Underinsured Motorist Accidents
The leading Maine underinsured motorist accident attorneys of Peter Thompson & Associates help victims injured by underinsured motorists recover the compensation they deserve. We are recognized leaders in expediting the insurance claims process and zealously defend the rights of those injured by negligence. We have offices conveniently located in Maine, Bangor, and Falmouth to provide unparalleled legal representation to personal injury victims throughout Maine.
Car accidents are an unfortunate fact of life in Maine and elsewhere. Due to the rising costs of repairs and medical care, injury victims rarely receive full compensation for their harm. Underinsured motorists are those who are unable to fully cover the costs incurred from an accident. This means that even if their insurance company pays up to the policy limit, the amount is still insufficient to fully compensate the injured victim for damages.
Every state has its own laws governing the minimum amount of liability insurance that drivers must carry. If the statutory minimum for bodily injury is $50,000 and the injured party incurs $60,000 in medical costs, the negligent driver’s policy clearly falls short of compensating the victim. Without underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, the injured driver would be left holding the bag. To recover full compensation, the injured party may have to sue the uninsured driver or directly pursue a claim with the driver’s insurer.
UIM coverage is useful in many situations, including:
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Multiple-car accidents
- Extensive property damage
- Expensive, continuing medical care
- Collisions with out-of-state motorists
- Successive car accidents within the family
In Maine, drivers are required to maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance to have a vehicle registered in the state. This protects the driver and other insured policyholders from liability in the event of a crash. Maine requires one of the highest statutory minimums of any state: $100,000 per accident or $50,000 per person. Drivers must also maintain a $25,000 minimum for property damage and $1,000 minimum for medical payments. A single “combined” policy of $125,000 is also acceptable under Maine law.
Maine’s auto insurance system is based on “fault.” The at-fault driver is therefore liable to the injured party for damages. These damages are generally paid by the negligent driver’s insurer. If the resulting damages exceed the limits of the policy, at-fault parties must make up the difference using their own assets. In cases where the at-fault party is underinsured, Maine law also requires that drivers maintain supplemental UIM coverage, which allows injured parties to recover compensation from their own insurers.
Under UIM coverage, if the injured driver’s medical costs amount to $60,000, but the at-fault driver’s policy limit is $50,000, the injured party’s insurer would pay the $10,000 difference. UIM coverage also extends to family members and passengers who are injured while in your vehicle. Maine law requires that a driver’s UIM coverage be equal to the amount of liability coverage on your policy. Drivers may waive this right by submitting a written request. But UIM coverage must still meet the statutory minimum of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
If you were involved in an accident with an underinsured motorist, the experienced Maine underinsured motorist lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates can help. We are a premier personal injury law firm with extensive experience in car accident claims. Remember that, even with UIM coverage, you still have the right to file suit against the negligent driver. We are here to advise you about your legal options and protect your rights. Whether you need help pursuing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company or under your own policy, we can expedite the process and vastly improve your chances of obtaining relief. At Peter Thompson & Associates, we are dedicated to helping you recover full compensation for the harm you have suffered. Call 1.800.804.2004 for a free consultation or contact us online.