As of 2019, United States roadways gave passage to 28 million uninsured drivers. That is one out of eight motorists nationwide.
Fortunately for Minnesotans, our state ranks lower than the national average. There were approximately 336,000 uninsured motorists (UMs) in our state in 2019, representing nearly one out of ten drivers on our roadways.
But unfortunately for everyone, UMs pose a greater threat to public safety. They have a 34 percent higher probability of causing an accident than drivers who purchase auto insurance. We cannot presume too much about this statistic, but it does suggest that irresponsible decision making is a pattern for some people.
You cannot force others to purchase auto insurance. Even the Minnesota state government, which requires all drivers to carry auto insurance, cannot compel all motorists to make the right choice. If you are struck and injured by a UM, your decisions will determine whether you can expect fair compensation.
Make Certain You Have Adequate Uninsured Motorist Insurance benefits.
In addition to liability and personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, Minnesota state law requires vehicle owners to purchase UM and underinsured motorist coverages. Choosing a policy with adequate uninsured motorist benefits (no less than $100,000.00 per person) is crucial to securing compensation for any damages you may incur as the result of an uninsured motorist’s actions.
UM coverage goes into effect when you (or any occupant of the insured vehicle) are injured by the negligent driving of the operator of an uninsured vehicle. In essence, UM coverage benefits substitute for the insurance claim you would have brought against the other driver’s insurance provider if they had one. Recoverable damages include pain and suffering, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity.
Follow the Correct Steps After a Collision With an Uninsured Motorist
Taking the right steps after a collision with a UM can only increase your odds of receiving full and fair compensation for your injuries.
- Call the police. If you are physically able to do so, you should always contact the proper authorities immediately after a collision. A police report is even more crucial when the collision involves a UM, as it can contain information the other party may be unwilling to verify.
- Refuse money from the other motorist. The UM may be eager to avoid legal penalties for their actions. If they offer you cash to let the incident slide, politely decline it. Even if they do pay (which is uncertain to happen, given their decisions which led to their predicament), their offer is unlikely to make you whole again.
- Request contact information. The UM may be reluctant to give you their contact information. Insist on it anyway. If they wind up giving you false information, you will be even more glad you already called the police. Make certain to collect contact information from willing eyewitnesses as well. Their accounts of the incident can greatly facilitate the upcoming insurance claim process.
- Record details. Record as many details about the collision as you are able. Photograph the other driver’s license plate, Driver’s license and vehicle identification number (VIN), as well as surrounding traffic signs and other roadway features. Write down the time and location of the collision, as well as the names and badge numbers of responding officers.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Once you have collected all of the information that pertains to the collision, it is time to relay it all to your insurance provider. Facilitate the claim process by indicating that the other driver was uninsured.
You likely wouldn’t want to wait longer to act, but many insurers write short time limitations to bring an uninsured motorist claim. Do not simply assume you have 6 years to bring a claim, as is the case against an insured negligent motorist. Consult an attorney immediately, who can review your insurance policy to identify any shortened limitation period.
It is imperative to engage an auto injury attorney as soon as you are able following the collision. They will streamline the insurance claim process and allow you to focus on your rehabilitation and recovery from serious injuries. Your attorney will also negotiate on your behalf, after exploring the full breadth of your damages to assure that you receive the settlement which actually makes you whole – not the one which saves your insurance provider money.
If you have recently been injured as the result of an uninsured motorist’s actions, please contact Kiernan Personal Injury Attorneys today for a free, zero-obligation consultation. We fight for our clients’ rights every day throughout the state of Minnesota!