Do you have uninsured motorist coverage? If you do, when your accident happened, you might be in luck. The crazy part is your own insurance company can DEFEND the claim. That's right even if you have uninsured motorist coverage you have to win againt your insurance carrier. So, how do you recover money lost from time off work, medical bills, and pain and suffering in that situation?
Why Is It So Hard to Collect From an Uninsured Motorist?
Unless you find yourself dealing with an independently wealthy motorist, it is highly unlikely that a lawsuit against an uninsured driver is going to result in a suitable monetary award. Most under or uninsured drivers don’t carry the insurance they need because they can’t afford it. A lawsuit cannot take money a defendant doesn’t have.
There are instances where suing an uninsured (or underinsured) is worthwhile like when the defendant has suitable assets. This is rare since most people who have assets can afford t auto insurance. It does happen, however. What will that look like?
- First, your lawyer might run a credit and asset check on the defendant to verify that they have assets of some kind.
- Next, your lawyer will file a lien on any discovered assets to prevent the defendant from unloading them during proceedings.
- Finally, after bringing suit, a judgment against the defendant may be made. Often, the defendant enters into a payment plan that has a low monthly or weekly payment which is less-than-ideal.
How Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage Works
There are two forms of auto insurance that might help you cover your financial burdens. Your uninsured driver coverage (“UM”) allows you to make a claim up to your coverage limit against your own insurer. It is important to remember, in this instance, your insurance company can and will fight the claim against you. You should consider them an adversary.
However, as your insurer, they do have certain rights resulting from your contract with them. Lawyers handle cases against UM carriers often, as Tennessee law has special rules pertaining to a UM claim.
Expect your insurer to investigate your medical treatment, injuries and any other details relevant to the crash just as they would any claim. They can even defend the case against you in court and arbitration. UM claims are different than actions against the defendant’s liability carrier and require knowledgeable lawyers to navigate the case.