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Why Buy Uninsured and Underinsured Motor Vehicle Insurance?

I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.

Today’s question comes from a listener who wants to know why she should buy uninsured and underinsured motor vehicle insurance coverage.

This is a question that we often get.

When you buy the minimum liability insurance policy required by law to operate a vehicle on Indiana highways, that policy covers the other party if you end up in an accident.

If the other party has no insurance, then you are left out to dry, UNLESS you purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which will cover your losses if the other driver is driving without insurance.

Of course, nobody should drive without insurance. But, just like nobody should drive drunk, driving without insurance is something that happens all the time.

Let’s imagine the worst. It’s midnight and you’re worried. Your husband should have been home two hours ago. You’ve tried to call him, but no answer. Then your phone rings. It’s your husband calling. But the voice on the other end is not your husband’s voice. You hear, “Ma’am, your husband has been in a serious car accident, could you come to the hospital please?”

Your emotions are all over the place. You have a thousand questions. You make it to the hospital. The receptionist directs you to the third floor. You find a police officer waiting for you.

The officer explains that a drunk driver hit your husband’s car. Both cars were destroyed in the collision. And your husband is in critical condition. He needs surgery.

He has multiple fractures, a collapsed lung, head trauma…plus scores of lacerations.

Your husband’s life will be different. At least for the foreseeable future. He will require physical therapy, rest, pain management and weekly doctor’s checkups. Your daily routine will need to be adapted to account for your husband’s various appointments.

Unfortunately, lives are upended all too often by drunk drivers.

Drunk driving cases pose difficult legal challenges sometimes because while fault is frequently clear, a person who is irresponsible and drives drunk, is also statistically likely to also be financially irresponsible and have no insurance.

For this reason, in Indiana, it is very important to maintain uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage. This coverage protects the victim when the drunk driver has insufficient or no insurance.

In cases where a drunk driver has no insurance, or inadequate insurance, the next step is to investigate who served the alcohol. Was the drunk driver at a wedding, party, bar or tavern?

Was the person served alcohol while being observed to be intoxicated? Cases against bars and taverns are called dram shop cases. And dram shop cases, as well as any other case where proof of serving alcohol is important, must be investigated quickly, before memories fade and proof disappears.

So, in the case above, where the drunk driver collided and caused an accident, the victim would come to us seeking a resolution. We would then start an investigation. We would ask a lot of questions. We would request medical records, a police report and any information that would help support our client’s claim.

However, with drunk driving cases there is often nobody with insurance or money that can be held responsible for the damage that was done.

Buying uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects you and everyone in your vehicle if there is a crash and the other driver has no insurance or inadequate insurance.

We recommend buying the highest amount of such coverage as you can afford. It is coverage that protects you and your family. It is heartbreaking when there is no coverage available to pay medical bills and other expenses after a crash due to lack of insurance coverage.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at www.DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.