A driver looking at the damage to his car after an uninsured motorist run from the scene.Getting into an accident with an uninsured driver makes an already-anxious situation feel even more dire. Fortunately, Connecticut law makes it mandatory that every driver also carry their own policy for uninsured and underinsured motorists.

This beneficial policy is often skipped over by vehicle owners who don’t know about it — or don’t know how useful it can be. But in Connecticut, it’s always available, meaning that you aren’t left on the hook even when a driver makes the irresponsible decision to forego their state-mandated insurance.

So how much, exactly, can you expect to get from your uninsured motorist coverage when you file a claim? The answer depends on your unique situation, including the coverage limits you opt to carry when you select your policy.

An attorney from Bert McDowell Injury can help you determine the true value of your claim while you pursue a settlement offer from your own insurer. Call (203) 590-9169 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation case review to discuss your claim and how much it could be worth.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage, and How Does It Work?

Uninsured motorist coverage kicks in any time you have a claim against an at-fault driver, but that driver does not have the liability insurance coverage available to pay for your damages. Instead of filing a claim against their liability policy, you would be filing a claim with your own insurer.

In order to qualify for an uninsured motorist claim, your situation must satisfy all of the criteria for a typical liability claim. In other words, the uninsured driver must have been determined as the sole or primary cause of your collision.

Insurance companies will expect proof of the other driver’s fault in order to complete the claim. If you cannot prove they were at-fault, then you must instead use your own collision coverage, if you have such a policy available.

Since many people elect not to carry “full coverage”, which includes collision and comprehensive, they will likely want to work with an injury lawyer to investigate their crash and establish that the other driver was at-fault.

Also worth noting: all uninsured motorist policies in Connecticut will pay for the costs of your damages after a hit-and-run accident where the driver cannot be identified and later located.

Under-Insured Motorist Claims Apply When There’s Not Enough Coverage to Pay All of Your Accident Damages

Car accidents can lead to expensive medical bills. Recognizing this, the state of Connecticut has instituted liability insurance minimums so that at-fault drivers are able to pay for the full costs of damages they inflict.

In Connecticut, the state minimum insurance coverage amounts are:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury liability (BDL) coverage per person injured
  • $50,000 in BDL, per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage, per accident

Unfortunately, these amounts may not fully cover the entire extent of damages suffered by injured parties — especially when multiple people are injured in a single accident.

According to a study by the Insurance Information Institute, the average claim for bodily injury liability reached $24,211 in 2022. Insurers paid over $117 million, total, that year in claims across the U.S.

That average figure shows that a typical injury could easily reach right under the coverage limit for a per-person bodily injury claim. If there were multiple people hurt, or a single injury that was severe enough to require hospitalization, the claimant could easily max out the coverage available under the minimum amount.

While drivers could always elect to increase the amount of coverage they hold, most do not. Fortunately, underinsured motorist coverage can kick in to pay for the difference, up to the policy limit.

In other words, when your injury costs exceed what is available under another driver’s policy, you can file an underinsured motorist claim to cover the excess costs.

How Much Can I Claim Under My Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Policy?

The amount you can claim under your policy depends on the amount of coverage you chose to purchase.

The minimum coverage for a uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) policy in Connecticut is the same as the minimum liability coverage required: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. Policyholders can elect to purchase up to twice that amount, but it is not mandatory.

Your claim amount will also depend on the actual value of your damages. Your coverage will not only pay for damage to your vehicle, but it will also pay for:

  • Medical bills, past and future
  • Lost wages, encompassing the reduction in all earnings and benefits since the accident
  • Your personal pain and suffering
  • Reasonable and necessary out-of-pocket expenses

In order to file a claim, you must document all of the damages you have suffered and submit a demand letter to your insurer requesting reimbursement. Your insurer will then review the request, compare it to the amounts they have calculated, and put forth a settlement offer.

They may also elect to deny the claim entirely, typically because they believe you were at-fault for the accident or that another party other than the uninsured/underinsured motorist holds liability.

How Does a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me File a Claim After an Accident With an Uninsured Driver?

You may think that, just because you are filing under your own insurance, that your insurer won’t want to play hardball when it comes time to offer a check for your damages. In truth, insurers are always looking for ways to limit their exposure to liability.

They will aim for the lowest possible settlement they can legally offer, with the hopes that you will go ahead and sign for it without much forethought.

The risk fo accepting a settlement that doesn’t pay for the full costs of your damages is the main reason to consult with an attorney before signing for the check. Your attorney will review the damages you have suffered, including all expenses you have paid since the accident.

They will seek to ensure that all applicable costs have been accounted for on the settlement offer.

Additionally, a personal injury lawyer will estimate the future costs of medical care, lost wages, and other damages. These should be included in the settlement amount, as well, but insurers are often keen to discount or completely ignore these future costs.

Another area where attorneys can provide assistance is in establishing that your medical care costs were all for reasonable and necessary procedures. Insurers will frequently nickel-and-dime claimants — even their own policyholders! — by electing to not cover certain costs.

They may, for example, refuse to pay for MRI images if they choose to argue that such images were not necessary for confirming a diagnosis made. Insurers may also dispute the costs of items such as medication or hospital stays, trying to pay for the supposed average costs instead of what your provider has charged.

A personal injury lawyer representing you will consult with medical and billing experts in an effort to document not only the purpose but also the necessity of your care expenses. They can also help you recover for things you paid for out-of-pocket, such as items for wound care purchased from a drug store, if they can prove that such items were necessary for your full recovery.

How Much Will I Pay for an Attorney to Help Me With My Uninsured Motorist Claim?

The good news is that most injury attorneys understand that hiring a lawyer comes with the risk that their services won’t pay off (literally) if the injured party is unable to recover any settlement.

Recognizing this, injury lawyers will offer to work under a contingency agreement. Under such an agreement, their payment becomes contingent on their ability to actually recover money for your losses.

When you sign a contingency agreement with an uninsured driver accident law firm, you agree to pay nothing up front in exchange for a listed percentage of the final settlement amount. If the attorney cannot secure a settlement for you, then you pay nothing.

Injury lawyers are often able to increase the amount you would receive from your insurance company compared to if you represented yourself on the claim. Further, they make your life easier during a hectic and stressful time.

Your attorney and their staff will handle all the steps of a claim on your behalf, including negotiating for a reasonable settlement when it comes time.

Some car accident cases cannot be resolved through the insurance claims process alone, either. In these cases, it may be necessary to sue your own insurance company in order to compel them to pay for reasonable damages.

Your Connecticut car accident attorney will help you build a case, file a lawsuit, and even prepare your case for a jury trial — all while seeking to convince your insurer to settle out-of-court in order to reduce their own time and expenses spent on handling the claim.

Call Bert McDowell Injury Law to Help After Your Uninsured Driver Accident

Whether you can’t locate the driver or they simply don’t have the coverage you need to recover your costs after being hurt, Bert and his team are here to help you! We have established a reputation for helping our clients seek as much as possible from insurers, and we aren’t afraid to stand up to moneyed interests in order to help you go after top dollar for you claim.

Find out how much your case could be worth and what strategies you can use to maximize its chances of success when you call (203) 590-9169 or contact us online.