As of 2010, current law in Louisiana requires drivers to maintain insurance coverage for Bodily Injury Liability. The minimum amount is $15,000 per injured party, $30,000 per accident (more than one person injured in the accident), and $25,000 for property damage. These minimums may be referred to as “full coverage” even though they are clearly not always capable of covering even minor medical bills. When a party does maintain minimum coverage they may be considered underinsured depending upon the extent of injuries suffered by the victims of his negligence or may be even uninsured entirely.
It is estimated that the rate of uninsured motorists on Louisiana roads is approximately 13%. This number is slightly under the national average of 13.8% but still presents a major threat to uninsured and insured drivers alike.
If a driver’s expenses are not covered by a form of insurance they must be provided for by the driver, typically out-of-pocket. Lower monthly premiums through rejection or underinsurance, thus, come with a severe more costly risk.
How it works:
Consider this example. A careful driver has “full coverage” and, accordingly, is acting within the scope of the law. The driver operates his vehicle carefully but one day a negligent driver crashes into the careful driver, totaling the vehicle and injuring careful driver and his passenger. The careful driver has coverage up to $30,000 for himself and his passenger, but the rest will need to be satisfied by the negligent driver’s insurance. Should the negligent driver be uninsured, the driver and passenger will have a costly medical bill as well physical and mental injuries that will go uncompensated. However, if the careful driver carried uninsured motorist insurance, the insurance coverage could be used to compensate the victims for lost wages, medical bills, mental pain and suffering and a host of other losses that were occasioned by the accident. Furthermore, a negligent driver may be underinsured and the careful driver’s uninsured motorist coverage may offer greater protection.
A major instance when such coverage becomes vital is for hit-and-run accidents. Hit-and-run accidents occur when a driver, regardless of fault, flees the scene of an accident leaving the other driver to rely on their own insurance policy. In the absence of a responsible party, uninsured motorist insurance may extend, but the existence of certain identifying information, such as a license plate ID, may cause the insurance company to deny dipping into uninsured insurance until a judgment is sought against the supposedly responsible party. In such instances, a qualified attorney can provide the insights in how to proceed in such an action.
One feature of UM coverage is that it provides protection for covered drivers even when they are pedestrians!!! How wonderful is that type of coverage! So, if an innocent pedestrian is strolling through the French Quarter and an errant driver losses control of his vehicle hitting the pedestrian, there will be coverage. Most folks don’t know about the valuable feature of UM coverage.
Rejection of coverage
The uninsured motorist clause will likely be found as a provision in a driver’s insurance policy. Having such coverage will slightly increase the driver’s insurance premium. The driver would then be entitled to the difference between the amount the uninsured driver could pay and what the policy-holding driver would receive if the uninsured driver had minimum auto insurance. One must specifically sign a rejection of uninsured motorist coverage, otherwise they are presumed to have agreed to it.
The types of uninsured coverage are: Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD), Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UM), and Uninsured Motorist Economic-only coverage. UMPD will cover automobile damage and repairs as a result of the accident. UM will extend to cover injuries suffered by the driver and passengers as a result of the accident. Finally, Economic-only coverage only covers costs, not non-monetary damages such as pain and suffering or quality of life damages.
We at Cardone Law understand the troublesome and confusing world of insurance navigation. If you or a loved one are suffering as a result of an auto accident, whether insured or uninsured, contact us for a free and confidential consultation to protect your rights and limit potential liabilities.
Injured? Phone Cardone. 1-888-89-CARDONE (1-888-892-2736).