Bailey & Greer, PLLC handles claims involving uninsured/underinsured drivers. Here, Thomas Greer and R. Sadler Bailey answer some of the more common questions clients ask us. If you need help after an accident, contact our team in Memphis or Jackson: 901-475-7434. We proudly serve clients throughout West Tennessee
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage is about the most important insurance that you can purchase for yourself. It covers you in a situation where you are injured by another driver who does not have insurance. Let’s say you’re out on the road minding your own business, some other driver runs a red light, you get injured, and they don’t have insurance. Your uninsured motorist coverage that you purchase as part of your premium is what protects you in that situation. It’s very important that you have that kind of coverage, especially in a city like Memphis, Tennessee, where there’s a very, very high rate of people that are out on the roadway that don’t have insurance.
Do I Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
We see clients all the time that come into our office and we ask them, “Do you have uninsured motorist coverage?” The answer that we get back in response many times is, “I don’t know.”
The way to tell if you have uninsured motorist coverage is, it’s automatically on your policy in Tennessee by law unless you have expressly waived that coverage. You have actually sat down and said to your agent or whoever you’re working with, “I do not want uninsured motorist coverage.”
Nobody should ever waive uninsured motorist coverage. It’s the most important insurance that we can have in an auto policy, so if you’re ever in a situation with your insurance agent or you’re online and you’re looking for insurance and there is a “save $20 or save $10 by waiving uninsured motorist,” don’t do that. It’s very important that you have it because of the high rate of people that are out on our roadway that are uninsured, and it will protect you if you get into a situation where you’re hit by an uninsured driver.
What if the Drunk Driver Who Hit Me Is Uninsured?
If the drunk driver that hit you is uninsured, then this is exactly the kind of scenario wherein you need your uninsured motorist coverage. Especially in Memphis, in Shelby County, Tennessee, we’ve got lots of people that are driving without insurance and certainly, you can understand that drunk drivers are probably less likely to be insured than the rest of us. So that’s exactly what this coverage is designed to do: to protect people, responsible citizens who purchase this coverage. This would provide you with protection against this drunk driver.
Can I Sue an Uninsured Driver after a Crash?
Well, the short answer is, you can sue anybody for any reason at any time, but as a practical matter, you’re only going to be able to bring a lawsuit against somebody that’s uninsured if you have uninsured motorist coverage, because the uninsured motorist coverage will step in and it will provide coverage and it will provide money in the event that you’re hurt by somebody who does not have insurance. So, you bring the lawsuit against the person that doesn’t have insurance, but then the insurance that you have purchased, as part of your premium, will step in and defend and will pay for whatever harm was done by that uninsured driver.