Uninsured Motorist Lawyer and Underinsured Driver Attorney
While all Massachusetts drivers are required by law to carry certain levels of automobile insurance, not all motorists comply with the law. Some motorists illegally drive with no insurance. Others choose to only get the minimum amount of insurance coverage, which typically will not provide full compensation when severe injuries are caused.
As uninsured motorist lawyers and underinsured driver attorneys, we help clients injured in Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee, Northampton, Greenfield, and the surrounding communities in suing negligent drivers causing accidents and injuries, and also seeking compensation from their insurance companies to the extent that there is available insurance coverage. We have helped clients recover millions of dollars for the injuries they have suffered.
$850,000 Personal Injury Settlement
A 51 year old passenger was injured in a one vehicle car accident. Vehicle lost traction while crossing through an intersection due to liquid calcium chloride left on the road by a construction company fixing the road. Client sustained permanent injuries to her neck, arms and legs.
If you were injured in an accident, please call us at (413) 781-0000 for a free consultation to learn how we can help. As Lawyers You Can Talk To, once we learn about your case that the insurance coverage that you might have with your insurance company and that of the responsible driver, we can advise how we can see the maximum compensation for your injuries and damages.
What is Uninsured and Underinsured Insurance Coverage?
When a driver purchases uninsured motorist coverage from their insurance company, their insurance company agrees to pay damages and compensation if the policyholder is injured by another driver who is not insured. Underinsured insurance coverage similarly provides for compensation if the other driver does not have insurance coverage that is sufficient to pay full damages in an injury lawsuit.
In each of these cases, a driver’s own insurance company will be potentially liable up to the limits of the policy. Thus if a driver carries a policy for $100,000 for uninsured driver liability, that person’s insurance policy will pay up to $100,000 for injuries sustained by their policyholder. Damages include not only medical damages, but also aspects such as pain and suffering.
What Duties Does an Insurance Company Have to Its Insured for Uninsured and Underinsured Liability? Understanding Insurance Bad Faith Law
If you are injured by an uninsured driver and you carry uninsured drivers’ liability insurance, as a policyholder you have a contract with your insurance company. If you make a claim against your insurance company for benefits following a crash caused by an uninsured driver, your insurance company will have a contractual duty to promptly investigate your claim, and also to promptly pay the benefits that are covered under the policy.
If your insurance company fails to do so without any reasonable and justifiable cause, your insurance company could potentially be liable to you for another cause of action – insurance bad faith.
Insurance bad faith is a separate cause of action under the law. In an insurance bad faith case, an insurance company may be liable for additional damages if they fail to promptly take reasonable action to investigate and pay the claim of a policyholder without a good faith reason. In essence, bad faith claims are made to deter insurance companies from acting unreasonably. In an insurance bad faith case, a jury is free to determine what damages are appropriate in light of how egregious and outrageous the bad conduct was by the insurance company.
How Much Do You Charge for Uninsured or Underinsured Accident Cases?
We know to fight to get the maximum possible amount for clients tenaciously, and it is our firm’s policy only to represent injured victims on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will pay a fee if (and only if) we secure a settlement or an award at trial. If a lawsuit is needed to force the payment of proper compensation, we advance all litigation expenses while an arbitration is ongoing.
What Auto Insurance Coverage is Required in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, to register and drive a vehicle, individuals are required to at least
purchase the auto coverages and limits shown in the table below:1
|REQUIRED COVERAGE||REQUIRED MINIMUM LIMIT|
|Bodily Injury to Others||$20,000 per person;
$40,000 per accident
|Personal Injury Protection (PIP)||$8,000 per person, per accident|
|Bodily Injury Caused by an Uninsured Auto||$20,000 per person;
$40,000 per accident
|Damage to Someone Else’s Property||$5,000 per accident|
Auto insurance policies must list all licensed drivers living in a household related to the policyholder by blood, marriage, or adoption, including drivers already covered by their own insurance policies. It is typically possible to exclude any household member who does not drive the insured vehicle, but to do so, an “exclusion form” must be filed with an insurance carrier.2
What Does Minimum Insurance Coverage Actually Cover?
Bodily injury coverage pays damages to another driver when a policyholder’s negligent actions cause a motor vehicle accident. On the other hand, uninsured motorist coverage pays for damages that both a policyholder and any passenger(s) suffer if they are involved in a crash with an uninsured or hit-and-run driver. This coverage also includes passengers in the uninsured or underinsured vehicle.
The problem with these minimum coverages is that they are entirely insufficient to fully compensate crash victims in the event of serious injury or death. As a result, we encourage drivers to not only purchase insurance coverage in amounts much higher than these limits, but also to purchase uninsured and underinsured coverage to protect themselves and their household members against drivers who either don’t have insurance, or who do not have sufficient insurance to cover a serious crash.
What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?
Massachusetts is a no-fault insurance state, which means that a driver’s PIP policy may pay up to $8,000 in medical bills, lost wages, replacement services, or funeral expenses resulting from an auto accident. PIP covers not only the medical expenses for the injured driver, but also those covered by the injured passengers of the driver (but only up to the $8,000 limit).
Am I Required to Carry Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Massachusetts?
While bodily injury and uninsured motorist coverage are mandatory, underinsured coverage is not a requirement in Massachusetts. Underinsured motorist coverage typically comes at a higher policy cost; however, if a catastrophic collision occurs, the extra expense can be well worth the cost.
Underinsured motorist coverage pays for losses that a policyholder and passengers may suffer if they are injured by a negligent driver that only has minimal insurance. Essentially, underinsured motorist coverage pays an injured person for the difference between the amount that they received from the at-fault driver (or the at-fault driver’s insurance company) and the total damages that they sustained (but only up to the underinsured policy limits).
What Should I Do If the Person Who Hit Me Doesn’t Have Enough Insurance to Cover My Medical Bills?
It’s important to understand that it is the other driver, not their insurance company, who is liable for damages.
When a motorist is underinsured, their insurance policy will cover some, but not all, of the losses caused by a car wreck. In this type of situation, victims usually will collect the maximum amount available from the other drivers’ insurer. They can also get a judgment against the other driver who will be personally liable for the remaining damages; however, most drivers who are underinsured don’t have any meaningful resources from which to collect a judgment, and they often file for bankruptcy discharging the judgment when collection efforts are asserted.
In these cases, we look to other policies that may provide coverage, including auto and homeowner’s policies of the injured driver or passenger for additional compensation opportunities (such as PIP and underinsured coverages). We have over nine decades of combined experience in successfully negotiating and litigating personal injury claims involving uninsured and underinsured motorists. If you were injured in a car accident and the negligent party did not have insurance, we want to help you pursue justice and compensation for your treatment and expenses.
Call Us at (413) 781-0000 for a FREE Consult and to Get Started
Insurance law is complex concerning policy liability when a crash occurs. Without experienced car crash lawyers, you’ll likely get put off by insurance companies when a claim is made, especially if your injuries are significant. One insurance company may claim that another insurance company is required to pay the “first dollars” for a crash before they have to pay, which is usually not the case.
As insurance crash lawyers, we know insurance law, and will not tolerate these and other wrongful excuses. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how to get started!
 In Massachusetts, lawsuits for uninsured and underinsured claims are subject to mandatory arbitration.
How Can We Help?
Please call us at 413.781.0000 or fill out this form.