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What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage and How Does it Work?

In the state of Maryland, the minimum amount of liability coverage that is required by state law is:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person,
  • $60,000 bodily injury per accident; and
  • $15,000 in property damage coverage.

While liability coverage is mandatory, there are people who unfortunately still refuse to get the required insurance, or in some cases, their coverage may have lapsed or their insurer denied the claim. Where does that leave you, the not-at-fault party who now has no recourse for financial reimbursement?

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is a separate insurance coverage that you can get on your own policy that protects you if you are involved in an accident with someone else who does not have insurance. Or, the other driver may have fled the scene and you do not have his or her information, making it a hit-and-run collision. You have to carry at least the liability limits of 30/60/15 as required for standard liability coverage, but you may elect to carry higher limits as well.

Purchasing high liability and uninsured motorist coverage is important. If you only carry the state minimums and are alone in the vehicle at the time of accident with over $50,000 in medical bills, the maximum insurance your company will pay out is $30,000.

How to Make an Uninsured Motorist Claim

You would file a claim with your insurance carrier just like with a normal incident where the other party is identifiable and insured. The primary difference here is that your own carrier steps into the shoes of the at-fault party, and this essentially becomes a third-party claim, versus a first-party claim. This means that your insurance company does not automatically pay out limits just because you are their insured. In fact, if they find you partially at fault, you would collect nothing.

An uninsured motorist claim is just like a third-party liability claim, so the claim will be open as long as you are still seeking treatment. They will assess whether your injuries warranted as much treatment as you received, as well as negotiate on the pain and suffering they feel you were owed. You may or may not agree with their figures, which is why it is important to have a competent Maryland auto accident attorney representing you.

Statute of Limitations

Like third-party liability claims, uninsured motorist claims are subject to the same statute of limitations. That means that a complaint for benefits must be filed in a Maryland court within three years from when the insured knew, or should have known, that he or she had a claim for uninsured motorist benefits. This is another reason why having a Charles County personal injury attorney is important. We make sure all legal deadlines are monitored and a complaint is filed, thereby preserving the statute of limitations. If you fail to file a complaint within the three-year time limit, your own insurance company is not legally obligated to pay anything for your uninsured motorist claim.

Maryland Auto Accident Attorneys

If you have been in an auto accident with an uninsured driver, contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at 301-705-5253 for a consultation or visit our website at www.maryland-injurylawers.com.

This article has been provided by Law office of Robert Castro. For more information or questions contact our office to speak to an experienced lawyer at (301)870-1200.

Law office of Robert Castro. 2670 Crain Highway #411, Waldorf, MD 20601. (301)870-1200

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