Phoenix Car Accident Attorneys Discuss How to Protect Yourself From Uninsured Motorists
“According to a recent study completed by the Insurance Research Council, 1 in 8 drivers in the United States and about 1 in 10 drivers in Arizona is driving without liability insurance…”
Liability insurance protects both drivers who are involved in an accident: the one who’s at fault and the one who’s not. It specifically covers the costs of the injuries and property damage caused by the person holding the policy. So, if someone crashes into you, their liability insurance should pay for your medical bills and damages to your car.
Traffic safety in Maricopa County suffers most when at-fault drivers DON’T have insurance. Why? Because even if they’re sued, they sometimes don’t have the money to pay for the damages they’ve caused.
Many Car Accidents and Injuries are Caused by Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists
Again, there are still many drivers in Arizona who decide not to purchase liability insurance. According to a recent study completed by the Insurance Research Council, 1 in 8 drivers in the United States and about 1 in 10 drivers in Arizona is driving without liability insurance. This means that if you’ve been in a Phoenix car accident, there’s about a 1 in 10 chance that the other driver is uninsured.
Other drivers do purchase the minimum, but the minimum sometimes doesn’t cover all the costs of the car accident and injuries. This is a real problem because both serious and even fatal car accidents in Phoenix are common. If the driver at fault doesn’t have the money to help pay for the cost, the injury victims are the ones who suffer financially.
So, if you’ve been in an accident and it wasn’t your fault, how do you protect yourself from motorists who either don’t have enough insurance coverage or don’t have any coverage at all?
How to Protect Yourself Against Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
The Phoenix car accident attorneys at Goodnow McKay say that there isn’t much you can do about getting them off the road, but you can protect yourself with insurance and with an expert attorney who can fight for your recovery in court.
Get Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage
The majority of auto insurance policies include some form of uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), but Arizona drivers are not required to carry this coverage. All drivers in Arizona have to carry liability insurance with a company that is authorized to do business in the state. The insurance must cover at least:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability for one person (ie. if only the driver was injured) and $50,000 for two or more individuals
- $15,000 in property damage liability
How UM/UIM Coverage Works
“Insurance companies often fight against paying personal injury victims what they deserve. If they don’t want to pay, they’ll either try to challenge who is at fault or argue that certain medical treatments weren’t “medically necessary” and therefore won’t be covered.”
For example, most UM/UIM policies cover at least $25,000 in personal injury costs. If someone crashes into you and severely injures you, their liability insurance will kick in. UIM coverage is important because even if the other driver was carrying the legally required $25,000 in liability coverage, it may not cover all of your medical bills. The underinsured motorist section of your own coverage will supplement the driver’s liability policy and open up another fund to draw from for compensation.
Although UM and UIM policies are not required under Arizona law, they’re highly recommended for any driver because of the protection it provides against uninsured and underinsured motorists.
Phoenix car accident attorneys at Goodnow McKay completely agree. They note that unfortunately, they have seen their fair share of clients without UM/UIM coverage come in after they’re told that the other driver doesn’t have insurance either. Even if the other party is taken to court, the at-fault party probably does not have money to compensate the person for their injuries.
Hire an Expert Phoenix Car Accident Attorney
Even when drivers have UM/UIM insurance, and even with drivers at fault have liability insurance, you’ll need the help of a skilled personal injury attorney.
Insurance companies often fight against paying personal injury victims what they deserve. If they don’t want to pay, they’ll either try to challenge who is at fault or argue that certain medical treatments weren’t “medically necessary” and therefore won’t be covered.
Justin Mckay, one of the founding partners of Goodnow McKay, says that most insurance companies will also try to pressure you into an unfair settlement when they know they can’t challenge who is at fault.
Contact Goodnow McKay
A Phoenix car accident lawyer can fight for your rights both in and out of court. Most importantly, a car accident lawyer can represent you in negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company and your insurance company if you have to use UM/UIM coverage. You may also have to go to court to get the recovery you need. A Phoenix car accident lawyer will make sure that you receive maximum recovery from the other driver and from any resistant insurance companies.
Car accidents in Phoenix are stressful enough as it is. But even though you can’t control what other drivers do, you can protect yourself. Make sure you ask your insurance about UM/UIM coverage. And if you’ve been in an accident, contact a car accident lawyer who can protect your rights.