In 2014, the state of Tennessee had 117,285 traffic crashes, with 21,736 of these collisions in Shelby County alone, according to reports from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. As a result of the Shelby County accidents, 83 people lost their lives and another 5,305 sustained injuries. In 16,348 of those accident cases, property damage exceeded $400. In total, 628 fatalities and 30,465 injured accident victims resulted from motor vehicle accidents statewide in 2014.
When an individual sustains injury or loss in an auto accident, it is generally the at-fault driver who will be held legally and financially liable. In cases where the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, the injured party will likely need to find other means by which to pursue fair and just financial compensation for his or her injuries and losses. Drivers can protect themselves against insufficient insurance by obtaining Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage through their own insurance provider.
Uninsured motorists either do not have any auto insurance at all, or have insurance that does not fulfill state minimum liability requirements. Being involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist may leave you wondering how your medical bills and auto repair expenses will be paid.
If you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, you can seek compensation by filing a claim with your own insurance provider, provided you have UM/UIM coverage. Every insurance company is required to offer UM/UIM coverage. This coverage can help cover expenses related to your injuries and loss, even when you are involved in a hit-and-run accident and the at-fault driver is not identified. UM/UIM coverage can pay for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, vehicle repairs, and other damages resulting from a car accident.
In Tennessee, drivers are required to maintain certain insurance minimums, including $25,000 for bodily injury per accident, $50,000 for total injuries or deaths per accident, and $15,000 for property damage per accident. While having such requirements is good, these minimums will not necessarily cover all of your accident-related expenses.
If an at-fault driver’s insurance coverage should fail to meet these minimum requirements or fall short of the monetary value of your injuries and loss, you would be left paying the bill. Luckily, your own UIM coverage can provide financial assistance with accident-related costs. If you do not want to cover medical expenses and accident-related costs after sustaining injuries due to no fault of your own, we advise you maintain your UM/UIM coverage.
While filing a lawsuit against an underinsured motorist is another way to seek compensation, taking such cases to trial is extremely difficult. Most cases like these will be settled long before the case is tried before a judge or jury. In addition, until you are willing to waive your right to pursue any further legal action against the at-fault driver, his or her insurance company will not release payment. By having UM/UIM coverage, you may be able to save yourself much heartache, frustration and financial strain.
For legal representation in an accident case involving an uninsured or underinsured motorist, contact The Law Office of David E. Gordon. Attorney Gordon is a board-certified civil trial specialist, an accomplishment less than two percent of Tennessee lawyers have achieved. He is also a dedicated advocate for victims’ rights and will stop at nothing to see justice served. Call us now to schedule your free case evaluation.