Car accidents can be stressful, particularly when you need to seek compensation for injuries, vehicle damage, and other expenses related to a crash. Maine is an at-fault state, which means that damages related to car accidents are the responsibility of the driver who caused the crash. Typically, when you’re involved in a collision in Maine, you file a claim with the at-fault motorist’s insurance policy and recover compensation for medical expenses, your vehicle repair or replacement, and lost wages from their insurer.
But what if the other motorist doesn’t have insurance or only has limited insurance coverage? What if it was a hit-and-run crash, and you have no way of finding the driver? That’s where uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage comes into play. Maine requires all motorists to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to use in the event that they are hit and injured by a driver who lacks insurance or whose insurance coverage is insufficient to pay for the accident.
Maine car accident team with Mann Law has almost two decades of experience defending the rights of victims of accidents caused by uninsured and underinsured drivers. We work tirelessly to get the full compensation that you need after an injury. Find out more in a free consultation today.
Uninsured motorist coverage protects drivers and their property in the event that the person who caused a crash has no insurance coverage.
Underinsured motorist coverage protects drivers and their property in the event that the at-fault party lacks sufficient coverage to cover the cost of all damages. For instance, if the at-fault driver’s policy has a $50,000 limit, but the damages amount to $75,000, then the injured driver’s insurer would pay the remaining $25,000.
UI/UM coverage can be used in situations such as:
Multiple vehicle accidents – Multiple vehicle collisions occur when three or more vehicles are involved in an incident. When there are multiple injured victims and damaged vehicles, the at-fault party’s insurance coverage must cover compensation for the victims, meaning you might receive only a portion of what you need to cover your expenses. In this case, your UI/UM coverage could cover the difference up to your policy limits.
Hit-and-run accidents – When a hit-and-run crash occurs, you may be unable to find the driver who caused it. That means you won’t be able to rely on their policy to cover your crash-related expenses. Hit-and-run drivers are considered uninsured under Maine state law. You can make a claim for your UI/UM coverage instead.
Extensive vehicle damage – If you’re involved in a serious accident that results in extensive vehicle damage, the at-fault driver’s policy might not cover all the damages. In this case, your UI/UM coverage can help pay for the cost of vehicle repairs that the underinsured driver’s coverage can’t.
Costly medical bills – Serious accidents can cause life-altering injuries. If you suffer a catastrophic injury such as spinal damage or paralysis, the at-fault driver’s policy might fail to cover the full extent of your medical expenses. Your UI/UM coverage could help pay for whatever the underinsured motorist’s coverage is too limited to cover.
All car insurance policies in Maine must include the minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage. Every policyholder must have a minimum coverage of $50,000 per motorist and $100,000 per accident, which is one of the highest minimums in the country.
State law also requires drivers to maintain coverage for a minimum of $25,000 in vehicular damage and $1,000 in medical expenses. Furthermore, Mainers must maintain the same amount of UI/UM coverage as liability coverage. UI/UM coverage in Maine extends to any passengers involved in the accident as well.
According to a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council, 12.6% of motorists, or about 1 in 8 people, were uninsured as of 2019. With so many uninsured drivers on the road, and many more underinsured, it’s important to protect yourself with UI/UM coverage.
If you are injured in a crash with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you might need to file a claim with your own insurer to recover compensation for damages that aren’t covered by the other driver’s policy. Remember: you’re entitled to financial compensation from your UI/UM insurance policy if the other driver’s coverage is insufficient.
There are several steps to take in order to claim the maximum compensation for damages you incurred because of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. They include:
Get a copy of the police report. – A law enforcement officer will come to the scene of most crashes and make a report. This official report usually includes an initial determination of fault, witness statements, notes about injuries and vehicle damage, and other pertinent information. You’ll need a copy of it when you speak with your insurer.
Keep detailed records. – Make a file of medical bills, prescription labels, physical therapy bills, vehicle repairs, and any other expenses related to the crash. It’s also a good idea to take photos at the scene and to get the contact info of anyone involved in or witness to the accident. Finally, consider keeping a pain journal in which you document your recovery process.
Consult with an attorney. – Claiming compensation for a crash caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver can be complex, so having a skilled attorney in your corner can be an asset. An attorney can advise you of your rights and craft a strategy to get the maximum possible compensation for your injuries and other expenses.
File a claim. – First, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If they are underinsured or uninsured, you would also need to file a claim with your own insurer for damages not covered by the other driver.
Did you know that your own auto insurance may contain “uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage” to compensate you for the uncovered losses? We talk with your insurance adjuster and take care of filing a personal injury claim to ensure your expenses are covered. We can say we’ve successfully handled hit and run and uninsured motorist claims in our practice for over 18 years.
Read more about the types of Hit And Run Laws and what you can do if you’ve been affected by a hit and run driver.
If you were injured in a crash caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver in Maine, the team at Mann Law will be ready to help. Whether you need assistance filing a claim with the at-fault motorist’s insurance policy or your own UI/UM policy, we’re ready to start your financial recovery. We can advise you of your legal options and protect your rights throughout the claims process. Contact us today for a free consultation.