When you are involved in a car accident in Baltimore caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s fair to assume that you have recourse. Ideally, both parties exit to exchange contact and insurance information and you make a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
What happens if the driver did not have insurance or fled the scene?
Fortunately, you can still have an option to recover the compensation you need. You can file an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurer and get money to pay for your lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. However, you may find that your own insurance company turns against you.
Because uninsured motorist claims in Maryland can be complicated and may even result in bad faith by your insurance carrier, it’s important to work with an experienced Baltimore uninsured motorist claims attorney. William G. Kolodner, P.A. has a combined century of experience helping injured victims fight for the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.
How Our Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help with an Uninsured Motorist Claim
Uninsured motorist claims in Maryland are notoriously complicated, especially when they involve bad faith by the insurance company. The insurance company that should be defending you is suddenly on the other side: they are now essentially the at-fault driver’s insurance company facing a claim.
The insurance company and their team of adjusters and lawyers will fight to minimize your claim or deny you a payout. You may receive an initial lowball offer or the insurance company may try to minimize your injuries.
At William G. Kolodner, P.A., we serve as your advocate to fight for the fair compensation you deserve from your insurance company. You should not be left with the financial burden of your injuries and property damage at an accident caused by another driver. A personal injury lawyer at William G. Kolodner, P.A. will:
- Thoroughly investigate your auto accident
- Negotiate with your insurance company for a fair settlement
- Gather evidence to prove fault in your accident
- Show that the other driver did not have insurance or cannot be located
- Represent you in a lawsuit if the insurance company acts in bad faith
When you are up against an insurance company and struggling to recover from your injuries, you deserve an advocate who will fight for you. Contact William G. Kolodner, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney who can help.
What Happens After an Accident with an Uninsured Motorist?
Maryland is an at-fault insurance state. This means that in an accident, injured victims pursue a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance policy. When the at-fault driver does not have insurance coverage, or they flee the scene before you get their contact information, you have two primary options.
The first option is suing the at-fault driver for your damages. This is unlikely to recover any compensation, however. Someone who does not have car insurance is unlikely to have sizeable assets that you can pursue in a lawsuit.
The second option is filing a claim with your own insurance under your uninsured motorist coverage. This allows you to recover your damages up to your policy limits if your claim is successful.
After you file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company, a claims adjuster will be assigned to investigate the accident. This adjuster will work to decide if the insurance company will pay and how much they will offer. The adjuster also investigates who is responsible for the crash and the value of your losses.
Remember that the adjuster’s job is to limit the insurance company’s payouts while resolving claims. This means you need to be cautious when speaking with the adjuster as anything you say can be used against you. Never downplay your injuries or admit to any blame. It’s also important to be cautious about accepting any settlement offer you receive until you speak with a Maryland uninsured motorist claims lawyer.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Under Maryland Code 19-509, motorists are required to carry minimum uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in addition to liability insurance. This type of coverage means your insurance carrier steps in to pay for your damages up to your policy limit if the at-fault driver did not have insurance or fled the scene of the crash.
Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage protect you, your passengers, and anyone you allow to drive your car by covering property damage and bodily injury. The minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage that must be offered is $30,000 for death or injury per person per accident, $60,000 for death or injury per accident, and $15,000 for property damage per accident.
This protection is valuable because it gives you a course of action if you are left injured or with serious damages after a collision.
How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work in Maryland?
When you are involved in a collision caused by someone else but the at-fault party had no insurance, you may be able to file a claim against your own insurance company. If you win your claim, your insurance company pays your injury claim as if they were the insurer of the at-fault vehicle.
If you are successful in an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, you are not penalized with your insurance company. This means your rate can’t be raised and your policy can’t be canceled for claims paid under the uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
A successful Maryland uninsured motorist (UM) claim allows you to recover your damages up to the limit of your uninsured motorist coverage. In most cases, your UM coverage will be equal to your liability limit.
However, winning an uninsured motorist claim requires proving fault. To successfully win your claim, you will need to show that the other driver was at fault. This means the burden is on you to prove that the other driver caused your accident and that the vehicle was not insured.
Your Insurance Company Isn’t on Your Side
When you file an uninsured motorist claim against your insurance company, your insurer essentially takes the place of the negligent driver who caused your accident. Their goal is to limit your payout, minimize the severity of your injuries, and deny your claim, if possible.
While the insurance company can pursue a claim against the at-fault party, they understand that this is unlikely to recover any compensation. In this case, they will be against you. You will have the burden of proving the other party was at fault for your accident and the severity of your injuries.
Your insurance company will investigate the accident and decide whether or not the other driver was actually to blame to decide if your claim will be approved. It’s important to note that Maryland law requires insurance companies to act in good faith. If the insurance company does not act in good faith, you may have the right to file a first-party bad faith claim against your insurer.
Bad Faith Claims Against an Uninsured Motorist Carrier
Uninsured motorist insurance carriers in Maryland have a duty to act in good faith. The insurance company cannot unfairly refuse to settle your claim or settle your claim in an unfair manner. There are many ways an insurer may show bad faith in insurance settlements:
- Failing to promptly settle a claim in which liability is reasonably clear under some aspects of a policy to influence the settlement under a different section of the policy
- Misrepresenting facts or policy provisions
- Refusing to pay for a capricious or arbitrary reason
- Attempting to settle a claim based on an altered application without the insured’s consent or knowledge
- Failing to provide a statement of coverage with a paid claim
- Failing to promptly explain why a claim is denied when requested
A bad faith claim against your insurer may happen if they arbitrarily deny your claim. They may cancel your policy after receiving your claim without a valid reason. Your claim may also involve the coverage amount to pay your claim.
If you wish to pursue a lawsuit against your insurer for breach of contract or bad faith, your lawsuit must be filed within 3 years of the date on which you knew or should have known your uninsured motorist claim was denied.
If you suspect bad faith by your insurance company, it’s crucial to contact an uninsured motorist claims lawyer in Baltimore as soon as possible. Bad faith claims are very complicated and a simple mistake may threaten your right to pursue legal action.
Contact a Baltimore Uninsured Motorist Claims Lawyer Today
Have you recently been involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver in Baltimore, MD? At William G. Kolodner, P.A., we have represented accident victims in hundreds of uninsured motorist claims. We understand the complex legal issues that can arise in these cases with a combined century of experience. Insurance claim disputes are always complicated; don’t try to fight the insurance company alone.
Contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation with an uninsured motorist claims lawyer in Baltimore who will help you explore your legal options.