What If I Am Injured By A Driver Without Enough Insurance Coverage?

South Carolina Injury Attorneys Face Many Difficult Cases Where Injury Costs Exceed Insurance Available

Have you ever been driving down the road and suddenly, in your rear-view mirror you see a car or truck barreling towards you? As you watch with your hands gripping the steering wheel, they come up so close to your bumper that you can no longer see any space between your car and theirs. When it seems like they can’t get any closer, they swerve into the lane next to you and pass you at blistering speed.

Did your heart race? Did you feel afraid? Every day, this scenario plays out hundreds of times in South Carolina. And sometimes, the results are devastating.

No one wants to be in a car or truck accident. But beyond the physical injury and damage to your vehicle, did you know there is something else to be concerned about: Who will pay?

Who will pay for your lost wages, medical bills, and future surgeries? Who will pay for the life-altering injuries and their impact on your physical and emotional health, your pain, and suffering? It doesn’t even take a serious injury accident for the expenses to exceed the available insurance coverage amounts.

Assuming the driver of that car coming up behind you has enough insurance to cover you is as dangerous as their driving.

UNDERinsured Motorist Coverage is a Must; UNinsured Motorist Cover is Required by Law

In South Carolina, there were over 141,000 traffic collisions in 2019 with economic losses totaling over $4.77 billion according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety Fact Book. The state ranked 9th in the nation for car wrecks in 2019 and over 10% of drivers had no insurance coverage at all.

In South Carolina, drivers are required to carry a minimum of $25,000 in Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. However, there is no requirement to carry Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage. Hence, if you are injured by a driver with only the bare minimum in coverage, you could be responsible for thousands of dollars in medical care and property damage.

Injury Costs Often Exceed the Insurance Available

As attorneys at the Steinberg Law Firm, we often see the devastating effects of car accidents on our clients. Even though most states, including South Carolina, require drivers to carry some form of liability insurance, many people are still underinsured or not insured at all. This is where Uninsured (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverages come into play, and it is where you protect yourself against other drivers.

Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is required by South Carolina law and protects you and your passengers if you are hit by a driver who does not have any insurance to cover your damages, or if you are struck by a hit-and-run driver. Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are common and the driver may never be found. In this situation, your UM coverage can help pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses resulting from the accident.

UNDERinsured motorist coverage (UIM), however, is not required by law and many insurers fail to mention this option to their insureds. Despite its importance, many drivers are unaware of this type of UIM coverage or choose not to purchase it. Some may think that they do not need it because they already have liability or uninsured insurance, or they may not want to pay the additional premiums. However, the peace of mind and financial protection that underinsured coverage provides is well worth the cost.

In the event of an accident, UIM coverage can be a lifesaver. Imagine being hit by a driver who only has the minimum liability insurance required. In South Carolina, this is shown as $25,000/$50,000/$25,000. This means there is $25,000 of bodily injury coverage if you are hurt by someone else in a crash, and $50,000 maximum bodily injury for ALL passengers. The third amount of $25,000 is property damage in one accident. Coverage can be quickly depleted with the rising cost of medical care and vehicle purchase prices. If there are 4 passengers injured you will all be fighting over the $50,000. We have seen cases where medical bills were over $1 million and there was only $25,000 in coverage from the negligent party.

If your medical bills and other expenses exceed the negligent driver’s coverage, you could be left with a significant financial burden. With UIM coverage, your own insurance policy can step in to cover the difference. And, even then, you may still need an attorney to pursue your own insurance company to get them to cover your full damages.

At the Steinberg Law Firm, we strongly recommend that all drivers consider purchasing Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage and making sure you have significant amounts of Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage as well.

Both types of insurance can provide valuable protection in the event of an accident. Talk to your insurance agent to learn more about this coverage and to add it to your policy. It could make all the difference in the event of a car accident. For a free consultation about your wreck, call us at 843-720-2800.

Updated on December 22, 2022

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