Uninsured vs. Underinsured Driver Accidents

November 24, 2023 Posted In Car Accidents

Uninsured and underinsured driver accidents present unique challenges for those seeking compensation for injuries and losses. Adequate insurance coverage is crucial in navigating the aftermath of such accidents and securing the compensation needed for recovery.

Uninsured vs. Underinsured Driver Accidents

Uninsured Driver Accidents

An uninsured driver accident occurs when a driver involved in a collision does not carry auto insurance. In such cases, recovering compensation directly from the at-fault driver’s insurance company is not an option. This can leave the injured party in a difficult position, wondering how to cover medical expenses, property damage, and other losses.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)

Despite the lack of insurance from the at-fault driver, injured individuals may explore alternative avenues for compensation. If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage as part of your own auto insurance policy, it is designed to step in and provide benefits when the at-fault party is uninsured. Additionally, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver might be an option, although the ability to collect damages depends on their financial situation.

Underinsured Driver Accidents

Underinsured driver accidents involve a driver with insurance, but the coverage is insufficient to fully compensate for the injuries and damages caused by the collision. In this situation, the at-fault driver’s insurance may cover a portion of the expenses, but it may fall short of meeting the actual costs incurred by the injured party.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)

If you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage as part of your own auto insurance policy, UIM can be used to help bridge the gap between the at-fault driver’s coverage and your actual expenses. However, you will be responsible for your deductible. 

Are Drivers Required to Carry UM/UIM Coverage?

UM/UIM coverage is not mandatory for drivers in California, but insurance companies are required to offer this coverage to policyholders. However, drivers have the option to reject UM/UIM coverage in writing if they choose not to include it in their insurance policy.

Given the potential risks associated with accidents involving uninsured or underinsured drivers, it is highly recommended that drivers purchase coverage. 

What To Do After an Accident With an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver

Dealing with a car accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver can be challenging, but taking certain steps can help protect your interests: 

  • Ensure Safety: Move to a safe location if possible, turn on hazard lights, and assess injuries. Call emergency services if needed.
  • Exchange Information: Exchange information with the other driver, even if they are uninsured or underinsured. Obtain their name, contact details, license plate number, and insurance information if they have it.
  • Gather Details: Collect information about the accident scene. Take photos of the vehicles, damage, and any relevant road signs. Note the time, date, and location.
  • Identify Witnesses: If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information. Their statements can be valuable when dealing with insurance claims or legal proceedings.
  • Contact Law Enforcement: Report the accident to the police and obtain a copy of the police report, which can be vital to your insurance claim. 
  • Seek Medical Attention: Call 911 if you need to be transported to the hospital, but even if injuries seem minor, seek medical attention as soon as you leave the scene. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and medical documentation is also crucial for insurance claims.
  • Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the accident to your insurance company. Provide them with the details and any documentation you have gathered. Go over your policy and specifically ask about UM/UIM coverage. 

Lastly, consult a Riverside uninsured motorist accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can provide guidance on legal options and help ensure you recover compensation. 

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