Uninsured Motorist Accidents
In Tennessee, the at-fault parties in a car accident are responsible for paying for any losses associated with a crash. People can file a third-party insurance claim directly with an at-fault driver's insurance company, file a claim with their own insurance carrier to seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver's insurer, or file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation from an at-fault driver or his insurer. In some cases, the at-fault driver carries inadequate insurance. In fact, nearly a quarter of Tennessee drivers ignore the law and are not insured at all. This can make it difficult for you to obtain the compensation you may need after a serious crash. If you are involved in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver in Knoxville, knowledgeable attorney Mark Hartsoe may be able to help you pursue a claim with your insurer.Holding an Uninsured Motorist Accountable for Your Injuries
Under Tennessee law, drivers must carry liability insurance with a minimum of $25,000 of coverage per person and $50,000 per accident. This protects a driver's assets in case he or she causes an accident. However, there are many drivers who break the law, have no assets, and are uninsured.
Every car insurance policy issued in Tennessee must include uninsured motorist coverage in an amount that is equal to bodily injury limits and property damage that is listed in the policy. The purchaser of a policy may reject this type of coverage in writing or choose lower limits, but since there are so many uninsured drivers in Tennessee, this is unwise. You should be aware when selecting a policy that your uninsured benefits cannot exceed the amount of primary coverage. If you have only $25,000 of coverage in case of your own negligence, you can only have up to $25,000 in uninsured benefits.
After an accident that causes injuries, you should contact the police because a police report can prove to be useful for any claims against insurers, including uninsured motorist claims. If possible, the vehicles should be left in the same place after an accident so the police can properly evaluate what happened, and photographs can be taken to present to insurers. Even if another driver does not have insurance, you should obtain his or her contact information because insurers may require the uninsured driver to attest to his or her lack of car insurance before you can recover compensation from the uninsured motorist provision of your own policy.
Proving that you are entitled to compensation is similar to pursuing an ordinary negligence claim against an individual driver. In these types of cases, a victim must show that the other driver did something careless that fell short of the obligation on all drivers to operate their vehicles as carefully as a reasonable person would. The injured person also would need to prove that he or she would not have been hurt if the uninsured motorist had used the appropriate level of care. The final step would consist of identifying damages that resulted from the accident, like medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle repairs, and the costs of future treatment.
Once you have the contact information, you should call your insurer immediately to notify it of the accident. You will also want to submit the police report. Often, insurance carriers have stringent deadlines for notification of uninsured motorist claims. When the other driver is uninsured and at fault for an accident, notifying your insurer will not increase your insurance premiums. Although your insurer owes you a duty of good faith and fair dealing, it may try to minimize the actual damages you suffered in an accident so that it can protect its bottom line. You will need tenacious and loyal representation from your own attorney to make sure you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve after an accident.Explore Your Options with a Knoxville Attorney after a Car Accident
Negotiating an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurer can turn ugly. Experienced legal representation may make a difference to the damages that you may be able to recover. Motor vehicle collision lawyer Mark Hartsoe is dedicated to representing people in the Knoxville area and elsewhere in Tennessee who are hurt in uninsured motorist accidents. For a free initial consultation, call (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form.