FAQs: Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers

August 10, 2023 | By Impact Legal Car Accident Attorneys
FAQs: Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers

It can be infuriating when you are in an accident, especially if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured. Unfortunately, this happens all of the time despite laws that intend to deter it. In New Mexico, specifically, it's estimated that drivers have about a 1 in 5 chance of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver. 

In this article, we'll review some frequently asked questions regarding accidents with at-fault uninsured drivers. If you've been a victim of a car accident caused by an uninsured driver, you may have various legal options, depending on the facts of the case. To schedule a free case review, call or text our car accident lawyers in Arizona or New Mexico. If you're in Arizona, you can reach us at NUMBER. If you're in New Mexico, you can reach us at (602) 345-1818. Alternatively, you may fill out this online form to request your free consultation

What Happens After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?

You may have a few legal options if you've been in an accident with an uninsured driver:

  1. File a claim with your own insurance - Most policies include uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which helps you recover in the event you are in an accident with a person who has no insurance or in a hit-and-run accident where the at-fault driver leaves the scene. 
  2. File a personal injury claim against the at-fault party - Instead of filing an insurance claim against the at-fault party's insurer, you may be able to file an injury claim directly against the actual uninsured driver. However, this is not the most common scenario as the uninsured driver may not have sufficient money or assets to cover the damages. 
  3. If the uninsured driver was borrowing the car - You may be able to file an insurance claim against the actual owner's insurance policy. The insurance policy typically follows the vehicle, not the driver. 
  4. Other forms of insurance may help - Depending on your policy, you may have other forms of insurance that could help you recuperate losses after a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, such as Medical Payments Insurance. 

What's the Difference Between an Uninsured Motorist and an Underinsured One?

While uninsured motorists have no insurance on their vehicles, underinsured motorists have too little coverage. Underinsured drivers will usually hold the state's minimum insurance requirement, but it won't be enough to cover the extent of the damages. 

Do I Need to Get Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage is not a requirement in Arizona or New Mexico, but we highly recommend that you purchase it. It can be a saving grace if you are ever in need of it. Some scenarios where uninsured motorist insurance can help include:

  1. You're in an accident with an at-fault uninsured driver
  2. You're in an accident with an at-fault driver who doesn't have enough liability coverage to compensate you for the damage
  3. You're in a hit-and-run accident and are unable to obtain insurance information from the at-fault driver
  4. In the above cases, having uninsured motorist coverage can vastly protect you. 

What's the Minimum Amount of Insurance Required?

The minimum amount of coverage you're required to have depends on the state in which you live. In Arizona, the minimum requirement of liability coverage is $25,000 in bodily injury liability for one person, $50,000 for two or more persons, and $15,000 for property damage liability. 

In New Mexico, the minimum requirement is $25,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person, $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons, and $10,000 for property damage in any one accident.

It's important to note again that often underinsured drivers do carry the minimum requirements, but it's not enough to cover damages. 

When Should I Hire a Car Accident Attorney?

If you've been in an accident, you should consult a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Consulting with a car accident lawyer in New Mexico or Arizona is a good first step if you are unsure what to do after an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. While turning to your own insurance coverage may be the only option, an experienced attorney can help you understand the available options, navigate any next steps, and negotiate with your insurance provider. If filing a lawsuit is a good route, your lawyer will provide you with that information after examining the facts of your case. If you've found yourself in this unfortunate situation, give us a call or text today to set up an initial free consultation. You can reach us at (602) 345-1818, or fill out our convenient online contact form

The information in this article is for general information only, and it is not intended to serve as actual legal advice. For legal advice regarding your specific situation, call or text Impact Legal to set up an appointment.