Uninsured Motorist Accident Claims

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Were you in an accident with an uninsured motorist? Know your rights.

Getting into a car accident is stressful and can be traumatic. You may have vehicle damages that render the vehicle you rely upon every day, completely undriveable or with extensive and expensive damages. You may have minor to severe injuries. When you get into a car accident and the other driver is at fault, you believe that your injuries will be covered by the other party’s insurance. But what if that person doesn’t have insurance? Or, if the driver does have insurance but not enough to cover your expenses? You may be worried and anxious about how to pay your bills. What should your next steps be?

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Being a victim of any type of auto accident can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing time in your life. But when you discover your car accident was caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may be angry and not sure what to do next. For the car accident lawyers at Munley Law, this is a scenario that can happen all too often. It is the legal responsibility of every Pennsylvania driver to have car insurance. But when you get into an accident with someone who does not follow the law, our attorneys will aggressively represent your rights to make sure you get the compensation that you deserve.

How Does Car Insurance Work?

Attorney Caroline MunleyIn the simplest terms, motor vehicle insurance is a contract between the driver and an insurance company that is designed to protect the driver from any financial loss if they are in an accident. Insurance policies can be difficult to understand and navigate and may have many unfamiliar terms. There are a variety of policies and coverage depending on what the driver needs or wants and what the state minimums are for drivers – coverage can also depend on whether the vehicle is owned outright or if it is leased or financed.

The driver agrees to pay an agreed-upon premium (a monthly or annual fee paid toward the policy) and in return, the insurance company agrees to pay for certain expenses that can occur when the driver is involved in an accident.

Every state has its own laws on the minimum insurance required and the penalties for being uninsured.

What Are the Minimum Requirements in Pennsylvania?

Third Party Workers CompensationAccording to Pennsylvania’s Insurance Department website, when you purchase private passenger automobile insurance for a car registered in Pennsylvania, there are certain coverages that are required (mandatory minimum coverage) and other coverage that are optional.

The required minimum coverages are:

  • Medical Benefits — This pays medical bills for you and others who are covered by your policy, regardless of fault.
  • Bodily Injury Liability — If you injure someone in a car accident, this coverage pays their medical and rehabilitation expenses and any damages for which you are found liable.
  • Property Damage Liability — If you damage someone’s property in an accident and you are at fault, this coverage pays for it.
  • Limited or Full Tort — You can choose to have full or limited tort coverage. Limited tort coverage offers the driver savings on your premiums.

You are still able to recover all out-of-pocket medical and other expenses; however, you are not able to recover certain damages – such as payments for pain and suffering – unless the injuries meet one of the exceptions to limited tort as defined in Act 6 of 1990, title 75, section, 1705 (d). With full tort coverage selection, you retain unrestricted rights to bring suit against the negligent party.

Some of the optional coverages are:

  • Uninsured Motorist (UM) — This coverage applies to you, your family, and your passengers for bodily injury if you are hit by an at-fault uninsured motorist. This does not cover damage to property.
  • Underinsured Motorist (UIM) — This coverage applies to you, your family, and your passengers for bodily injury if you are hit by an at-fault motorist who does not have enough insurance to cover your claim. This does not cover damage to property.

As you can understand, many motorists don’t even carry optional coverages in the event they are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist.

How Do I File an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accident Claim?

Attorney Marion Munley reading from a fileAfter getting into an auto accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver who was found at fault, you need to make a claim under the uninsured motorist provisions of your policy. This coverage will pay your medical bills and any property damage in the event the at-fault driver does not have insurance.

But what if the at-fault driver does have insurance but not enough to cover the damages? Then you can rely on your underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage is designed to fill in the gap between your accident expenses and the coverage limits of the at-fault driver’s policy. So for instance, if you have a $20,000 medical bill, and the at-fault driver’s coverage has a limit of $15,000, then you will have to make an underinsured motorist claim with your policy to make up the difference.

Watch Out for Bad Faith Insurance Tactics

Let’s say the insurance will only pay so much. What are your next steps? Well, you do have the option to sue the at-fault driver. However, chances are if they don’t have insurance, then that person will not have the financial resources available to settle your claim. However, you may want to take another look at your insurance company.

Insurance companies want to settle your claim for the lowest amount they can possibly offer. Unfortunately, these companies may not act in your best interests. For example, let’s say you get into a hit and run accident. The other driver is clearly the one at fault and does not have insurance. You submit an uninsured motorist accident claim to your insurance company. Yet, after investigating the claim, the insurance adjuster says you were the one at fault for the accident and denies your claim. This may be a case of bad faith insurance and you will need to hire a bad faith insurance lawyer to start a claim right away.

What Damages Can I Receive After an Uninsured Motorist Accident?

Upset driver After car AccidentIf you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you may be entitled to financial compensation for economic and non-economic losses caused by the accident such as:

  • Repairs to your vehicle or a vehicle replacement
  • Compensation for any loss of income due to the accident such as lost time at work for injury, pain, or doctors’ visits
  • Direct medical costs related to injury caused by the accident
  • Pain and suffering resulting from the accident
  • Loss of or damage to property as a result of the accident
  • Other expenses that are related to the accident such as
  • Cost of mental health treatment
  • Cost of physical therapy following an injury related to the accident
  • Cost of rental vehicles or other transportation costs due to loss or damage of your primary vehicle in the accident

To discover what compensation you may be entitled to, contact the experts at Munley Law for a free consultation.

How Do I Get Compensation if an Uninsured Motorist Caused My Accident?

If the driver who hit you did not have the liability insurance required under Pennsylvania’s financial responsibility law, you generally have two options for recovering compensation above and beyond your no-fault coverage.

Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim

This may be the easiest way to recover some of the money you need for any economic losses but not everyone has this optional (in Pennsylvania) policy coverage. If you do, you will need a lawyer who can file your claim for you and make sure your own insurance company is giving you a fair settlement.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you do not carry uninsured driver coverage on your own policy to protect against uninsured motorists you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages for your medical bills and other losses.

Munley law firm focuses solely on personal injury litigation. We’ve been doing personal injury for over six decades and have helped develop many trial techniques and liability theories that are still used to this day.

What Should I Do Immediately After an Accident With an Uninsured Motorist?

personal injury lawyer marion munleyIf you are involved in an accident with a driver who was uninsured, take the following steps:

First, seek medical attention for yourself and any passengers in the vehicle. Even if your injuries seem minor, they may become worse as time passes and the adrenaline wears off.

Contact the police at the scene of the crash and make sure a police report is made. The police report will be crucial to your case if you need to take legal action in the future.

When speaking with the police, report the events as you saw them as calmly as possible. Do not attempt to place blame, and do not admit to even partial fault for the crash.

Take down the names and badge numbers of any officers who reported to the scene

Remember to exchange contact information with the other driver and any witnesses at the scene. If possible, take photos of the scene and of the damage to your vehicle.

Your insurance company will try to contact you after the accident. If you speak to them before speaking with a car accident attorney, keep your remarks brief and only tell them the facts.

Keep a record of your injuries. Some common injuries caused by uninsured drivers include, but are not limited to:

  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Back, neck (including whiplash), and shoulder injuries
  • Concussions
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken ribs
  • Internal bleeding/organ damage
  • Paralysis

Contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Even if you are still in the process of getting medical treatment and waiting to hear from your insurance company, an experienced car accident lawyer can help you navigate this challenging time and guide you through the next steps.

If you have been injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical costs and other financial and non-economic damages. Having an experienced accident attorney on your side greatly increases your chance of recovering compensation for damages resulting from the accident. We will work with you and your doctors as a team to carefully document your injuries and damages related to a personal injury claim.

Why Should I Hire a Car Accident Attorney Following an Accident with an Uninsured Motorist?

chris munleyIf you or a loved one has experienced injury or damages resulting from an accident with an uninsured motorist, you need and deserve a team of experienced attorneys who understand the challenges and difficulties you now face as a result of your injuries or damages.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident caused by a driver who was uninsured, you deserve experienced legal representation from a firm that understands the challenges you face because of your injuries or other damages. When drivers engage in behavior that puts others at risk, they must be held accountable – and you should not have to pay the ultimate price for their negligent and reckless refusal to follow the letter of the law.

Munley Law will handle all of your communications with your insurance company and other parties, greatly reducing the pressure and stress following the accident. You can focus on getting better and getting your life back.

Your attorney will also:

  • Investigate the accident and gather witness statements, police and accident reports, traffic camera footage, and medical records
  • Prepare a personal injury claim, if necessary
  • Manage all communication with your insurance company on your behalf to protect your interests
  • Research case law and state statutes
  • Prepare documents necessary for the case

Why Hire Munley Law?

With so many personal injury law firms to choose from, how do you know who you can trust to fight for you and your family? Consider these factors that set Munley Law apart:

  • Track Record – Munley Law has earned national recognition for our large settlements and verdicts. Our entire staff works diligently to make sure you get the maximum compensation owed to you.
  • Experience – When it comes to complex personal injury cases, experience counts. Each of our partners has decades of experience representing individuals and families who have suffered serious injury or been denied benefits. Because we are a family firm, we often work closely together on our cases to achieve the best possible results for you. this day.
  • Resources – At Munley Law, we utilize resources that are typically available only to big law firms. We work closely with our network of engineers, reconstructionists, investigators, experts, and in-house medical personnel to build your case.
  • Client Satisfaction – Perhaps the best testament to our success is the satisfaction of our past clients. Learn what former Munley Law clients have to say about their experience with our firm.
  • Our No-Fee Promise – We do not collect a fee unless we win your case. If we do not produce results for you, you owe us nothing.

Making out a claim after a car accident is never an easy situation, especially if you are not found at fault. And with an insurance company that refuses to pay you what you need, the situation can be even worse. For more than six decades, the car accident lawyers at Munley Law have been fighting for their client’s rights against the insurance companies. We work hard to make sure you get the compensation that you deserve following an accident.

We can help you protect your legal rights, relieve some of the burdens of stress, and hold the at-fault driver accountable for their irresponsibility. Contact an uninsured motorist accident lawyer at Munley Law today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Uninsured Motorist Claims

Q: How Many Drivers are Uninsured?

Wilkes-Barre driver error attorneysMotor-vehicle traffic crashes that occur on Pennsylvania roads and highways are investigated and reported by both the Pennsylvania State Police and the approximately 1,300 local municipal police departments. In 2020, there were 104,475 reportable traffic crashes in Pennsylvania. These crashes claimed the lives of 1,129 people and injured another 61,248 people.

According to a 2021 study by the Insurance Research Council, 12.6 percent of motorists, or about one in eight drivers, were uninsured.

Q: What Are the Insurance Minimum Requirements in Pennsylvania?

Per the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT): “Pennsylvania law requires all Pennsylvania motor vehicle owners to maintain vehicle liability insurance (financial responsibility) on a currently registered vehicle. Vehicle liability insurance covers the property damage or injuries you may cause others in a crash.”

All motor vehicles subject to registration such as cars, vans, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, trucks, and buses must have liability insurance. A driver in Pennsylvania is in compliance with the law if they have liability insurance in the following amounts:

  • $15,000 for injury or death of one person in an accident
  • $30,000 for injury or death of more than one person in an accident
  • $5,000 for damage to property of another person

Q: How Much Does an Uninsured Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Cost?

When you’ve been hurt in a serious car accident, the last thing you need is an additional cost. At Munley Law, we believe that all people should have equal access to top-notch legal representation, regardless of income and wealth. When you hire a car accident lawyer at Munley Law, you don’t pay anything for our services unless we win your case.

Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Motorist?

The statute of limitations for injury claims in Pennsylvania is two years. This means you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the uninsured motorist who caused your injuries. However, there are many steps to be taken before filing a lawsuit so it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Q: Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Optional?

In Pennsylvania, coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists is optional, so how does that work? If you have this coverage, isn’t your insurance company liable to cover your expenses?

If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, or one who has insufficient coverage to cover your damages and losses, one only way to receive compensation for the damages and losses caused to the injured person is if the injured person has uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

If the at-fault driver has no insurance, your insurance company must pay for all of your damages according to the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage of your policy, including damages caused to your vehicle and compensation for your injuries and any other losses, such as medical costs or lost wages.

However, insurance companies are in the business to make money. It is our experience that your insurance can become a roadblock in receiving the damages and compensation that you are due pursuant to your agreement. In this case, an experienced accident attorney is valuable in helping you through these discussions with your insurance company. Contact Munley Law before agreeing to any settlements with your own insurance company.

Q: Pennsylvania is a “No-Fault” State. But What Does This Mean For You?

If you are hit by an uninsured driver, you might still be able to receive compensation for some of your medical care costs after an accident. This is not reliant on which driver caused the accident – hence the “no fault” terminology. In Pennsylvania, your “no-fault” policy will not cover full costs if your medical needs are extensive and it will not pay for your other accident-related damages.

Q: How Can Munley Law Help Me With My Uninsured Motorist Claim?

Scranton car accident law firm Munley Law has over six decades of experience in dealing with insurance companies and handling accident claims. We are familiar with all of the techniques that insurance companies may use to influence you to settle quickly and for less compensation. Insurance companies have a team of investigators, adjusters, agents, and attorneys to protect them. As the accident victim, you need your own team of legal experts on your side to protect you.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident with a driver who was uninsured, you will need qualified representation from a firm familiar with the challenges involved with an accident involving an uninsured motorist. Working with the most experienced car accident lawyers guarantees that your rights will be protected.

If you’ve been in an auto accident with an underinsured or uninsured motorist, get help now. Contact Munley Law now for a free consultation.

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