Depending on which state you are driving in, your chances of being in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver vary, but it is a sure bet you will be surprised by the statistics. If you live in Oklahoma and are involved in an auto accident, the chances the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance is a whopping one in four, while across the nation that figure is about one in 8. Colorado made the top ten for the number of drivers with no insurance, coming in at number 9, with 16 percent of Colorado drivers having no insurance.
Unfortunately, it is not just uninsured drivers you have to worry about—a fair number of drivers are underinsured, which means if you are involved in a serious accident which was caused by another driver, and he or she is woefully underinsured, you may have to address the question of what happens when the at-fault driver in your accident does not have a sufficient amount of insurance.
States with Tough Minimum Requirements and Penalties for Auto Insurance Do Not See a Correlating Increase in Those with Auto Insurance
While it is certainly understandable that you might want to cut corners to save money, failing to carry the proper level of insurance can end up making financial matters even worse, should you be involved in an auto accident with another person who has done the same. You could end up with no vehicle to drive, and with medical expenses that neither your insurance or the other person’s insurance will pay. Unfortunately, states which have toughened minimum requirements and penalties for auto insurance simply have not seen a correlation of lower numbers of uninsured and underinsured drivers.
What Should You Do When the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured or Underinsured?
So, assume you are responsible (and financially able) and you have plenty of auto insurance, then you are involved in an auto accident with a person who has no auto insurance or is extremely underinsured. What should you do? Suppose your medical expenses reach nearly $50,000, while the at-fault driver was carrying only the minimum policy as per state requirements, which is $25,000.
Not only would there not be enough coverage under this policy to pay your medical expenses, if you had lost wages, physical impairments or pain and suffering, none of those would be covered. While you could, theoretically, go after the at-fault driver’s assets, the fact is, if the driver did not have sufficient financial resources to purchase good insurance, then it is unlikely he or she has any assets to speak of. This is where your own insurance policy’s Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage comes in.
How Does Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?
Using the example above, with $50,000 in medical expenses, you are a far cry from having those expenses covered by the at-fault driver. Your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is probably equal to your liability—probably a 100/300, meaning you are covered up to $100,000 per person, or $300,00 per accident. So, assuming you were the only person in your vehicle, you now have (in addition to the $25,000 from the at-fault driver’s policy) an additional $100,000 which will pay for your medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering, lost wages, disfigurement and other damages.
And, the good news is, unless you specifically waived this coverage in writing, your policy includes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Even better news—under Colorado law, when you use your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, it is one of the very few times you can make a claim against your insurance company, and not feel the result in your monthly premiums. Further, state of Colorado operates under the modified comparative negligence law, which states you cannot receive compensation for your accident if you are found 50 percent or more at fault. If you have been in an auto accident in the state of Colorado, and the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, it is crucial that you contact a Colorado attorney who will have your best interests at heart, and truly cares about your future.
Contact Our Boulder Car Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs, or anywhere in the state of Colorado, you need an aggressive and experienced law firm on your side. Boulder car accident attorney Debbie Taussig has the experience and resources needed to win your case. Call today for a free initial consultation and review of your case. Call or fill out our confidential contact form.