One of the unnerving truths about driving is that your safety is not always in your control. One careless move by another driver could jeopardize your health, no matter how cautious and law-abiding you choose to be.
If you are hurt in a car accident due to the negligence of another motorist, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. Assuming that the party at fault has insurance coverage, you can seek damages from their carrier. Unfortunately, roughly 13 percent of motorists are uninsured, according to the most recent data available from the Insurance Research Council. If you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you will need to draw on your own coverage.
Before we talk about coverage, it’s important to understand the difference between uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance:
- Uninsured motorist (UM) insurance. An uninsured motorist is a driver who has no insurance at all, does not have enough insurance to meet the state’s minimum requirement for liability coverage, or whose insurance carrier is unwilling or unable to cover the damages. Also included in this category are hit-and-run drivers; since you don’t know how to reach their insurance company, it is as if they are uninsured. UM insurance provides bodily injury liability coverage to policy holders and any of their passengers who are injured.
- Underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance. An underinsured motorist is a person who has enough liability coverage to meet state requirements but not enough to cover the medical costs of the injuries that they caused. UIM insurance will make up the difference.
How Should This Insurance be Purchased?
Uninsured motorist insurance can be purchased in addition to your regular liability insurance. It is usually bundled together with underinsured motorist insurance (UIM).
Uninsured and underinsured motorist policies will cover your medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, and pain and suffering.
Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Required by Nevada Law?
Nevada law currently requires that all drivers purchase what is known as “25-50-20” motor vehicle liability insurance. This means that the minimum liability coverage equals $25,000 in bodily injury per individual, $50,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $20,000 in property damage.
Although liability insurance is required, uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage is not; however, it is strongly recommended because it is your only recourse if you are hit by an uninsured/underinsured driver. Note, that if you opt to purchase UM/UIM, it must meet the same “25-50” requirements that govern liability insurance.
Filing a Claim
If you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist or by a hit-and-run driver, the first thing you should do is call the police and gather as much evidence as possible. This evidence should include contact information for witnesses and photos of the accident scene.
You should also contact an accident injury attorney immediately. Getting an insurance company to pay out a UM/UIM policy is very complicated, and you will want an experienced lawyer on your side.
In order to receive compensation, you will need to clearly establish that the other driver was at fault. Your car accident attorney can help you file your claim properly and build a strong case that will help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.