Uninsured and Under-insured Motorist Insurance (UM/UIM)
A car accident can be a devastating experience for you and your loved ones. Medical bills may be on the way for care that you've already received, future medical appointments may be needed, and you may be unable to work or resume everyday activities due to injuries. Even worse, you may be suffering the loss of a loved one due to the accident.
An experienced auto accident attorney can help you to recover financial compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance company, but what if:
- the at-fault driver does not have insurance?
- the accident is a hit-and-run (in other words, the at-fault driver left the scene of the accident)?
- the at-fault driver has auto insurance, but the liability limits are not sufficient to cover your damages (in other words, the at-fault driver is under-insured)?
If you find yourself in any of these scenarios, it's worth it to schedule a free consultation with a reputable personal injury attorney who is familiar with uninsured and under-insured motorist claims. Read on to learn more about what uninsured motorist and under-insured motorist insurance is, or click one of the buttons below to schedule a free consultation with trusted personal injury attorney Rob Baskerville.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM) is designed to compensate you for damages resulting from a car accident when the at-fault driver does not have an auto insurance policy, does not have enough liability coverage to pay for your damages (under-insured), or flees the scene of the accident and cannot be identified.
New Mexico Ranks 3rd Worst in the U.S. for Uninsured and Under-insured Drivers
Normally, if the collision was not your fault, you would file a claim with the at-fault driver's auto insurance company. This would begin the process of getting your vehicle repaired or totaled out and (hopefully) recovering financial compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages.
Unfortunately...sometimes, the at-fault driver is uninsured.
You may be thinking: "Isn’t it legally required for New Mexico drivers to have auto insurance?"
Yes, it is legally required for drivers to be insured in New Mexico. HOWEVER, many drivers disregard the law.
Sadly, New Mexico ranks among the worst states for uninsured motorists.
In fact, New Mexico is the 3rd worst in the United States according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC). The chart below was published by the IRC and is from the latest data set available (2015). The chart footnote explains that the data is the percentage of uninsured drivers as measured by the ratio of uninsured motorists (UM) claims to bodily injury (BI) claim frequencies.
While an estimated 1 out of every 7 drivers in the United States is uninsured (approximately 14.3%), an estimated 20.8% of drivers in New Mexico are uninsured. That's more than 1 out of every 5 drivers on the road.
When the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured, Underinsured, or Flees the Scene:
When the at-fault driver is uninsured, there is often no insurance coverage from which to recover monetary compensation for your injuries and damages unless you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
The same can be true if the accident is a hit and run and the at-fault driver cannot be identified.
This can make an already bad situation worse, placing the financial burdens caused by the collision on you.
The same result is often true when the at-fault driver is under-insured. You may financially recover up to the at-fault driver's policy limits; however, depending upon the value of your case, you may still be left with a heavy financial burden if the at-fault driver's policy limits are not sufficient enough to make you whole.
We Recommend UM Insurance for Our Clients
As already explained, when you have UM/UIM insurance coverage, an experienced auto accident attorney can still recover financial compensation for your injuries and damages from your own auto insurance provider even when the at-fault driver is uninsured or under-insured.
For this reason, we often recommend uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage for clients, family, and friends. It serves as an extra layer of protection.
While uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is an additional expense - and, yes, we know how expensive auto insurance can already be - we've seen UM/UIM coverage worth its weight in gold time after time.
Just imagine for a second the pain of the following scenario:
You're injured in a car accident (or even worse, a loved one is lost due to the collision). The accident was caused by someone else. You need medical treatment for injuries caused by the accident, and you have a lot of medical expenses. On top of the bills piling up, you can't work due to your injuries. In the latter scenario, you just suffered the loss of a loved one. Not only do you need time away from work, but you may have also lost someone dear to you who may have happened to make a large portion of your household income.
You find out that the other driver does not have insurance. There is no other viable source of financial recovery. You do not have uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage.
On top of the physical and emotional hurt inflicted upon you and/or your family, you are now responsible for all expenses resulting from the accident, including future expenses and any future loss of income. This could equate to thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. And, how can you place a value on the life of the person who was taken from you prematurely?
We've seen the extremely unfortunate scenarios that we spelled out for you. And these scenarios are excruciatingly painful to witness. I can only imagine the shock and pain of experiencing this scenario in my own life. The hardest part of our job is telling a broken family or severely injured client that, after exploring every possible option, there is no monetary source of recovery to pursue.
It's not fair. It's not right. But it happens. And it happens a lot.
So, please remember:
Uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage can provide compensation for damages including, but not limited to:
- property damage
- medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident
- wages lost due to inability to work
- pain and suffering that you've endured
UM/UIM coverage may also cover injuries that are sustained by your passengers in the accident.
Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Required in New Mexico?
Many states have laws that require uninsured motorist bodily injury insurance. New Mexico does not. While it is legally required for auto insurance companies to offer uninsured motorist coverage, it is not currently mandatory for drivers in New Mexico to carry it.
That said, many auto insurance policy holders are either not made aware of uninsured motorist and under-insured motorist coverage or do not understand what it is.
What Should You Do After an Accident with an Uninsured Motorist in Albuquerque?
Refer to our list of recommended steps to take after a car accident. You can also view a brief video of Rob Baskerville sharing 5 things you can do after a collision on KOB Good Day New Mexico.
To summarize, at minimum, you should:
- Call the police and wait for them to arrive on-scene to file a traffic accident report.
- Exchange registration and contact information with the other driver(s).
- Take photos of the scene of the accident, including damage to your vehicle.
- Take photos of resulting injuries, as appropriate.
- Seek appropriate medical attention as soon as possible for any injuries.
- Consult with an experienced auto accident lawyer who handles uninsured motorist claims.
Not Sure if You Have Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist Coverage?
Take a good look at your policy and verify the coverage that you have with your auto insurance company. A representative from your insurance company should be able to provide you with detailed information about available uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and associated costs. We highly recommend speaking with your auto insurance agent about adding uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and selecting coverage in an amount that is right for you and your family.
How Can Our Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyer Help?
If you were injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you'll likely need to file a claim with your own insurance company to recover financial compensation for your damages. Even though the claim is with your own insurance company, it's unlikely that they will voluntarily pay out the full and fair amount for your damages.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses with a bottom line, and they attempt to keep their profits as high as possible by minimizing the amount that they pay out for auto insurance claims.
In many cases, representation by an experienced personal injury attorney proves very helpful in getting the insurance company to make a fair settlement offer for an uninsured or under-insured motorist claim.
Baskerville Law LLC begins by meeting with you for a free, no obligation consultation. If we represent you, we thoroughly investigate and evaluate the accident and your case, help you to get your vehicle repaired or totaled out, help you to get appropriate medical treatment for your injuries, and help you to recover fair compensation for your damages and losses.
Consult with an Uninsured Motorist Lawyer in Albuquerque, NM
Our highly rated and experienced New Mexico car accident attorney has helped hundreds of clients to recover fair compensation for their losses due to the recklessness of another driver. Give us a call today at (505) 247-2774 to speak directly with our owner/attorney, Rob Baskerville or submit a Free Consultation Request Form. Rob can answer questions about your auto accident injury case and provide you with guidance regarding your particular situation free of charge.
Cases our Albuquerque Uninsured Driver Accident Lawyer Handles
Baskerville Law LLC handles motor-vehicle related personal injury and wrongful death claims, including those resulting from:
- car accidents
- truck accidents
- motorcycle accidents
- hit-and-run accidents
- automobile involved bicycle accidents
- automobile involved pedestrian accidents
- drunk driving accidents