Roughly one out of every 7 drivers in Pennsylvania is uninsured. This is a rather alarming fact. Fortunately, Pennsylvania law requires automobile insurance companies to at least offer uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits to drivers. Of course, you are not required to purchase such coverage, however, our Philadelphia car accident lawyers highly recommend that you do so in order to fully protect you and your family in the event that you are involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
What Are Uninsured Motorist Benefits?
Uninsured motorist benefits refers to additional insurance coverage purchased from your car insurance company that applies in the event that you are injured as a result of the negligence of an uninsured or unidentified driver. For example, if you are the victim of a hit and run accident, you would be able to pursue your own insurance carrier if you purchased uninsured motorist benefits up to the amount of coverage purchased.
What Are Underinsured Motorist Benefits?
Underinsured motorist benefits refers to additional coverage purchased from your car insurance company that applies in the event that you are hurt as a result of a car accident but the driver who is at fault does not have enough insurance to adequately compensate you for your injuries.
For example, if you are injured and your case is determined to be worth $75,000 but the other driver only had $15,000 in liability coverage, you would be able to pursue a claim for the amount that the other driver was “underinsured” provided you have such coverage available under your insurance policy. In this example, the other driver would be underinsured by $60,000, so if you had enough available coverage you could recover the additional $60,000 from your insurance company.
How Long Do I Have To Assert A Claim For Underinsured Or Uninsured Motorist Benefits?
Unlike a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent driver, which must be filed within 2 years of the date of your accident, a claim for underinsured or uninsured motorist benefits is deemed contractual in nature. Therefore, the 2 year statute of limitations does not apply. Instead, you have 4 years from the date that the insurer either denies coverage or informs you that there is a disagreement over coverage and/or the amount it will pay to file a lawsuit seeking underinsured or uninsured motorist benefits.
What Do I Need To Prove In Order To Recover Uninsured Motorist Benefits?
In order to recover uninsured motorist benefits, you must prove that someone else was at fault in causing your car accident; that the individual at fault either did not have insurance or cannot be identified; and you must prove the value of your case. Of course, you must also prove that uninsured motorist coverage is available to you either through your own policy or another applicable insurance policy.
What Do I Need To Prove In Order To Receive Underinsured Motorist Benefits?
Similar to uninsured motorist benefits, in order to receive underinsured motorist benefits you must prove that someone else was at fault for your accident; that the individual at fault does not have adequate insurance coverage or resources to adequately compensate you for the value of your claim; and you must prove how much your case is worth. You also need to demonstrate that you qualify for such benefits either through your own insurance policy or another applicable policy.
I Was Involved In A Car Accident While In Someone Else’s Vehicle. Whose Insurance Applies?
Unlike the case with medical benefits following a car accident, your own insurance company is not the first company we look to for coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits. Instead, the first insurance company we look to for coverage under the law is the insurance company providing coverage for the vehicle you were in at the time of the car accident.
The next place we would look is any other policy covering a car that was not involved in the accident but which you were an insured. Even if you have uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits available under your own policy, you must always seek benefits initially from the insurance company insuring the car you were in at the time of the crash, if it was not your car of course.
The law regarding underinsured and uninsured motorist benefits in Pennsylvania is constantly changing and evolving. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side to explain things to you and make sure that the necessary steps are taken so that you may receive the benefits to which you are entitled is essential. Contact of our experienced car accident lawyers today for a free consultation or call (215) 875-7030.