It’s estimated that one in 20 motorists on the roads in New York State are currently uninsured. According to the Insurance Information Institute, that’s the 3rd-lowest percentage in the country. Despite those low odds, accidents with uninsured or underinsured motorists happen more than you would think. Thankfully, there are some legal avenues you can take to recover damages for your pain and suffering, even if the driver at fault is uninsured.
The first step after an accident, if you or a loved one is able, is to make sure that you properly document everything that happened. Take note of where the accident occurred, when it occurred, and the conditions on the road. If police officers come to assist, be sure to write down their names and badge numbers, and the report number. If there were any witnesses to the accident, be sure to get their contact information in case it is needed later.
If you had a crash with an uninsured driver and suffered injuries, be sure to give us a call at 845-600-0000 to receive a free personal injury legal consultation. Our experienced team has offices in Kingston, NY and Poughkeepsie and will inform you about your legal options, and can pursue the maximum possible compensation for your expenses.
For compensation, the first thing to keep in mind is that all insurance policies in New York state must carry at least $50,000 worth of No-Fault, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. If you have medical expenses, lost wages and/or out-of-pocket health expenses resulting from the crash, regardless of who caused the accident, you can recoup at least $50,000 from No-Fault.
For damage to your property (like your car), $10,000 is the minimum amount of coverage allowed in New York State.
The next source is a minimum of $25,000 per person Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (SUM) coverage. Unlike the No-Fault PIP insurance, insurance companies make you apply for relief from SUM insurance. You must notify them, divulge what injuries you suffered and prove that your injuries were the result of the accident. Since insurance companies stay in business by denying claims or minimizing the amount they pay out, consult an attorney before you apply for SUM insurance.
The new thing with SUM insurance is that as of early 2018, New York State enacted the Driver and Family Protection Act. The bill makes it simpler for drivers to have a much higher level of SUM insurance than before; if you purchase an insurance policy that covers up to $500,000 in damages to other drivers, your SUM insurance automatically will cover up to $500,000 of YOUR injuries as well.
If your SUM insurance is insufficient to pay for your damages, it is also an option to seek damages from the other motorist if they were at fault. It’s also possible that roadway design or poor maintenance could have contributed to the accident.