Updated on: 3/7/2019
If a person is injured in a car accident and incurs significant financial expense due to medical bills, lost wages, and other damages, that person is entitled to recover financial compensation from the at-fault party who is responsible for causing the accident in the first place. In most cases, this process involves filing a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Typically, the at-fault driver will have purchased an auto liability insurance policy that provides coverage for other drivers who may be harmed in the event of an accident caused by that driver. Anyone who becomes injured as a result of that driver’s negligence can file a claim for financial compensation with the driver’s insurance company, at least up to the limit of coverage that the driver has purchased.
Low Liability Insurance Coverage Limits
It is not uncommon for drivers to carry very low levels of liability insurance coverage. In Washington state, the law requires anyone who is driving a vehicle to carry a minimum liability insurance policy of at least $25,000. And while it’s great that the law requires drivers to be insured if they’re going to get behind the wheel, $25,000 is a relatively low amount of money in the grand scheme of things, especially when you consider the high medical costs associated with serious injuries.
Drivers can take matters into their own hands by purchasing extra layers of insurance coverage, such as Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. UM/UIM insurance can potentially add hundreds of thousands of dollars in coverage that will make sure your bills and other damages are paid for if the at-fault driver has low insurance limits.
No Liability Insurance At All
Unfortunately, many drivers violate insurance laws and decide not to purchase liability insurance coverage at all. Washington state has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the entire nation, meaning there are thousands of uninsured drivers on the roadway every day.
UM/UIM coverage is also meant to provide additional layers of insurance to victims who are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have any liability coverage whatsoever. And the best part of UM/UIM coverage is that the cost is relatively low; it is estimated that adding UM/UIM coverage to your policy will only increase your premiums by 5-10 percent.
Too Many Claimants
Insurance policy language typically declares the insurance coverage limits to be on a per-incident basis. This means that if multiple people are injured in a car accident, then the at-fault driver’s insurance company is only financially responsible for the coverage limit for the entire incident. If the at-fault driver has a $25,000 policy, the injured victims could be left with very little room for recovering financial compensation.
Again, UM/UIM coverage is designed to eliminate the risk of being unable to recover the compensation you are entitled to based on the amount of insurance coverage carried by the at-fault driver. By taking matters into their own hands and purchasing UM/UIM coverage, car accident victims won’t have to worry about being short-changed because of something that was out of their control.
Consulting With A Car Accident Attorney
In complex cases, it may be difficult to identify the party responsible for the accident or determine the amount of insurance coverage that is available. An experienced car accident attorney will be able to outline all of the possible ways in which a party might be held liable for your injuries, and may therefore help you better understand your options for recovering compensation.
Our attorneys offer a free case evaluation to car accident injury victims, and there is no obligation to hire us. Use the confidential contact form on this page to get started with your claim or call our office in Seattle at (206) 727-4000 today.