What Happens When the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured?

Although car insurance is mandatory in Maryland, there are still many people on the road without car insurance. What happens when they cause an accident? Here, the legal experts at Doug T. Sachse Law explain the process upon learning your accident was caused by an uninsured driver.

According to the Insurance Research Council, a potential 13.8% of American drivers are without car insurance. A driver who chooses not to purchase car insurance is far more likely to take unsafe risks on the road, leading to more car accidents. It is important to know how to handle such a situation.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Along with general liability car insurance being mandatory, Maryland law states that all motorists must also have uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage (UM and UIM coverage). This will protect drivers in instances where they are hit by an uninsured driver, but also in cases of hit-and-run, as well as when the at-fault driver’s insurance is not enough to cover the payout of the claim. In Maryland, the minimum UM coverage a driver must have is $30,000 for bodily injury per person, $60,000 bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 for property damage.

In Maryland, drivers have three years from the date of an accident to make a UM or UIM claim. UM insurance will cover property damage, medical expenses, lost work wages, and “pain and suffering” damages. UIM insurance helps make up the difference if the at-fault driver’s policy does not provide enough coverage for all bills incurred due to the accident. This is important, as many insured drivers only have the minimum coverage required, which may not cover injuries and damage sustained in a serious accident.

Reporting Uninsured Drivers

Although not necessarily related to your claim, the Maryland Vehicle Association urges you to report uninsured drivers—it is free to do so, and can help save others the trouble of having to face your same situation. Uninsured drivers can be reported to the Insurance Compliance Division at the MVA Glen Burnie Office, where the report will then be investigated thoroughly.

Filing a Lawsuit

While you are able to file a lawsuit against an uninsured driver, it comes with specific challenges. Maryland is a “contributory negligence” state, which means that if the victim contributed even one percent to the accident occurring, they may not win. Controversy over contributory negligence aside, even success in court may not mean a large payout—those without insurance tend to have little in personal assets, meaning there might not be anything to collect even if you win your case.

The Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, now just Maryland Auto Insurance (MAIF), is working to solve the problem of uninsured drivers on Maryland’s roads. Those who do not qualify on the private market can obtain coverage through Maryland Auto Insurance. If you are involved in an accident where the at-fault driver is covered under Maryland Auto Insurance, you have the option to file a claim with MAIF to receive compensation for property damage, personal injury, and other costs.

Uninsured drivers create unique challenges for their victims, which means that having experienced representation is doubly critical. At Sachse Law, we work tirelessly to advocate for you in and out of the courtroom, and work to our fullest extent to ensure you get the justice you deserve. For more information, or for a free consultation, contact us today!

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