Did you know that when you purchase car insurance in the state of Louisiana, you can also purchase what is known as Uninsured Motorist Coverage, or UM? Many people believe it benefits an uninsured motorist or gives him or her a free pass if you are in an accident and the other driver does not have coverage, but that is not what it is for. Uninsured coverage covers YOU if the other driver does not have coverage or if what coverage he or she does have is inadequate, but it doesnot allow a free pass for his or her benefit.
As a Louisiana motorist, you know that you are expected to maintain liability insurance on all of your vehicles. This is the insurance that pays damages in the event another party is injured due to the negligent operation of a vehicle. State law requires each vehicle to be covered by liability insurance of at least $15,000 per person injured or killed, and at least $30,000 per accident if two or more people are injured or killed.
As stated, this is the law in Louisiana. Unfortunately, it is a law not every motorist honors. As a result of this negligent behavior, the state now requires every auto insurance policy to include uninsured motorist coverage unless you specifically decline it in writing. The coverage for the UM must be in amounts that at least equate to the policy’s liability coverage, if he or she opts for it or if he or she opts to cover the economic losses only. This means there is no coverage for any pain or suffering due to injuries. In Louisiana, this coverage is automatically included at a very low price unless you reject it, which is exactly why many insurance companies do not want to sell it to you.
Assuming the UM policy includes a pain and suffering clause, when a person is injured by a negligent and uninsured driver, the injured party can make a claim against his or her own policy, thereby reducing the amount of money he or she pays out of pocket due to the uninsured motorist’s neglect.
It is also important to understand how an uninsured motorist is defined. Simply stated, an uninsured motorist is defined as one with no insurance coverage or inadequate insurance coverage on a vehicle that would provide for any damages or injuries sustained to another driver or passenger in an accident.
Ideally, it is just smart for every driver to ensure he or she has UM coverage. It might be the only protection one has if they are involved in an accident. Speak with your insurance agent to discuss what your coverage can and cannot do and then take appropriate steps to protect yourself. If you have been involved in an accident, with or without an uninsured motorist, contact our team of skilled and experienced car accident attorneys today. We can help you determine the best course of action, so that you are back in the fast lane again.