Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyers in Waldorf, Maryland
Although nearly every state in the U.S. requires drivers to purchase auto insurance, millions of people still get behind the wheel without insurance every day. The Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates that 12.6 percent of drivers are uninsured nationwide, which roughly equates to one in every eight motorists.
Here in Maryland, we have one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the U.S. According to recent data from the IRC, more than 14 percent of drivers in Maryland do not have insurance coverage. This means there are more than 624,000 Maryland drivers who likely lack the ability to pay for damages they cause in the event of a crash.
If you comply with state law and purchase auto insurance coverage, it can be frustrating to learn that the other driver was uninsured after an accident. When this happens, an uninsured car accident lawyer can help you explore all possible options to seek the compensation you need.
At Trollinger Law LLC, we have extensive experience fighting for the rights of people who were injured in uninsured motorist collisions. We will identify all possible sources of compensation in your case to pursue the maximum recovery you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about what we can do for you.
What to Do After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
The steps you take after a car accident can have a substantial impact on your ability to recover money for your losses. When the other driver is uninsured, the stakes are often even higher. To protect your rights:
- Seek immediate medical attention. Go to the emergency room or visit your doctor to create a permanent record of your injuries.
- Follow through on your doctor’s orders. Follow your physician’s recommended treatment plan to hasten your recovery and show you are taking your health seriously.
- Gather as much evidence from the scene as possible. Take photos of vehicle damage, the scene of the collision and visible injuries, ask available eyewitnesses for statements, and write down everything you can remember about the crash itself.
- Keep records of your accident-related expenses. Hang on to all of your medical bills, vehicle repair invoices, and receipts from incidental expenses such as transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Establish a pain journal to track your injuries. Write down your daily levels of pain and physical limitations in a pain journal, so you aren’t forced to rely on memory later.
- Avoid discussing the accident with others. With the exception of your lawyer, do not share unnecessary details about your crash with others. Avoid posting information on social media.
- Contact a knowledgeable uninsured motorist lawyer. An attorney can help you evaluate your options and pursue maximum compensation after a Maryland uninsured motorist accident.
Auto Insurance Requirements in Maryland
Maryland law requires state drivers to carry the following types and amounts of auto insurance coverage:
- Bodily injury liability insurance. If you are responsible for an accident that leaves another person with bodily injuries, this type of insurance covers the costs of any medical care they need to recover. Maryland drivers must carry at least $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage.
- Property damage liability insurance. If you cause an accident that results in damage to someone else’s vehicle or other property, this coverage will pay for the costs of repairing or replacing the property. A minimum of $15,000 in property damage liability insurance is required in Maryland.
- Uninsured motorist coverage. Maryland also requires uninsured motorist coverage. This kicks in to cover your expenses if you suffer injuries or property damage in a crash with an uninsured motorist. Minimum uninsured motorist insurance requirements include $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage and $15,000 in property damage coverage.
- Personal injury protection (PIP). PIP coverage reimburses policyholders for lost wages and “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses after an accident. Maryland drivers are required to carry at least $2,500 in PIP coverage. However, certain individuals have the option to waive PIP coverage if they have sufficient health insurance or income to pay for medical care after an accident.
Insurance Coverage for Underinsured and Uninsured Motorists
Since Maryland is an at-fault auto insurance state, drivers are held financially responsible for damage and injuries they cause in a car accident. This means accident victims are expected to file claims with at-fault drivers’ insurance providers to recoup compensation for their losses.
Underinsured and uninsured motorist insurance can help cover your accident-related expenses when the at-fault driver has insufficient coverage or no coverage at all.
What Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Cover?
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, which is required by law in Maryland, protects you if an uninsured motorist causes damage to your property or injury to you or your passengers.
Insurance companies typically classify hit-and-run drivers as uninsured motorists. This means your UM coverage can apply if you suffer property damage or injury in a wreck and you cannot identify the at-fault driver before he or she flees the scene.
UM insurance benefits can be used to pay for the repair or replacement of damaged property, medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
What Does Underinsured Motorist Coverage Cover?
In Maryland, underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is grouped together with UM coverage. This type of coverage pays for costs associated with bodily injury and property damage after an accident with a driver who is underinsured.
Even drivers who purchase the minimum insurance coverage required by law can be considered underinsured if the coverage is not enough to pay for damages they cause in an accident. If your accident-related injuries or property damage are so extensive that they exceed the other driver’s policy limits, you can rely on your UIM coverage to make up some or all of the difference.
Like UM coverage, UIM benefits can cover costs associated with property damage, medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering after a crash.
What is Enhanced Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Maryland drivers also have the option of purchasing Enhanced Underinsured Motorist Coverage (EUIM) instead of standard UIM coverage.
An EUIM policy ensures that you are better compensated for your losses after a crash. With EUIM, you can collect the full amount of money from of the responsible driver’s UIM policy and the full amount of your own EUIM policy. This is an important distinction from traditional UIM coverage, where victims can only collect the difference between the at-fault driver’s UIM policy and any leftover expenses after the other driver’s policy limit have been reached. Essentially, it puts more money in your pocket.
The law requires insurance companies to offer EUIM to drivers when they purchase their policies. However, it is not available for renewals. For the best possible protection, Trollinger Law LLC advises you to purchase EUIM if you can.
Why You Need a Lawyer to Help With a UM/UIM Claim
After an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you may be tempted to rely on your insurance company to handle everything and give you the money you need. Unfortunately, you may find that your provider is more interested in protecting their bottom line than ensuring you have what you need to recover.
An experienced uninsured motorist lawyer can help you fight back when carriers try to minimize or deny your claim. A skilled lawyer will:
- Explain your legal rights. A lawyer can help you understand your rights, so you know what to expect and what you deserve after an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
- Evaluate the limits of your insurance policy. Your attorney can help you decipher the language of your insurance policy to give you an accurate idea of your coverage limits.
- Investigate the accident. Auto accident lawyers can conduct independent investigations to determine who was at fault in an accident. In some cases, we may even be able to use evidence to identify hit-and-run drivers.
- Consult with expert witnesses. Lawyers often work with medical professionals to learn more about the extent of their clients’ injuries. Your attorney may also consult with experts like accident reconstruction specialists, who can diagram the causes and effects of a crash.
- Communicate with others on your behalf. It’s very easy to damage your claim with innocent, offhand comments. An attorney can communicate with other drivers, insurance companies, and lawyers to help you avoid potentially self-incriminating statements.
- Negotiate aggressively for maximum compensation. If the insurance company tries to avoid paying the full and fair compensation you deserve, a lawyer can negotiate aggressively on your behalf in settlement talks.
- Represent you in court, if necessary. If settlement talks fail, your attorney can file a lawsuit against the insurance provider to pursue the compensation you need in court.
Contact Our Waldorf Car Accident Lawyer Today
The aftermath of a Waldorf uninsured motorist accident can feel overwhelming. It may seem impossible to manage an insurance claim or lawsuit as you struggle to deal with mounting medical expenses, missed time at work, and a painful recovery. Fortunately, there’s no need for you to face these challenges alone.
At Trollinger Law LLC, we are dedicated to serving accident victims throughout Waldorf and the surrounding Maryland areas. Our history of award-winning service and favorable case results has earned us a reputation for success. Let us handle the difficulties of your uninsured car accident claim while you focus on healing.
When you’re ready to take action, contact us to speak directly with Matt Trollinger, our principal attorney, in a free initial case review. Attorney Matt Trollinger is here to learn every detail of your story, answer your most pressing questions, and help you make the best decision for your unique situation.