January 2, 2024
Accidents with Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers
By Jonathan Damashek
Car accidents can cause unexpected damage and disrupt your life. If you find out that the driver who hit you doesn’t have auto insurance or enough insurance, do you know what to do next? How will you collect a settlement for your medical bills?
There are solutions for people hurt in car accidents by drivers missing insurance. Learn more about New York’s policies and your options.
How Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Work?
Insurance policies in New York include several kinds of coverage, including uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist insurance coverage provides that if the policy owner or a passenger suffers any injury because of a driver who does not have liability insurance, the policy owner’s insurance company will pay the insured individual’s damages.
Most insurance companies will honor the UM/UIM clause. However, some may attempt to offer compensation that is too little or deny your uninsured motorist claim. Later, they may raise your insurance premiums, even if you didn’t do anything wrong. The insurer may try to deny you coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage is meant to provide benefits if you or a passenger in your car injured in a wreck caused by someone who does not have car insurance or has too little insurance. Your UM coverage would also be invoked if you are hit an injured by a hit-and-run driver who is not identified or found.
Does New York Require Auto Insurance?
To register a motor vehicle in New York, you must have state-issued automobile liability insurance coverage. According to the N.Y. Department of Motor Vehicles, the minimum amount of liability coverage you must obtain is:
- $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death for a person involved in an accident.
- $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two or more people in an accident.
- $10,000 for property damage for a single accident.
New York law also requires all auto insurance policies to include uninsured motorist (UM) coverage for bodily injury, subject to the same minimums. Uninsured motorist coverage only starts to pay for losses after the at-fault driver’s insurance is exhausted.
It is fortunate that New York State has one of the nation’s lowest rates of uninsured motorists (5.3%, the third-lowest behind Maine and Massachusetts), but that small percentage still represents thousands of uninsured drivers.
What to Do After an NYC Car Accident Caused by an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver
After you have been in a car accident, it is important that you contact your own insurance company as soon as possible, especially if you have been hit by an uninsured motorist. You should report the accident to police. If you or anyone in your car has been injured, you should summon emergency medical assistance to obtain care immediately.
Collect Evidence After Your Accident with an Uninsured Driver
It is important for you to protect your rights after any car accident by obtaining and holding onto any evidence that supports a potential claim.
For a UM/UIM claim, this includes:
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Records and Receipts
- Take photos of the crash scene
This evidence can help you substantiate your claim for losses if your insurance company tries to deny a UM claim or to avoid paying you the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Document the Details of Your Accident
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, you should document the accident as much as possible. That means you should write down how the accident happened, where and when it happened, and the names and contact information for any witnesses (including your passengers), as soon as you can.
Be sure to include anything you remember that might help identify the vehicle that hit you, such as color, make, model, year, the direction it was traveling, etc. In the NYC Metro, an investigation may find a security camera that recorded your accident.
Reach Out to a New York Car Accident Lawyer
As soon as you are able, you should contact a skilled car accident lawyer in New York City to help you with your claim. An attorney can help you fight your way through the bureaucratic red tape towards compensation. They can use the evidence you’ve gathered to start their investigation, ensuring you the best chance of recovery.
Attorneys have experience dealing with insurance companies, and finding the right attorney gives you better odds at a successful insurance claim.
Get Help With Your Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They can’t make as much money if they’re paying settlements. Insurance agents and adjusters know people hurt in accidents are in precarious situations. They understand that by moving quickly, they can pressure accident victims into low settlements to close claims.
That’s where Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., come in. We have your best interests at heart. We know dealing with insurance companies is intimidating. With us on your side, we can hold those liable for your injuries and damages responsible. We’ll help you identify anyone who shares the blame for your injuries, and we can help you fight for a fair settlement.
Contact a NYC Car Accident Lawyer About Your Claim
It is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident involving an uninsured motorist or hit-and-run driver to make sure you are not being low-balled or otherwise denied proper benefits by your insurance company. Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. will fight for your rights and help you receive the compensation that you deserve. If you already have a settlement offer, we can review it and the circumstances of your accidents for you.
In every case we are able to pursue, our attorneys provide our clients with aggressive representation in order to recover the fairest compensation available. To speak with an attorney about your accident, use our free case evaluation form, or call us at (212) 490-5700.