Uninsured Accident Attorney in Rhode Island
If you were hit and injured by another driver, your stress and frustration could turn to anger if you discover the person who hurt you doesn’t have auto insurance or that their insurance coverage can’t pay for all your bills and losses. When the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance to pay you after a car accident, you may have the option of filing a claim with your own insurance company. A Rhode Island uninsured accident lawyer can review your case, help you understand your rights and options, and go after the money you need.
At Bottaro Injury Lawyers, our award-winning legal team represents victims of uninsured motorist accidents in Providence, Pawtucket, East Providence, North Smithfield, Warwick, and throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. When you turn to us for help, we will immediately investigate your case and pursue your legal options to recover maximum compensation.
We understand that you are dealing with financial pressures after being injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, so we created our No Fee Guarantee. You’ll get the advice and representation you need from a Rhode Island uninsured car accident attorney at no upfront cost. We get paid only when we win your case.
If you were involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver, then it’s time to “Get to Know Mike Bottaro.” Reach out to Bottaro Injury Lawyers today for a free, no-obligation case review and to find out what a Rhode Island uninsured accident lawyer can do to help you.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage refers to coverage that you may have under your auto insurance policy. UM coverage through your insurer can pay you money if you are involved in an accident caused by a driver who does not have auto liability insurance as required by Rhode Island law. UM coverage can also pay for expenses and losses that you incur in an accident with a hit-and-run driver.
With UM coverage, your insurer steps in for the insurance that the at-fault driver should have had, paying you for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage provides coverage for expenses and losses incurred in a motor vehicle accident caused by a driver who has insufficient liability coverage to pay all your resulting expenses and losses. In most cases, your insurance policy’s UIM coverage will kick in only if you have a higher UIM coverage limit than the liability limits of the at-fault driver.
With UIM coverage, you might first recover the full liability coverage limits of the at-fault driver, with your insurer paying for the excess losses out of your UIM coverage. Alternatively, your insurance company may choose to pay all your expenses and losses from the accident up to the limit of your UIM coverage and then pursue your auto accident claim against the at-fault driver to recover partial reimbursement.
Is UM/UIM Coverage Required in Rhode Island?
In certain circumstances, drivers in Rhode Island are not required to purchase UM/UIM coverage. Specifically, UM/UIM is not required for drivers who purchase only the minimum bodily injury liability coverage required by state law. If a driver buys a higher level of bodily injury coverage, they must also purchase UM/UIM coverage in their policy.
However, auto insurers in Rhode Island must offer UM/UIM coverage to all policyholders. To prove that a policyholder who purchased only the minimum liability coverage declined UM/UIM coverage, the insurance company will typically have the policyholder sign a waiver of UM/UIM coverage form.
Obtaining UM/UIM coverage under your auto insurance policy will increase your premiums since your insurer provides additional coverage. However, the cost of the additional coverage can seem minimal compared to the benefits it could provide.
Do You Need a Lawyer to File a Claim with Your Own Insurance Company?
Although you do not need to hire an attorney to file a UM/UIM claim with your own insurance company, having an attorney to represent you can make the process much smoother. You need to remember that “your” insurance company will be looking to serve their interests rather than looking out for yours. An attorney can hold your insurer to the terms of your insurance policy and make sure they provide you with the coverage and benefits that you have paid for.
Under the terms of your insurance policy, you also have a duty to cooperate with your insurer in order to receive UM/UIM coverage. An attorney can handle communications with and requests from the insurance company on your behalf while always representing your rights and interests.
Pursuing Compensation in an Uninsured Motorist Claim
In an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim, you may be entitled to recover the full scope of expenses and losses to which you would have otherwise been entitled from the at-fault driver if they had sufficient insurance coverage. Full compensation in an uninsured motorist claim can cover:
- Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation of your injuries, including emergency care, surgeries, and other medical procedures, physical therapy, prescription pain medications, or medical devices or equipment
- Long-term care expenses, if you suffer permanent disabilities that make daily tasks difficult
- Lost wages or income or diminished future earning ability if your injuries or resulting permanent disabilities keep you out of work
- Physical pain and emotional suffering from the accident, your injuries, and related medical treatment
- Loss of quality of life due to disabilities or scarring and disfigurement that impact your enjoyment of daily life or activities
- Repair bills for accident damage or the cash value of your totaled vehicle
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
If you have been hurt in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you should remember to take the following steps to protect your eligibility to seek UM/UIM benefits:
- Seek medical attention from your primary physician or another doctor as soon as possible after the accident to get examined for any injuries you may have sustained. Make sure that your doctor knows you were involved in a motor vehicle accident.
- Take photos and videos of the accident scene, including damage to the vehicles involved, skid marks in the road, and traffic signals or controls.
- Speak to any eyewitnesses to the crash and get their contact information.
- Follow all treatment instructions your medical providers give you.
- Keep bills, invoices, and receipts for expenses that you incur due to the accident, including vehicle repairs or medical services.
- Make sure to have copies of your pay stubs or income statements if you suffer lost income from the accident.
- Do not post about the accident or your insurance claim on social media. Insurers often monitor accident victims’ accounts for posts that contradict official statements they made in their insurance claims.
- Speak to a Rhode Island uninsured car accident lawyer from Bottaro Injury Lawyers to learn more about getting the money you need to recover from your injuries.
Time Limit for Filing a UM/UIM Claim
If you believe you may have a UM/UIM claim, you should familiarize yourself with the time limits applicable to your claim. Your auto insurer may require you to give notice of your claim within a certain time after the accident. Most insurers require notice of an accident within a few weeks of a crash. Your policy may require you to file a UM/UIM claim within weeks after you learn that the at-fault driver lacked liability insurance or that they had insufficient insurance coverage to pay for all your losses.
If your insurance company denies your UM/UIM claim, you can pursue a breach of contract lawsuit against your insurer. Rhode Island’s statute of limitations on breach of contract claims requires you to file suit within 10 years of the date that you were notified of your insurer’s denial of your claim.
How a Rhode Island Uninsured Accident Lawyer Can Help
When you have been involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you can pursue compensation to help pay for your bills and expenses from the accident. Let a Rhode Island uninsured accident lawyer assist with your case by:
- Investigating the accident to secure evidence that helps prove the other driver was at fault for the crash.
- Confirming that the at-fault driver lacks insurance or has insufficient liability insurance coverage, and reviewing the terms of your own auto insurance policy.
- Documenting your injuries and losses to prepare a claim for full compensation.
- Discussing your options with you, including the availability of UM/UIM insurance coverage in your policy.
- Filing a UM/UIM claim with your insurer and aggressively pursuing full compensation on your claim.
- Taking your case to court if your insurer wrongfully denies or minimizes your claim for coverage.
If you have been injured in an uninsured motorist accident, contact Bottaro Injury Lawyers today for a free initial consultation. A knowledgeable Rhode Island uninsured accident attorney from our law firm can discuss your options and how we can help you seek the money you’re owed.