Due to increasing unemployment and a poor economy, there has been an increase in the number of people driving without insurance or who have cut back on insurance coverage, in an effort to save money on premiums. Although having automobile insurance in New Jersey is compulsory under New Jersey law and driving without insurance is illegal resulting in serious fines and penalties, it nevertheless happens everyday. A problem arises when you are involved in a collision caused by one of these drivers who is uninsured or under-insured. When the driver who causes the accident does not have adequate insurance to compensate you for your injuries, you could be deprived of fair and equitable compensation. This is particularly true when you sustain serious, permanent injuries that leave you with significant disability and interfere with your ability to work. These types of injuries can have a significant impact on your ability to pay your bills, provide for your family and can cause a substantial financial hardship.
By way of example, I recently represented an individual who sustained a significant life altering injury due to the carelessness of another driver that required multiple surgeries. Despite his obvious permanent disability, he was only able to collect $15,000 because the other driver had the minimum insurance coverage required under the law. Furthermore, the other driver was a low wage earner with no assets and would otherwise be judgment proof.
In order to avoid facing a similar situation where you are not able to receive fair and equitable compensation from the driver who caused the accident due to the lack of insurance or minimal insurance limits, New Jersey automobile insurance law allows any policyholder to purchase uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM coverage). UM/UIM coverage is insurance coverage which is available under your own policy that is triggered when the responsible party who caused the automobile accident is uninsured or underinsured. In other words, you purchase your own insurance coverage based on your own financial needs, so that in the event the other driver lacks adequate (or any) coverage, that you will be provided with the compensation to which you are entitled. This coverage is available with every automobile policy sold in New Jersey.
Too often people are not aware of this option under their automobile insurance policy until it is too late. Oftentimes, people do not discover that they do not have the requisite amount of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage until such time as they have been involved in an automobile accident with someone who has either no insurance or minimal policy limits. As such, it is very important to speak to your insurance agent about the coverages that you have not only for your own liability in the event that you cause an accident, but also in the event that you are injured by the negligence of another driver who is either uninsured or underinsured. It is imperative that when you renew your policy, that you discuss the necessity for adequate liability insurance limits and determine, in consultation with your agent, the available options for UM/UIM coverage. The cost of UM/UIM coverage is relatively low, given the potential risk of being injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. You owe it to yourself to look at the Declaration of Coverage page on your automobile insurance policy in order to ascertain your coverage so that adjustments can be made, if necessary.
If you, a family member or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident or bicycle accident and you wish to know your rights, I would ask that you either call or email my law firm today. I will personally handle your case. I have been practicing law for over 26 years representing the interests of people in northern and central New Jersey who have sustained serious personal injury as a result of the carelessness of others. I hope that you found this blog helpful. .Should you have further questions regarding the subject matter of UM/UIM insurance coverage, please feel free to contact me by phone or email. I am here to help. There is no fee for your initial consultation.