and insurance information. If the driver has insurance or fairly substantial assets, you have a chance of obtaining compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. You should keep records of any medical treatment you receive and gather evidence from the accident that demonstrates the other driver’s negligence, which can be used in settlement negotiations or a trial.
However, a personal injury lawsuit is not always the best option for full compensation. You might consider filing an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim if:
- You find that the driver lacks insurance altogether.
- Your damages are serious and costly, and you find that the driver’s liability insurance will not fully cover them.
- The driver flees in a hit-and-run accident, and you cannot identify him or her.
Your attorney can advise you as to the option you should pursue. An uninsured or underinsured motorist claim still requires you to establish that another driver was responsible, so you may need your attorney’s assistance to demonstrate to your insurance provider that you have a legitimate claim.
Contact a Wisconsin Car Crash Attorney
At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., we help our clients collect compensation from both at-fault drivers and insurance companies, and we understand the different approaches required for each. We will make sure that you explore all possible options for compensation and recovery. Contact our experienced Green Bay personal injury lawyers by calling 920-739-7366 to schedule a free consultation.