If you’ve been injured in a car crash, and other driver doesn’t have insurance, you can still make a claim for uninsured motorist benefits. This claim is made against the insurance policy covering the car you are driving. In both Missouri and Kansas, the law requires every auto insurance policy sold in the state to provide uninsured motorist coverage. That coverage protects you if you are injured by an uninsured motorist. An uninsured motorist can be someone who doesn’t have auto insurance. An uninsured motorist can also be a motorist who can’t be identified because he or she did not stay at the scene of the wreck – such as in a “hit and run” accident. Uninsured motorist claims can be complicated. It is important to make them as soon as possible since your insurance policy likely includes language requiring you to give your insurance company notice of the claim as soon as possible. It’s also important to study carefully the language of your policy to be sure that you recover all of the uninsured motorist benefits you are entitled to. In some situations, you will be entitled to “stack” or multiply the amount of uninsured motorist coverage that you have if you insure several vehicles under the same policy or with the same company. Whether you can “stack” coverage depends on the language of the policy and/or state law.
While uninsured motorist coverage protects you when you are injured by an uninsured or unidentified motorist, underinsured motorist coverage protects you when you are injured by another driver who does not carry enough insurance to fully compensate you for your injuries. For example, you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, and your damages are $100,000. However, the other driver only carries $25,000 in liability coverage. That driver is underinsured. If you have $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage on your vehicle, you can make a claim for underinsured motorist benefits. Like claims for uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist claims are made against your own auto insurance policy. They, like uninsured motorist claims, can be complicated. The amount of underinsured motorist coverage to which you will be entitled will depend upon the language or your policy and/or state law. Whether you have an uninsured motorist claim or an underinsured motorist claim, it’s important to understand the language or your policy and how state law applies. Call us today for a free initial consultation. The lawyers at Couch Pierce King & Wharton are happy to help guide you through the maze that is uninsured and underinsure motorist coverage and claims.