Drivers purchase car insurance to cover them and their property in the event that they are involved in a collision or another incident that damages their vehicle. The limits on these policies usually dictate how much compensation victims can recover for their injuries and property damage.
Some motorists purchase only the minimum limits, and there are even some who knowingly drive without insurance. Crashes involving these types of drivers can create numerous problems for victims who suffer severe injuries and the at-fault driver does not have the ability to pay for their losses.
If you were involved in a car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist in Bridgeport, Connecticut, you will want to make sure that you have legal representation for assistance in seeking all of the compensation you are entitled to from every source. Insurance companies are always looking to minimize the amounts they pay in these cases, and you may have a claim denied when it should be covered.
What to Do After an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist in Bridgeport
The first thing you should do after any motor vehicle crash is seek medical care. You should go to a hospital even if you do not at first think you were hurt. Some serious injuries may involve delayed symptoms.
Also make sure that you contact the local law enforcement agency to file a police report. You will want to exchange all relevant information such as driver’s license number and insurance information with the other drivers, if possible.
Try to take multiple pictures of everything involved in the accident and take photographs from several angles and distances. Make sure you also get contact info from anyone who witnessed your accident.
When you cannot take these steps yourself, see if a friend, family member, or someone on the scene can do this for you. Finally, make sure that you contact an attorney before you speak to any insurance company about your accident.
Auto Insurance Requirements in Bridgeport, Connecticut
The Connecticut Insurance Department states that the minimum automobile liability insurance required by law is $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per accident for property damage. The Insurance Department strongly urges drivers to purchase policies with higher limits. Many people do obtain higher limits simply for their own protection.
Some people may purchase the minimum policy requirements due to budget contraints. In other cases, individuals might not see a need to pay extra for additional coverage.
Insurance Coverage for Underinsured and Uninsured Motorists
Most insurance companies offer uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. UM and UIM vehicle coverage is established under Connecticut General Statute § 38a-336.
Under this law, the amount of UM and UIM coverage provided cannot be less than the minimum limits required under state law. Many drivers “stack” their coverage by combining coverage limits for multiple vehicles on a single policy.
What Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Cover?
UM provides coverage for people injured in accidents caused by uninsured drivers. The standard coverage is typically equal to your bodily injury liability coverage, but motorists can purchase additional coverage up to double their bodily injury liability coverage.
The minimum amount of UM and UIM coverage required by law is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. The only way a person can have lower coverage is through the completion of a written informed consent form.
What Does Underinsured Motorist Coverage Cover?
UIM coverage applies in cases in which a victim’s damages exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance limits. The UIM insurance covers other damages that could not be paid.
It is important to keep in mind that UIM coverage is not reduced by payments from another source, even the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. This means that if you had $150,000 of UIM coverage and were in an accident causing $200,000 in damages but the underinsured driver only had a limit of $100,000, you would collect $100,000 from your own insurance company and $100,000 from the underinsured driver’s insurer.
Why You Need a Lawyer to Help with a UM/UIM Claim
Even though you will usually file a UM or UIM claim with “your own” insurance company, all insurers are in the business of making money. This typically involves paying as little as possible to resolve every filed claim, even for their own customers.
An insurance company will typically assign a claims adjuster to investigate your claim. In many cases, an insurer may dispute the extent of the victims losses or seek other ways to minimize their payout.
You should avoid speaking to any insurance company, even your own, until you have legal representation. Always decline any offer to make a recorded statement about your accident, as even innocent recollections of these events can contain very damaging responses that hurt your chances of recovery.
Bridgeport Connecticut Uninsured Motorist Statute of Limitations
Connecticut General Statute § 38a-336(g)(1) provides that the statute of limitations an insurance company places on uninsured or underinsured motorist claims cannot be less than three years. The time limit can vary by policy.
The statutes also establish that the insured party can toll any applicable limitation period by notifying the insurer in writing of a claim for underinsured motorist benefits and commencing a lawsuit or demanding arbitration not more than 180 days from the date of exhaustion of the limits of liability under all applicable policies. Under Connecticut General Statute § 38a-336(g)(2), the statute of limitations cannot be less than one year when the insurance company for the tortfeasor denies coverage or becomes insolvent.
Did you suffer severe injuries or was your loved one killed in a car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver in Connecticut? Do not wait to get help from an attorney who understands Connecticut UM and UIM coverage.
Wocl Leydon has recovered millions of dollars for clients. Call us or contact us online to receive a free consultation.