What You Need to Know About Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you get into a West Virginia car accident, you should be able to count on insurance coverage for your damages and injuries. However, many negligent drivers do not have insurance. If you are struck by a careless or reckless driver and they do not have insurance, you need to know exactly what uninsured motorist coverage is.
- For the latest reporting year in West Virginian, there were 268 traffic accident fatalities and 1,381 serious traffic injuries.
- There were thousands of other minor injuries due to traffic accidents.
Vehicle accidents can become expensive in terms of both property damage and injury expenses. Adequate insurance coverage is vital in these situations.
Am I required to have uninsured motorist coverage in West Virginia?
West Virginia law requires all drivers to carry $25,000 per person ($50,000 per accident) in uninsured motorist coverage. $25,000 in property damage coverage is also required.
Do I have to file an uninsured motorist claim with my insurance provider?
You will find out very quickly if the driver who caused your crash does not have insurance. If the police investigate the incident, they will let you know at the scene whether the other driver does not have coverage. You should always call the police to the scene of an accident to ensure that an official report is filed, even if you do not think there are any injuries or major damage. Be sure to obtain a copy of any report related to the crash.
You have a few options if you are struck by a driver and they have no insurance coverage. You could pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, though this is unlikely to be successful. If a driver does not have insurance, they likely cannot pay for your expenses out-of-pocket. At this point, you or your West Virginia car accident attorney should contact your insurance company to file an uninsured motorist claim to recoup your expenses.
What is the difference between this and underinsured motorist coverage?
Underinsured motorist coverage works similarly to uninsured motorist coverage. If the person who causes your accident does not have enough insurance to cover all of your damages or expenses, your underinsured motorist coverage can cover additional expenses.
However, unlike uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage is not required by law. This is additional coverage that you must purchase with your insurance company before an accident occurs.
Can I use uninsured motorist coverage in a hit-and-run incident?
Uninsured motorist coverage will also kick in if a hit-and-run driver strikes you. These claims will be treated as if you were struck by an uninsured driver. Chances are, a hit-and-run driver will not have insurance anyway. However, if the police later catch the hit-and-run driver and you discover they do have insurance, your insurance company will pursue reimbursement for your expenses.
What if I am struck by an uninsured driver while walking or biking?
Nearly every pedestrian and bicycle crash result in an injury or a fatality. Many people do not realize that they can use car insurance for these accidents. If you are a pedestrian or bicyclist who is struck by an uninsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver, you can use your personal insurance to seek compensation for your injury expenses. These claims will be made just like regular vehicle accident claims.