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Changes in Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Delaware

car wreck

In the last few years Delaware trial lawyers have been able to get the Delaware legislature to amend how to apply what is called underinsured motorist coverage. The result of doing that has been very much of a help to people who have been severely injured as a result of a motor vehicle collision.

For a long period of time, the law was you needed to have more underinsured motorist coverage than the person that struck you had in the way of insurance for causing a collision. Underinsured simply means that you have insurance if your injuries are greater than the amount of insurance for the person that caused the collision.

However, until three years ago, the courts have held that you must have a higher level of underinsured motorist coverage than the person had in the way of coverage for causing a collision in order to go after your own underinsured motorist coverage. An example would be, is if the person that struck you had $25,000.00 in insurance for causing a collision, and you had $15,000.00 or $25,000.00 of underinsured motorist coverage. Up until very recently you would not be able to go after your own underinsured motorist coverage for that $15,000.00 or $25,000.00 because you did not have more insurance than the person that struck you. Thanks to the legislature with the help of Delaware trial lawyers, that has now changed.

Under the same situation that I stated above, if you had $25,000.00 of underinsured and the other person had $25,000.00 of insurance for causing the collision, you would be able to get the $25,000.00 from the person that struck you. Furthermore, if your injuries are worth more than $25,000.00 you would now be able to go after you own underinsured motorist coverage for $25,000.00. Therefore, you would have $50,000.00 of insurance as opposed to $25,000.0 under the law as it was up until three years ago.

Of one note, try to get as much uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that you can afford. The minimum limits in Delaware are $15,000.00 if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and to go up to $25,000.00 or higher is not that much more. You should always ask your agent or insurance company how much it would be for $25,000.00, $50,000.00, $75,000.00 or $100,000.00 of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you can not afford it then you can not do it. If you can, it just takes one person’s failure to follow the rules of the road that you cause you a lot of problems.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists—Options for Recovery

When you have been injured in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence, the first place you typically look is the other party’s insurer. Even when you submit a claim to your own insurance company, your insurer will typically seek reimbursement from the at-fault party’s carrier. What happens, though, if you suffer a personal injury in an accident with an uninsured driver, or the at-fault party doesn’t have enough liability insurance to cover your losses?

The first step is to look at your own auto insurance policy to see if you have coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists. This type of coverage is almost universally offered, but generally as a rider to your policy. You customarily have to proactively elect the coverage and pay an additional premium to obtain it.

It’s important to remember that an insurance policy is a contract. As such, it can be difficult to read, and you may be challenged to determine whether you have uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage and, if so, how much you have. Don’t expect your agent to take the initiative to tell you about the coverage, either. Insurance companies make money by minimizing the amount they pay in claims. You are best to hire an attorney to review your policy and help you get all benefits to which you are entitled.

Another approach when you have been hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver—look for another potentially responsible party. Was the accident caused by a faulty or defective tire, brake or other car part? Was the at-fault party under the influence of alcohol? Was there a roadway defect that caused or contributed to the crash?

Contact Attorney Michael J. Hood

For a private meeting, contact us by e-mail or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no cost for your first consultation.

Seeking Compensation After a Hit and Run Accident

When You Are Hurt in an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver

When you have been in an automobile accident, one of your first steps is typically to contact the insurance provider for the other driver. But what if you don’t know who the other driver was? What if you sustained injuries in a hit and run accident? Are you without recourse to seek compensation for your losses? The answer is most often no.

In Delaware, as in all states, automobile insurance carriers customarily offer what is known as uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage. It is typically optional and, in most instances, will appear as a rider on your policy. If you have this type of coverage, you can seek reimbursement directly from your own insurance company, should you be in an accident with a driver who carries no insurance or not enough insurance to cover your losses. You can also use this provision to seek coverage when you cannot identify who caused your injuries.

You may or may not be able to find it if you review your policy after an accident. In addition, your insurance company may not be too helpful in assisting you with an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim. An experienced lawyer can review your policy and identify quickly whether you are entitled to this coverage.
You may also want to investigate whether there are other parties who may be potentially liable, parties who have the resources to cover your losses. For example, road conditions may have contributed to your accident, or there may have been a traffic light out. There may have been problems with your car, stemming either from design or manufacturing errors, or faulty work by a mechanic.

At the law office of Michael J. Hood, LLC, we will use our three decades of experience to help you get full and fair compensation for all your losses, including wages and income, medical bills, physical pain and suffering and loss of companionship. We handle all types of serious and catastrophic loss, including brain or spinal cord injury, broken bones, paralysis, burns, permanent scarring or disfigurement, and amputation or loss of limb. We also take wrongful death claims.

Contact Attorney Michael J. Hood

For a private meeting, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no cost for your first consultation.

When You Are Hurt in an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver

Often, after suffering injuries in a motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence or carelessness of another driver, your first course of action is to seek reimbursement and compensation from the other driver’s insurance provider. But what are your options when the other driver carries coverage for property damage only, or, worse yet, is driving without insurance (even though that’s a violation of the law).

In Delaware, as in other state, insurers typically offer what is known as uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage. It typically appears as a rider on your policy, and allows you to seek reimbursement directly from your own insurance company, in the event the “at-fault” party either has no insurance, or does not have enough coverage to cover your losses. It’s usually offered at an additional premium, and most insurance agents will carefully explain what it is and how much it will increase your premium. You may or may not be able to find it if you review your policy after an accident. In addition, your insurance company may not be too helpful in assisting you with an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim. You are best served to have an experienced lawyer review your policy and act as your liaison with insurers.

Another option when you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver is to investigate the likelihood that there are other potentially liable third parties who have the resources to cover your losses. For example, even though the other driver may have been speeding or driving recklessly, there may also have been potholes or other roadway defects that contributed to the accident. The other driver’s vehicle may have been negligently designed or manufactured, or even serviced improperly by a garage or mechanic, leading to defects that caused or contributed to the accident.

At the law office of Michael J. Hood, LLC, we will use our three decades of experience to help you get full and fair compensation for all your losses, including wages and income, medical bills, physical pain and suffering and loss of companionship. We handle all types of serious and catastrophic loss, including brain or spinal cord injury, broken bones, paralysis, burns, permanent scarring or disfigurement, and amputation or loss of limb. We also take wrongful death claims.

Contact Attorney Michael J. Hood

For a private meeting, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no cost for your first consultation.