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What Happens If I Was in an Accident With an Underinsured Driver in New Jersey

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Uninsured motorist coverage is a vital form of insurance that all drivers in New Jersey should carry. Without it, you could easily be in a situation where you have no legal liability for the damages related to an accident but nonetheless have to end up footing your own bill.

In fact, while New Jersey legislators fought for the right of consumers to have access to a basic policy without uninsured/underinsured motorist (UI/UIM) coverage, state informational portals highly recommend a standard policy that includes it — as do many New Jersey car accident lawyers.

Acquiring UI/UIM coverage comes with the following benefits.

The Ability to Recover Damages from an Accident with an Uninsured Driver

According to the most recent data available from the Insurance Information Institute (III), 12.6 percent of all drivers nationwide are uninsured. This unfortunate situation means that if you were to get in an accident on the road — one that was not even your fault — you have a roughly one in ten chance of not being able to claim damages against someone else’s insurer.

As a result, you have to pay for the damage to your vehicle and all associated medical costs out of pocket. Since these expenses can easily climb into the six-digit range, one incident with an irresponsible, uninsured driver can devastate you financially unless you have uninsured motorist coverage.

The Ability to Pay for Very Expensive Damages

Bare minimum auto insurance coverage in New Jersey is 15/30/5, which means up to $15,000 in coverage per person injured in an accident, $30,000 total in medical compensation for the whole accident and $5,000 for property damage coverage.

If you happen to get hit by someone with this minimum coverage but have one person severely injured, requiring an expensive ICU stay, then their medical costs alone could absorb far more than the $30,000 total available.

In this situation, underinsured motorist coverage can provide compensation for the excess costs. So, if you have $200,000 in underinsured motorist coverage, then the at-fault driver’s minimum policy will cover the full $30,000 and you will have up to $170,000 in coverage to pay for the remaining costs. As you can imagine, this coverage can be a literal life saver by opening up medical care and rehabilitation options that would otherwise require self-pay.

A Modest Bump in Your Insurance Costs

To an insurer, the risk of you getting in an accident with an at-fault driver who is uninsured or underinsured is far less than the risk of you causing an accident in general. Since insurers charge relative to their estimated risk, these odds mean that they often charge a nominal amount for adding UI/UIM coverage to your existing policy.

Just one simple cost could end up saving you tens of thousands of dollars or more.

Defending Your UI/UIM Claim with a Paterson Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been in an accident and want to make a claim under your UI/UIM policy, then you will need to understand the nuances of insurance law.

For instance, if you cannot reach a settlement with your insurer over a UI/UIM claim, you likely have to resort to a binding arbitration process rather than trial litigation. You also typically have a limited time window to make your claim — sometimes as little as 30 days.

To help increase the chances of a successful claim, you can entrust a Paterson car accident attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Peter N. Davis for a free consultation and to possibly start your claim today.