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Your rights after a crash with an underinsured driver

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

The traffic is in New York is notorious for being heavy, and a greater density of vehicles can easily lead to more risk for a crash. After a crash, people need insurance to protect their finances.

Not everyone on the New York streets has the same amount of insurance coverage. In fact, some drivers don’t have any coverage at all if they allow their policy to lapse through a mistake or due to budgetary issues. Most drivers do have an active liability insurance policy as required by law, but some of them will be underinsured.

Basically, the policy on their vehicle isn’t going to offer enough coverage if they caused a very serious wreck with someone else. How concerned should you be about underinsured drivers in New York?

New York has somewhat low insurance requirements

When a crash totals your vehicle, you can make a claim against the coverage held by the driver responsible for the wreck. Unfortunately, New York only mandates $10,000 worth of property damage liability coverage. Even if someone totals your brand new car, the most you could recover from a policy with minimum coverage is $10,000, leaving you with tens of thousands of dollars in losses.

Medical coverage is slightly higher but still too low for practical purposes. A driver can have as little as $25,000 worth of medical coverage if they hurt one person or $50,000 worth of coverage if they cause the death of one individual. Those amounts double if they hurt or kill more than one person. Medical coverage is what will reimburse you for your lost wages and treatment costs. The more serious your injuries are, the more likely it is that $25,000 will be far too low for your needs.

You may have 2 options after a crash

There are two ways for you to cover those financial shortfalls caused by someone else’s underwhelming insurance coverage. The first is to check your own policy. If you have underinsured driver protection, you can make a claim against your own policy for the amounts not covered by the other driver’s insurance, up to the maximum amount of coverage that you carry.

If you don’t have that coverage, would prefer not to use it or have costs that exceed even that insurance protection, you may need to consider filing a civil lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash that left you with so many losses.

Understanding how insurance works in New York will make it easier for you to make a claim after a major wreck.