It may never occur to you how many people drive without auto insurance until your vehicle collides with an uninsured motorist. When car accidents happen, you assume you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the driver does not have insurance or has inadequate insurance coverage, however, who pays for your injuries and the damages to your car? Do you pay out of your pocket?
The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can answer those questions and help you recover compensation for your injuries and damages after a wreck. Call us today at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free, no-obligation legal consultation with an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim lawyer in Knoxville.
Does My Auto Insurance Cover Uninsured Motorists?
Your insurance policy may or may not cover uninsured motorists. Policyholders have the option to reject Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM), even though Tennessee law requires auto insurers to offer this coverage. Some vehicle owners reject this coverage because they believe their rates will increase.
How Does Having UM/UIM Coverage Benefit Me?
UM coverage protects you when an uninsured driver hits your vehicle and causes injuries and property damage. Without UM coverage, you must pay for your own medical bills and car repairs. If you have UM coverage, we can help you file a claim with your insurance company to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses.
Typically, UM coverage not only protects you, but also covers any relatives who live with you and were riding in or driving the car at the time of your accident. UM coverage also protects you in hit-and-run accidents or if a vehicle strikes you while you are on foot.
UIM coverage protects you when a driver who causes an accident has liability limits lower than yours and cannot pay for your medical expenses and property damage. For example, if you are facing $50,000 in medical expenses due to the accident and the at-fault driver has only $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage, the driver’s insurance company would only pay you $25,000. If you have UIM coverage, your insurance company would pay the difference.
Why Do Some Motorists Drive Without Insurance?
While insurance companies provide UM/UIM as optional coverage, Tennessee’s Financial Responsibility Law mandates drivers carry auto insurance that covers injuries, death, and property damage resulting from accidents. Tennessee requires drivers to carry a minimum of:
- $25,000 for each injury or death;
- $50,000 for all injuries or deaths; and
- $15,000 for property damage for one accident.
Uninsured drivers who cannot provide proof of financial responsibility face a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $300 and the potential of having their vehicle towed. Upon conviction, drivers face suspension of their driver’s license.
Unfortunately, despite these serious consequences, many drivers still fail to carry adequate car insurance. This may be because they feel they cannot afford a policy. They could also have previous driving violations or a suspended license. Whatever the reason, you deserve fair compensation after a crash with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a UM/UIM Claim?
You can file your own claim with your insurer. However, while UM/UIM coverage may appear straightforward, complications often arise when negotiating settlements with insurance companies. Auto insurers—including your own—do not pay out money easily. Our knowledgeable and skillful lawyers can help take the pressure off of dealing with the insurance company off of your shoulders.
We serve as your legal representative when filing a claim with your insurance company or the underinsured driver’s insurance company. Auto insurers scrutinize claims to find reasons to either delay or deny a settlement or offer a low payout. We do not give them reasons to reject our clients’ claims. Instead, we provide evidence that proves the at-fault driver’s recklessness caused your accident.
If negotiations break down with the auto insurer, you have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit. Whether you file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, we protect your legal rights throughout the process.
How Do I Prove the Other Driver Caused the Accident?
We help you prove the at-fault driver’s negligence caused the accident. Based on Tennessee law, we prove the driver had a duty to you to drive carefully. However, the driver breached that duty and that breach caused you to suffer an injury. As a result of the driver’s negligence, you sustained injuries and property damage.
To further support your negligence claim, we may collect evidence to show the driver violated traffic laws and ordinances through such negligent actions as:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Driving without a valid driver’s license;
- Ignoring traffic signals and signs;
- Texting while driving;
- Talking on the phone while driving; and
We may also use police reports and eyewitness testimony to verify what caused your crash. We can also use photos of the crash scene, surveillance video footage, and the testimony of accident reconstruction experts to prove the other driver was at fault for the wreck.
How Much Is My Claim Worth?
We cannot give you a specific figure without talking with you about the details of your accidents and injuries. The amount of compensation you receive depends on the type of damages you suffered.
Generally, you can recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. We can also help you recover compensation for your emotional distress, pain and suffering, future medical costs, and long-term career impact. Our attorneys will fight for the full value of your accident-related losses.
Contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, Today.
You have one year from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. The sooner you decide to pursue a UM/UIM claim, the sooner we can begin building a strong personal injury case on your behalf.
Contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, at 865-546-1111 today for a legal consultation with one of our Knoxville attorneys. We will seek the compensation you need to recover from your crash.