Why Ohio Drivers Should Have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist InsurancC
Most states require motorists to have a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage to protect drivers and passengers in the event of an accident. Although this insurance requirement is in place, the coverage rarely covers the costs of expenses such as vehicle repairs and medical bills. Unfortunately, many injured motorists are responsible for paying for their own medical expenses and significant property damage. Why? Because they didn’t have uninsured/underinsured coverage added to their policy.
Our personal injury attorneys below explain what uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages are and why they are essential to any comprehensive auto insurance policy.
To learn more about why it is critical to have adequate insurance coverage or how to be compensated for your losses following a serious car accident, contact personal injury lawyers at Slater & Zurz. Schedule a FREE consultation today by contacting us online or calling (888) 534-4850.
Ohio’s Auto Insurance Requirements
Ohio requires drivers to maintain minimum insurance coverage to protect themselves and those around them in the event of a car accident. The mandatory insurance Ohio drivers must carry is:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
Liability coverage pays for bodily injury, lost wages, and property damage that others incur as a result of your actions. However, this insurance does not cover expenses you incur, such as medical expenses and repairs to your own vehicle.
What is Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance Coverage?
Did you know that according to the Insurance Research Council, approximately one in eight drivers in the U.S. are uninsured? The state of Ohio is no different. In line with the national average, 13% of drivers within the state illegally drive without car insurance.
And for those drivers who do carry the minimum requirements mandated by Ohio law, their coverage typically does not completely cover your expenses in the event of an accident.
Fortunately, under Ohio Revised Code 3937.18, residents are offered uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Also referred to as “UM/UIM,” uninsured/underinsured coverage is designed to cover your, and your passengers’ losses in situations where the at-fault party does not have auto insurance or their policy does not adequately cover your losses.
The Benefits of Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage in Ohio
While uninsured motorist coverage isn’t required, adding this coverage to your current auto insurance policy is highly recommended. Trying to be compensated for your losses after an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist can be extremely frustrating and complicated. When you carry UM/UIM insurance, covering your expenses, such as medical bills, car rental costs, lost wages, and vehicle repair or replacement, is much easier.
Uninsured/Underinsured liability coverage also covers you if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident. If you are hit, and the at-fault driver flees the scene, there is no guarantee you or the police will ever locate the driver. Your UM/UIM coverage will take care of your expenses even if you are unsuccessful in tracking the driver down.
To protect yourself and your passengers and ensure you are not left with considerable expenses stemming from an accident, it is best to add uninsured and underinsured liability coverage to your policy. While there is a cost involved, this additional coverage offers peace of mind and financial protection in the event of an accident.
Seeking Compensation After an Ohio Car Accident
Insurance companies will often try to avoid paying a claim or minimize the amount of money they must pay. This means that even if the at-fault party has adequate coverage, you might still have a challenging time recovering all that you are entitled to. The damages you claim will ultimately depend on the circumstances of your accident and the nature and extent of your injuries and losses. However, damages that commonly result from auto accidents include:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Costs for rehabilitation, such as physical therapy
- Lost earnings (past and future)
- Property repair or replacement
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment
- Wrongful death damages (if a loved one died as a result of their injuries)
Hiring a qualified personal injury lawyer will increase your chances of fully compensating for your losses, regardless of whether the other driver has insurance or enough coverage. And with insurance adjusters often trying to avoid a payout, you might need your auto accident attorney to take legal action to secure your rightful compensation.
What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident
The moments shortly after a car crash can be chaotic. You are completely shocked, just trying to process what happened and ensure you, your passengers, and others involved are alright. While a car accident can be frightening, your actions following an auto accident can drastically affect the overall outcome. Our personal injury lawyers recommend taking the following steps after an accident.
- Get to safety – If you or your passengers are in the path of cars, try to move to the side of the road and out of harm’s way. If it is safe to do so, tend to others involved in the accident to ensure they are safe.
- Call 911 – Once you and others are safe, call the police. They will dispatch an officer and emergency medical technicians if anyone is injured.
- Tell the officer what happened – When the officer arrives, give a detailed and accurate account of what happened. Include what happened before, during, and even after the accident. Make sure you receive a copy of the police report for your records.
- Get the contact information of those involved in the accident – Write down the name, address, and phone number of the other drivers and anyone who witnessed the accident. Also, get the insurance company’s name, phone number, and policy number of each driver.
- Seek medical attention – Even if you were evaluated at the scene, we highly recommend getting a full medical exam from your doctor or a physician at your local emergency room. You may feel fine right after an accident due to the shock and adrenaline you experience, so it is critical to seek medical attention to ensure your injuries are quickly diagnosed and treated. Also, be sure to follow any instructions your doctor gives you.
- Take pictures – If you can, take pictures and/or video of the scene immediately after the accident, before the vehicles and debris are removed from the scene. Take pictures of any damage, skid marks, and anything that helps to show what took place. Record the weather and traffic conditions at the time of the accident as well.
- Keep records – Save all of your medical bills, doctor’s reports, and records of any and all expenses relating to your accident. Make sure you write down what happened as soon as you can. This will ensure no key pieces of information are lost or forgotten as time goes on.
- Talk to an Ohio car accident lawyer – To ensure you know your rights and legal options, we always recommend speaking to an attorney immediately. They can explain the claims process and develop a course of action that will protect your rights and give you the best chances of securing full and fair compensation.
Contact Our Team of Top personal injury Lawyers in Ohio
With over 100 years of collective experience, we know how quickly your expenses can add up after a serious car accident. Mounting medical bills and the high costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle can cause an extreme financial burden. If another party caused your accident but was either uninsured or underinsured, contact the car accident attorneys at Slater & Zurz, Ohio’s leading personal injury law firm.
During your free no-obligation consultation, we will review your case’s details and determine what options are available to you to help you recover compensation for your losses.
Call (888) 534-4850 to get started. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have offices across Ohio, including in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo, to assist you.