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Car Accidents Involving Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists

Posted on September 20, 2019 in

In Arizona, all drivers are legally required to purchase an auto insurance policy. However, many drivers don’t adhere to this law, instead choosing to operate a vehicle without insurance. In addition, many drivers only purchase a policy that meets the minimum coverage required by law.

When you’re injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver or by someone with only minimum coverage, it can be an uphill battle to recover compensation for your damages. In these situations, it is crucial to work with an experienced Cottonwood car accident attorney who can help protect your rights every step of the way.

The attorneys at the Jensen Phelan Law Firm have been fighting for the rights of car accident victims for over 40 years. We’ve handled many cases involving uninsured or underinsured motorists, and we can help you maximize the value of your compensation.

Minimum Liability Coverage in Arizona May not Fully Compensate You for Your Injuries

man being placed in an ambulance after a car accident with an underinsured driverArizona has established certain minimum levels of liability coverage that all drivers must carry as part of their insurance policy. Liability coverage is the part of your policy which pays for the injuries and property damage sustained by others in an accident which you cause.

All drivers in Arizona must carry an insurance policy that meets or exceeds the following minimum levels of coverage:

  • Bodily injury liability – $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability – $10,000
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage – $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident
  • Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage – $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident

While it may be tempting to stick to these minimum levels of coverage in order to keep your insurance premiums at a more affordable level, this strategy can potentially place you at risk of losing personal assets in a lawsuit if someone else is injured in a car accident where you are at fault. By choosing a policy with higher coverage values, you can protect yourself against this possibility.

This scenario can also work against you if you are injured by a driver with minimum coverage levels. In the event of a serious injury, $15,000 is most likely not going to be enough to pay for all of your medical bills and lost wages. Diagnostic exams such as an MRI can cost several thousand dollars. If you have to be transported by ambulance to an emergency room after the accident, the cost of these services can be very expensive as well. If you need to undergo major surgery and a lengthy rehab process, it’s likely that these bills will far surpass the $15,000 covered by the minimum levels of insurance mandated by law.

In these situations, you may need to pursue other avenues to recover the remainder of the compensation required to pay for your expenses. The attorneys at the Jensen Phelan Law Firm can help you explore these other options, which may include seeking benefits provided by your own insurance policy and/or filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Can Offset these Expenses

auto insurance claim form used after a car accident with an underinsured driverIn Arizona, all drivers are required to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of their insurance policy. This aspect of your insurance plan provides you with financial benefits in the event that the negligent driver’s policy doesn’t adequately cover the total costs of your injuries. These benefits can be used to pay for:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Any other damages you suffered as part of your injury

It’s important to understand that your insurance company will only compensate you up to the limits of the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage you have selected when purchasing your policy. If you choose the minimum levels of this coverage ($15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident), your benefits may not be enough to offset the remainder of your expenses if you’re injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

For this reason, we recommend that you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage well above the minimum required amount. This is an important protection that can help you avoid serious financial hardship in the event of a catastrophic car accident injury.

Filing a Lawsuit Against the Negligent Driver

In situations where the negligent driver’s insurance plan and your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage fail to adequately cover your damages, you may be able to seek additional compensation from the negligent driver in a personal injury lawsuit. While this is an important avenue to pursue, it’s important to understand that many drivers who choose minimum levels of insurance coverage do so because they lack the financial means to pay for more robust coverage.

Often, the negligent driver’s limited financial assets may make recovering adequate compensation in a lawsuit somewhat challenging. This is why it’s crucial to work with an experienced attorney who can help you leverage all potential avenues of compensation.

Jensen Phelan Law Firm Can Help

Recovering fair compensation for your damages is always challenging, but it can be especially difficult when your injuries are caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. The insurance company’s primary goal is to minimize the amount they must pay on your claim. This is true of the other driver’s insurance carrier as well as your own insurance provider (through your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage). The attorneys at the Jensen Phelan Law Firm can help negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure you receive the full value of the benefits to which you are entitled.

In the event that insurance benefits don’t fully cover your damages, we will also help you file a lawsuit against the negligent driver. Our lawyers will aggressively pursue all avenues of compensation to ensure you’re able to maximize the value of your damage award.

Contact our Car Accident Lawyers

Please contact the Jensen Phelan Law Firm using the form on this page or call (928) 778-2660 today to schedule your complimentary car accident consultation. We serve clients in Prescott, Cottonwood and the surrounding areas of Northern Arizona.