“I was involved in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance.”
Many times we have clients come in the office and they are involved in a motor vehicle accident where the person who caused the accident does not have car insurance. Naturally, this causes my clients to wonder where they can seek compensation for the injuries they have sustained.
Below is general information regarding the options you have when you are involved in an automobile accident in which you are not at fault.
At-Fault Driver’s Insurance
When you are injured as a result of someone’s negligence, you can pursue a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Tennessee requires all drivers carry minimum insurance coverage of $25,000 for each injury or death per accident, $50,000 for total injuries or deaths per accident and $15,000 for property damage per accident.
Generally speaking, this means that if a single individual is injured in an accident with a driver who has the State’s minimum coverage, that individual can only recover up to $25,000. If multiple people are injured in the accident, the insurance company will only pay out $50,000 total for the entire accident with each person recovering no more than $25,000, regardless of your injuries.
At-fault Driver Without Insurance
However, what if the driver who injures you does not have insurance? The next question I am asked by clients is whether they can go after the driver personally. While this could potentially be an option, more than likely, it is not the greatest option. This is because odds are the uninsured driver does not have any significant assets for you to go after and recover from.
It usually turns out that this is not the best route financially for our clients to seek compensation. There are ways we can determine what assets exist and if it is a viable option for our clients, you can rest assured we will do everything we can to pursue that avenue.
Uninsured Motorist and Under-Insured Motorist Coverage
So, what if you are injured by a driver who does not have insurance and no significant assets? Or, what if you are injured by a driver who only has the State’s minimum coverage?
In these scenarios, you can pursue a claim through your automobile insurance if you have what is called uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, also referred to as UM/UIM coverage. While this is not required in Tennessee, it is optional coverage you can purchase through your insurance carrier.
If you have UM/UIM coverage and you are injured as a result of an accident with an uninsured driver, you can pursue a recovery through your insurance carrier. If you are injured by a driver who only has the State’s minimum coverage, you can also seek compensation through your UM/UIM coverage. For instance, if the at-fault driver has $25,000 in coverage and you have UIM coverage of $50,000 then you can recover an additional $25,000 from your insurance company.
While each case is different and certain exceptions, not included above, may apply to your case, the above serves as a very basic guide to what options you have for a recovery when involved in an automobile accident.
It is always a good idea to contact an attorney to make sure you know all available avenues for you to seek recovery and we are more than happy to discuss your options with you.