Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Rhode Island
If you add uninsured motorist coverage to your car insurance policy, it can cover your damages if you’re in a hit-and-run accident, struck as a pedestrian or bicyclist, or in a crash with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Our Rhode Island car accident lawyers can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Rhode Island law requires that everyone on the road is insured. The state has minimums that must be satisfied before a car can be registered and driven here. Despite that, an estimated 16.5 percent of drivers in Rhode Island don’t have car insurance.
Rhode Island is a “fault” state regarding car accidents, which means that the at-fault party’s insurance company is responsible for crash-related damages.
So what happens if you get into a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver?
If you opted to add uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage to your car insurance policy, that could help to cover your collision-related costs.
WHAT IS UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE?
Uninsured motorist coverage (UMC) pays for damages when you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. Also, UMC can be used when you’re in a hit-and-run driver crash or are struck as a pedestrian or bicyclist.
The uninsured motorist coverage essentially takes the place of the insurance that the other driver should have had.
It can cover damages like:
- Medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering, and
- Wrongful death
How much will your UMC cover after an accident? That depends on how much you added to your policy.
Minimum uninsured motorist coverage amounts in Rhode Island include $25,000 (per person) and $50,000 (per accident) for bodily injury protection, and $25,000 (per accident) for property damage.
If you bought the minimum, you’d have $25,000 to put toward medical treatment, your loss of income, and emotional distress. If you purchased $100,000 in bodily injury protection, you’d have $100,000 to cover the costs of your crash.
WHAT IS UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE
Underinsured motorist coverage helps to offset the costs of an accident with a driver who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all of your damages.
All drivers in Rhode Island are required to purchase insurance that satisfies the state minimum, including:
- Bodily Injury: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
- Property Damage: $25,000 per accident
If your car accident is serious, there’s a good chance that $25,000 won’t be enough to cover the full costs of your car accident injuries and suffering. That’s where underinsured motorist coverage can be helpful.
Let’s say you’re involved in a car accident in Providence and suffer damages valued at $50,000. The other driver had minimum bodily injury protection coverage of $25,000, which covers only half of your costs. You can file a claim against your underinsured motorist coverage to make up the difference (up to your policy limits). If you had $25,000 in underinsured motorist coverage, you’d be made whole.
IS UM/UIM COVERAGE REQUIRED IN RHODE ISLAND?
Insurance companies in Rhode Island are legally required to offer uninsured motorist coverage to consumers. You have the right to decline the added protection, but you must waive the coverage in writing.
PURSUING COMPENSATION IN AN UNINSURED MOTORIST CLAIM
Since you bought the uninsured motorist coverage, you’ll need to file a claim with your insurance company after a car accident with an uninsured driver. This is known as a “first party” claim.
First, you’ll let your insurance company know that you’ve been in a car accident and explain that the responsible driver didn’t have insurance (or enough insurance) to cover your damages.
Once you’ve notified your insurer, your Rhode Island car accident lawyer will begin to put together a demand letter. This is essentially an explanation of what happened supported by facts and evidence, along with a specific demand for compensation. You want your demand letter to be as strong as possible – it might be your policy, but your insurance company still won’t want to pay.
To support your claim, your lawyer will include important pieces of evidence, which might include:
The stronger your demand, the more likely you’ll be able to recover the uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist benefits you deserve.
If the insurance company refuses to pay, your car accident lawyer in Rhode Island can file a lawsuit and bring them to court.
STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU'VE BEEN HURT IN AN ACCIDENT WITH AN UNINSURED DRIVER
Believe it or not, the steps you take immediately after an accident with an uninsured driver are really important. They can affect your long-term health and impact your claim for damages.
TIME LIMIT TO FILE A CLAIM FOR UNINSURED OR UNDERINSURED MOTORIST BENEFITS IN RHODE ISLAND
You will have:
- Three years to file a claim for bodily injury
- Ten years to file a claim for property damage
Once the statute of limitations expires, you will lose the opportunity to file a claim and recover your uninsured motorist benefits.
HOW CAN MARASCO & NESSELBRUSH HELP YOU RECOVER UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE BENEFITS?
Even though they’re your insurance benefits, your insurance company won’t be eager to approve your claim and pay what you need. Insurance adjusters will rely on tried-and-true strategies designed to get you to accept way less than what you deserve or, worse, nothing at all.
Level the playing field by putting the Rhode Island personal injury lawyers at BRAND in your corner. For more than 20 years, we’ve been leading advocates for crash victims and grieving families in Rhode Island. We’ve won over $100 million in benefits, settlements, and verdicts on their behalf. We’re not afraid to stand up to insurance companies, corporations, and negligent drivers to get our clients the results they deserve, and it shows.
Let us take on your insurance company and seek damages from anyone who might be responsible for your Rhode Island car accident. We offer a free case evaluation and work on contingency, which means there’s no risk in asking for our help. You pay only if we win your case and recover uninsured motorist benefits or other damages on your behalf.