What is an Uninsured motorist claim?
When you are involved in an accident that is the fault of another driver who either has no insurance or not enough insurance or has statutory immunity, you may be able to file a claim with your insurance company. If you are successful, then your insurance company will step in and pay some or all of your claim as if they insured the at fault vehicle. You will not be penalized for filing the uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company. Your rates cannot be raised and you will not be cancelled for claims paid under this portion of your policy. Even if your insurance company pays under the uninsured motorist portion of your policy, the at fault party will still be responsible, as your insurance company will likely sue the uninsured motorist to collect back the money they had to pay to you.
How Do You Collect Uninsured Motorist Benefits?
The injured insured has three alternatives when pursuing a claim involving an uninsured motorist:
- He or she may sue the at fault party in tort, obtain a judgment and then enforce the judgment against the UM insurer.
- The injured insured may sue the UM insurer and, as part of his or her case, prove that the at fault party’s negligence proximately caused his or her injuries.
- The injured insured may combine the tort and contract claims in a single action.
Proving the vehicle is uninsured
Proving that a vehicle has no insurance can be difficult, and basically akin to proving a negative. The claimant’s burden, is to prove that it is more likely that the vehicle had no insurance. To satisfy this burden usually requires testimony from the at fault party that he or she did not maintain insurance on the vehicle is certainly sufficient, or testimony of that nature from a spouse or other close relative. Testimony from an insurance agent showing that the insurance policy had been canceled before the accident would also be compelling, and evidence from other sources, such as insurance adjusters and the Motor Vehicle Administration, may be sufficient.