Uninsured (or underinsured) motorist coverage is insurance provided to cover an individual who has been involved in an accident with someone that either has no insurance or does not have adequate insurance to pay for the full amount of damages suffered. Jurisdictions often require that uninsured coverage be provided as a part of all motor vehicle insurance policies.
What makes a driver uninsured or underinsured? Obviously, someone driving without any auto insurance at all would be categorized as uninsured. However, an individual may still be considered uninsured if his or her plan does not allow for full coverage of the injuries for which he or she is legally responsible. Uninsured motorist coverage is intended to protect policyholders - and their passengers - who were injured by the fault of an uninsured individual. If it can be shown that the uninsured party is not at fault, uninsured/underinsured provisions of an insurance policy will not apply and the injured party's may not recover for their injuries under that theory.
If you or a loved one were injured in a motor vehicle accident and the at-fault driver does not have insurance, it is important to speak to a personal injury attorney in your area to answer your questions and discuss your legal options.
Persons Included in Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage provisions may differ from state to state. In most jurisdictions, the covered persons may include the insurance policy holder, family members who live in the same home as the insured, passengers in the vehicle when the accident occurs, pedestrians injured by the vehicle and/or the driver of the vehicle during the accident. Other jurisdictions may have coverage exclusions regarding the policyholder's family members, if the family members possess their own insurance policy. However, in these jurisdictions the insured's policy may not exclude family members in certain circumstances.
Likewise, state laws may determine if employees are covered under their employer's uninsured or underinsured policies. In some states, employees are covered by their employer's insurance policy if they are injured in a motor vehicle accident while in the business of the employer. This may mean driving their own automobile as a part of their job or at the direction of their employer; these state laws regard the employee's personal vehicle as engaged by the employer. However, according to other state statutes, employees injured while using their own vehicles will not be covered under their employer's corporate insurance policy, even if the employee is driving for business purposes. The fact that the employee was using his or her own automobile excludes that employee from the definition of the insured (corporate employer) that is covered by the insurance policy. To learn more about persons included and excluded by uninsured motorist coverage insurance policies, speak to an attorney in your state about your situation and the applicable laws.
Recovery for Your Injuries
Individuals covered by an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy may be compensated for their personal injuries, not injuries to personal property. The injuries suffered and costs incurred by the injured party may differ depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the severity of the injuries sustained. Some examples of recovery may include reimbursement for medical costs, future healthcare treatment costs, lost wages, loss of future income, pain and suffering, loss of companionship and (in some cases) wrongful death. Damages will differ based on the injuries and the laws in your state, please speak to a personal injury attorney to learn more about recovery for your injuries.