Uninsured and Underinsured Driver Accidents
Thousands of motor vehicle accidents occur in Pennsylvania every year. While most crashes are resolved through the insurance companies of the drivers, there are occasionally motorists who either lack sufficient coverage or have no coverage altogether.
Many drivers in the Keystone State have specific policies that are intended to protect them in the event of such accidents. However, insurance companies can often be unwilling to provide their own customers with the full compensation they are entitled to and could possibly claim that their customers were even the ones who were at fault.
West Chester Lawyer Uninsured Accident Lawyer
If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by an underinsured or uninsured motorist, you should immediately reach out to Ciccarelli Law Offices for legal assistance. Our skilled auto accident attorneys work as a team and represent clients on a contingency basis so our clients do not pay us anything unless we get them a financial award.
We understand how insurance companies—even those that represent the injured drivers—will find any way possible to minimize the amounts paid to accident victims. Ciccarelli Law Offices can help you successfully navigate a very grueling claims process, and we will fight to get you every cent you need to fully recover from your accident and move on with your life.
Our firm has office locations in West Chester, Malvern, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Lancaster, Kennett Square, Radnor, and Plymouth Square. We will review your case and help you understand your legal options when you call (610) 719-3190 today to set up a free legal consultation.
Pennsylvania’s Process for Uninsured/Underinsured Accidents
- How are underinsured and uninsured motorists defined?
- What is the minimum amount of coverage that drivers are required to carry?
- Do any insurance policies cover accidents with underinsured or uninsured drivers?
- What is tort coverage and how does it work?
- Where can I find additional information about these insurance issues?
An uninsured motorist is an individual who does not have any kind of automobile insurance. If you are involved in an accident with this type of driver, there is not insurance company you can go to for compensation. However, if the driver has assets or money despite the lack of insurance, you may be able to file a lawsuit against that motorist.
There are a couple of types of drivers who could be considered underinsured motorists:
- Motorists driving another person’s vehicle
- Motorists with insufficient amount of coverage
An accident with an underinsured driver can get extraordinarily complicated very quickly because you need to make sure that your own insurance company agrees to any settlement with the underinsured motorist’s insurance company. It is critical to have an attorney during any conversations with either insurance company because both the other driver’s and your own can use certain comments you might make against you to minimize the amount of your compensation.
When a person purchases automobile insurance in the Keystone State, Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act requires the policy to satisfy certain minimum coverage requirements. These three areas include:
- Medical Benefits — $5,000 for medical bills of motorist and other parties, regardless of fault.
- Bodily Injury Liability — $15,000 for injuries to one person, and $30,000 for one accident to cover medical and rehabilitation expenses as well as other damages for which a driver is liable.
- Property Damage Liability — $5,000 for damage to another party’s property in which motorist was at fault.
All of these coverages can have higher limits if a driver so chooses.
Motorists in Pennsylvania also have the option of purchasing additional insurance policies. The policies that can be extremely beneficial if a person is involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver include:
- Uninsured Motorist (UM) — Covers a driver, his or her family, and his or her passengers for bodily injury if struck by an at-fault motorist who has no insurance.
- Underinsured Motorist (UIM) — Covers a driver, his or her family, and his or her passengers for bodily injury if struck by an at-fault motorist who does not have adequate insurance.
Neither UM or UIM insurance covers property damage, but a person can increase his or her coverage limits by “stacking” their insurance policy. This means that the limits of a person’s UM or UIM policy are multiplied by the number of vehicles he or she has on the same policy.
Having UM or UIM insurance rarely means that accident victims obtain compensation without some degree of difficulty—even when dealing with their own insurance companies. It is in a person’s best interest to contact a proven personal injury lawyer before making any statement to an insurance company, as an attorney will know the best way to handle a claim and these conversations so the accident victim can recover as much compensation as possible.
Motorists in Pennsylvania can purchase full or limited tort coverage. A person who purchases limited tort coverage will pay less for his or her insurance premiums, but he or she may be unable to sue a negligent motorist for certain noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering following an accident.
However, Title 75 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 1705(d) does state that an individual otherwise bound by limited tort coverage who sustains damages in a motor vehicle accident as the consequence of the fault of another person can recover damages as if he or she had full tort coverage if the other party:
- is convicted or accepts Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) for driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance in that accident
- is operating a motor vehicle registered in another state
- intends to injure himself or another person
- has not maintained required insurance minimums
Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Guide — This website of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department has information about required coverages and optional coverages in the Commonwealth as well as how rates are determined when you’re ready to apply, and things to keep in mind. There is also information specifically concerning teen drivers, mature drivers, and options for those without auto insurance.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Driver and Vehicle Services Financial Responsibility Overview — You can learn more about vehicle liability insurance requirements on this website. There is also information about lapses in insurance coverage, civil penalty fees, and proof letters.
Uninsured Motorists Coverage — This is Chapter 63 of the Pennsylvania Code which lays out the policies to which coverage shall be attached, the extent of coverage to be offered, and the minimum coverage requirements. You can also find language concerning damages for bodily injury caused by uninsured automobiles as well as conditions relating to policy provisions, proof of claim, medical reports, and limits of liability.
Ciccarelli Law Offices – An Underinsured Accident Lawyer in West Chester, PA
Ciccarelli Law Offices represents clients in Chester County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County, Montgomery County, and Lancaster County. Call Ciccarelli Law Offices today at (610) 719-3190 to schedule a free consultation that will let us review your case and see how we can help.