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What Happens If I Am In A Car Accident With Someone With No Insurance in Massachusetts?

When involved in an accident with an automobile that does not have insurance, a person has the option of getting paid for damages by uninsured motor vehicle coverage (UM). This is coverage that every insured vehicle is required to have. It protects people who are injured in an automobile accident caused by a driver with no insurance.

When an uninsured motor vehicle case may arise
  • Auto causing the accident is stolen
  • Hit and run
  • Auto was never insured
  • Insurance has been cancelled
  • Insurer has become insolvent
Who can collect UM benefits and what policy pays for them

It’s possible that a driver of a car is protected under more than one UM policy. Furthermore, a passenger who is a household member of the insured, meaning a relative living in the house of the insured may also have claims under more than one UM policy. The law allows no stacking of these claims and the benefits can only be received once. Here will show you who has claims under what UM policy.

Named insured on any policy: When one is injured by an uninsured motor vehicle, if they are a named insured, meaning the person who holds the insurance policy, that is the only policy the named insured can collect from. This is the case whether in his or her own auto, somebody else’s or a pedestrian.

If someone is a named insured on more than one policy while in a car they do not own or a pedestrian, he or she may recover the UM benefits from the policy with the highest recovery. However, if he or she is injured in a car they do own, then the recovery is limited to that particular vehicle’s policy.

Household member of named insured: Here, the injured party will be limited to the named insured’s policy that he or she is a household member to. If the named insured owns more than one vehicle, the household member is limited to the coverage to the vehicle that was involved in the accident.

If a household member is involved in an accident not involving a car owned by the household, he or she can collect the UM benefits from the highest policy in the household.

Uninsured occupant : An occupant of a vehicle who is completely uninsured will be protected by the vehicle that he or she is occupying.

The process for receiving UM benefits

Any claim for UM benefits must be prompt. If not prompt, the UM benefits can be withheld if the insurance company proves they were prejudiced because of the lack of prompt notice.

An insurance company and claimant can often times agree on the award of damages to the injured party. If not, the disagreement does not go to court, but rather to arbitration to decide the reward. If the insurance company violates the insurance contract by refusing to arbitrate, the injured party has 6 years to file a claim in court for the UM benefits against the insurance company.

Rewards for a successful UM claim

An injured party will be entitled to a reward for all the personal injuries suffered from the accident with the uninsured motor vehicle. UM coverage sets the minimum at $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. If insurance is set at the minimum, a claimant will be entitled to up to that full $20,000.

After an award for the full injuries is determined, that value is then decreased if the claimant received other payments. These other payments that will decrease the value are: benefits received under PIP, workers compensation or any award against the tortfeasor for the accident. The claimant will always be compensated for the full extent of injuries, but never more than that.

If you have questions about a similar incident or have been in an accident with someone who is uninsured feel free to contact Attorney DelSignore to discuss your case today.