In Massachusetts, uninsured motorist coverage is required by law. This requirement is fitting because this type of coverage can be extremely valuable in situations where the other driver does not have coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage is not required, but it provides additional protections for drivers. If you do not already have both of these types of coverage, it is a good idea to make some changes to your insurance coverage.
What Happens When Another Driver Does Not Have Insurance?
Although every driver is required by law to carry insurance, some do not. They may not have the funds to purchase it, or they may not realize that their coverage has lapsed. Either way, when you are involved in an accident with someone that does not have insurance, paying for your medical care and related costs looks very different compared to an accident with someone who has the necessary full coverage.
Normally, you would speak to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, when someone does not have insurance, you could sue the driver him or herself. Unfortunately, when the driver does not have any insurance, that often means they also do not have the funds to pay for the damage that they have caused.
If you do not have uninsured or underinsured coverage, you may be on your own to foot the medical bills after your accident. In serious accidents, medical costs can add up quickly, and they can be debilitating.
How Does an Uninsured or Underinsured Claim Work?
When you have uninsured or underinsured motorist’s insurance, you can turn to your own insurance company for coverage. Your claim can be for the full amount of your underinsured coverage.
If you think that you have been involved in an accident with someone that does not have enough or proper insurance coverage, you should report it to your own insurance company as soon as possible. Some policies require that you make a claim within a certain amount of time, sometimes in as few as 30 days.
You may not be able to discern whether someone has insurance right away. If the other driver does not produce insurance information or indicates that he or she does not have insurance, you need to speak to your insurance company immediately.
Generally speaking, the claim will progress just as if it was against someone else’s insurance company. There will be an investigation into your medical records, treatment, and injuries. There may also be depositions of witnesses and an inquiry into the police records and facts of the situation.
However, if you cannot agree to a settlement number, there may be a problem because you cannot actually sue your own insurance company. Nonetheless, you can enter a binding arbitration process, which is much more informal compared to a traditional trial. It is in front of an arbitrator or a panel of three arbitrators, which act like judges. Unlike regular court proceedings, there are very limited rights to appeal, and you may end up stuck with whatever result you receive.
Even when you are working with your own insurance company, it is still a good idea to have an experienced Massachusetts car accident lawyer to help with your claim. Call Jim Glaser Law at 888-801-7398 for legal help.