Top Car Accident Lawyers Handling Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Claims in Maryland
Experienced help for those injured in collisions with uninsured or hit-and-run drivers
Car insurance is mandatory in Maryland, yet a considerable amount of people drive their cars, trucks, or motorcycles with either no insurance or not enough insurance coverage. Being involved in an accident due to the negligence of an uninsured motorist could end up costing an innocent driver thousands of dollars or more, which is why it’s the law in Maryland for all drivers to carry uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage on their car insurance.
This coverage protects you in the event you’re injured in a collision with a motorist with no insurance, or with a hit-and-run driver where it’s impossible to track down the motorist and get their insurance information. If you sustain an injury in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver in Maryland, our lawyers are ready to help. Plaxen & Adler, P.A. has helped protect drivers, passengers, pedestrians and other injury victims for more than 30 years. Let us help you, too.
Uninsured motorist coverage in Maryland
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if someone without insurance causes damage to your vehicle or property, or injures you and your passengers. This coverage also kicks in if someone who caused an auto accident leaves the scene without identifying themselves. Your UM coverage should cover repairs, medical expenses, any lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Simply put, this means that your own insurance company will step in for the at-fault motorist’s lack of coverage. You’ll receive the amount of coverage you’ve put on your policy, which is why it’s not in your best interest to carry only the minimum amount of UM, even though it may seem less expensive up front. For example, if you carry $50,000 of UM on your car insurance policy, that’s all you’ll receive from your insurance company, even if your injuries exceed $100,000 or more. It’s important to take a good look at your insurance policy before you purchase it, and—even more important—review it from time to time with your personal injury attorney.
What is underinsured motorist coverage?
Underinsured motorist coverage is a little different. Here in Maryland, the minimal requirement for liability coverage on car insurance is only $30,000, meaning that if the person that hit you only has the minimum, there is only $30,000 available on their insurance to cover your injuries. Maybe that’s enough for a fender-bender or minor accident, but if you’ve suffered major injuries that will require lengthy medical care, that’s simply not enough. This is where your UIM coverage comes in.
Your underinsured motorist coverage takes over where the other motorist’s insurance leaves off. Here’s an example. Your losses from the accident were $150,00, but the at-fault motorist only had $30,000 in liability coverage. That’s a coverage gap of $120,000. Your own UIM coverage is $100,000. The way the law currently works is that $100,000 is your total limit of recovery, meaning you can collect the $30,000 from the other motorist, but only $70,000 from your own policy (totaling $100,000). You’re left with a gap of $50,000 in losses that won’t be reimbursed by insurance.
Sound confusing or unfair? Starting in July 2018, insured motorists will no longer have to subtract that money, under Md. Insurance Code § 19-509.10.
Enhanced underinsured motorist coverage
Passed in October 2017 and effective July 2018, Maryland insurance laws are changing. Starting on July 1, when you purchase a vehicle insurance policy (including motorcycles), the insurer will be required to offer a new type of insurance called enhanced underinsured motorist coverage (EUIM).
EUIM eliminates the gap from UIM. Instead, EUIM will allow policyholders to “stack” their policies on top of an at-fault driver’s policy limit. So, if we go back to our previous example, you would not only be able to collect the at-fault driver’s $30,000, but also your entire policy limit of $100,000—giving you $130,000 instead of $100,000. As you can see, this is a much better outcome than the original payout of $100,000.
It’s important to note that EUIM is not automatic, and must be elected in writing by the insured. It’s mandatory, however, that carriers offer this coverage to all new policyholders starting July 1, 2018, and on all renewals starting October 1, 2017. Policyholders can opt-in to EUIM at their level of liability coverage or at a lower level with a waiver. Once you choose EUIM, it will automatically renew unless you specifically change it.
When your insurance company denies your claim
It’s important to remember that just because you have insurance, it doesn’t mean your insurance company will pay out. You may find they are reluctant to give you the money you’re owed. It’s crucial you have a premier law firm on your side like Plaxen & Adler, P.A. to fight for your rights. A serious car accident can cause months or years of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You shouldn’t have to shoulder those losses alone.
Providing skilled counsel for the people of Maryland for more than 30 years
If you’re injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, we want to help. At Plaxen & Adler, P.A., we protect the rights of injury and auto accident victims throughout Maryland. You can trust us to fight for your best interests. To learn more, or to schedule a free consultation, please call 410-988-4449 or fill out our contact form.