If you operate a motor vehicle in the state of Louisiana, you must purchase liability insurance. State law requires all drivers to have minimum liability insurance coverage. The amount of liability insurance that the state requires is rather low. The state minimum requirements for liability insurance are:
- $25,000 in property damage coverage
- $15,000 in bodily injury/wrongful death coverage for one injury or death
- $30,000 in bodily injury/wrongful death for more than one injury or death
Unfortunately, if you suffer a serious injury in a car accident, your damages are likely to exceed $15,000. For example, if you break your ankle, you may need surgery to repair the damage. In addition to the medical charges related to the surgery, you incur medical bills for physical therapy. On top of the medical expenses, you are out of work for at least a couple of months, and then you can only work part-time for the next four to six weeks. Your lost wages quickly add up on top of the medical bills.
Before you know it, your medical bills and lost wages are well over $15,000 without adding any compensation for your other damages. However, the driver only has the state minimum insurance coverage. Therefore, his insurance company agrees to pay $15,000. The driver has no money and no assets for you to get even if you sue him, so you are stuck with the bills. If you have underinsured motorist insurance, you can reduce your liability substantially.
What Is Underinsured Motorist Insurance?
Liability insurance protects others if you cause a car accident. Underinsured motorist insurance protects you if another driver causes an accident and does not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay your damages. In the above example, let’s assume your total damages are $35,000. Once the other driver’s insurance pays his $15,000, you are left with $20,000 in damages.
If you have underinsured motorist insurance, your insurance company should pay you the remaining $20,000, provided you have at least that amount in coverage. While you may be entitled to the compensation, your insurance company is like all other insurance companies. It seeks to pay the least amount possible to settle a claim. Therefore, don’t assume that filing an underinsured motorist claim with your insurance company will be a “slam dunk.” It is still in your best interest to consult with an experience New Orleans accident attorney who understands the various types of insurance coverage and how to argue for the maximum compensation allowable by law for your injury claim.
Call A New Orleans Accident Attorney for Help
As with all other personal injury claims, you only have a limited time to file an underinsured motorist insurance claim with your insurance company. Failing to file before the deadline may result in the claim being denied. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation with a New Orleans accident attorney.
Call Attorney Fred Olinde of The Olinde Firm for your free legal consultation. You can reach our office by calling (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889.