New York Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Accident Lawyer
Laws in New York require motorists to carry insurance, but many drivers still risk going out on New York roads without insurance in hopes that they won’t get caught – or cause a serious crash. In other instances, drivers purchase only the minimum level of insurance coverage, which is often too little to cover the full costs of serious injuries from an accident.
Unfortunately, if an uninsured or underinsured motorist causes a crash, it’s often the victims who must pay the price if they don’t know their rights. However, you don’t have to face this stressful situation alone.
At Finz & Finz, P.C., we have been helping injured New Yorkers seek justice and fair compensation for more than 35 years. Our highly experienced New York car accident attorneys have a proven track record of successfully helping clients obtain the results that matter. As demonstrated by our client testimonials, we always give our clients the respect and exceptional customer service they deserve. That is our commitment to you.
If you were injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, call Finz & Finz, P.C. today and let our car accident lawyers stand up for your rights. Contact us today by phone or online to schedule your free legal consultation.
What Is the Mandatory Auto Insurance Coverage in New York?
Under New York law, drivers must have minimum amounts of insurance coverage to register their car in the state, otherwise they could have their driver’s license or car registration suspended.
First, drivers must have at least $50,000 in no-fault or personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover injuries or economic losses that the driver and passengers suffer in an accident. In many New York cases, drivers must first file with their own insurance company to recover compensation after a wreck – no matter who caused the accident.
Additionally, drivers in New York must have liability insurance to cover at least:
- $10,000 in property damages per accident
- $25,000 per victim for non-fatal injuries
- $50,000 per victim killed in an accident
- $50,000 per accident for non-fatal injuries
- $100,000 per accident for deaths caused by the accident
Drivers must also have uninsured driver coverage for bodily injuries at the same minimum levels as those required for liability insurance.
What Is Considered ‘Underinsured’ in a Car Accident?
While a driver might carry the minimum amount of insurance coverage required under New York law, they still might not have enough insurance to cover all of the costs and damages from an accident. That motorist is an underinsured driver.
For example, if a victim suffers damages of $100,000 in a car accident caused by another driver, and the negligent driver’s insurance only covers up to $25,000, then the motorist who caused the crash is underinsured.
If a driver has no insurance, that motorist is considered an uninsured driver.
Consequences If You’re in an Auto Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver
If you suffered serious injuries in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, then New York law allows you to pursue a claim against the other driver, instead of simply relying on PIP or no-fault coverage. Examples of the types of injuries that New York typically considers as serious include broken bones, disfigurement, substantial disabilities, and permanent harm to organs or bodily functions.
If an uninsured or underinsured driver caused your accident in New York, then your insurance might have to pay for the damages you suffer – depending on the details of the accident. New York requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, and some automobile insurance policies include underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. These insurance policies will cover damages in excess of the uninsured or underinsured driver’s insurance coverage (up to your policy limits), even if you are not at fault! Accordingly, if you are in an auto accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you may be able to recover compensation from your own auto insurance policy.
New York law also allows victims of serious accidents to pursue claims against negligent drivers for other economic damages they cause, such as lost earnings, as well as non-economic losses like pain and suffering.
Can You Sue Another Driver If They Do Not Have Insurance?
If an uninsured driver caused your accident, you have the right to demand fair compensation. However, whether it makes sense to pursue legal action against them depends on the specifics of your case.
If the negligent motorist doesn’t have insurance because they can’t afford it, then it might not be worth your time to sue them as an individual. Even if you win the lawsuit, you might not recover any money if the at-fault driver doesn’t have the resources to pay you.
On the other hand, it might be worth filing a lawsuit if the motorist has significant assets. A skilled UM/UIM attorney can investigate your case, help determine whether the person who caused your accident has the financial resources to satisfy your claim and provide you with the information you need to decide whether to pursue a lawsuit.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, the best option is to turn to the UM/UIM coverage on your own auto policy if you hope to collect compensation in excess of New York’s no-fault coverage ($50,000).
Why You Need a Lawyer to Fight for Full UM/UIM Coverage Benefits
Just because you are dealing with “your” insurance coverage on a UM/UIM claim, don’t expect them to have your best interests at heart. Their goal is still to pay you as little as they can get away with. Don’t let them! If you work with an experienced New York UM/UIM lawyer, they can help improve your chances of getting the full compensation you deserve after an accident.
Insurers often reject valid claims, make “lowball” compensation offers, or threaten to raise their insurance premiums if a victim files a UM/UIM claim. This process is stressful and frustrating for victims who try to deal with insurance on their own, but a respected New York UM/UIM attorney can help reduce this burden by handling all the details of your case.
Unlike the insurance company, your lawyer is committed to fighting for your best interests. Your lawyer’s goals are the same as yours – to seek the maximum benefits you are entitled to recover.
Skilled car accident lawyers know the tricks that insurers try to play, so they are prepared to use their knowledge and experience to stand up for your rights.
Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to seek the compensation you’re owed. If the insurer won’t agree to a fair settlement, your lawyer can fight for your rights in court to help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
What If the At-Fault Driver Offers Me Cash After an Accident?
An uninsured or underinsured driver might try to offer you cash instead of dealing with insurance after they cause an accident, saying that’s the only way you’ll be able to get compensation. It’s extremely important that you reject this offer – especially if the crash was the other driver’s fault. Otherwise, you might harm your chances of getting the full compensation you’re owed, whether through a no-fault insurance claim or through litigation.
For one, this cash offer is likely much lower than the actual costs of the accident. Serious car crashes cause expensive property damage and costly injuries, which can significantly impact victims for the rest of their lives. The total losses may be more extensive than what a low on-the-spot cash payment could ever cover. If you accept a cash offer, you might jeopardize your chances of pursing a claim through insurance or the courts to pursue the full compensation you deserve.
Get Help from a New York UM/UIM Lawyer Now
Don’t wait to get on the road to recovery. Retain the New York uninsured and underinsured accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. right away. Contact us today by phone or online to schedule a free case evaluation.