Massachusetts Underinsured Motor Vehicle CoverageIn our normal busy lives, when our auto insurance is set to renew for another year, how many of us actually review the coverage our policies offer. My guess is that not many of us do. We probably receive the renewal letters in the mail from our auto insurance companies and cut a check to make sure we keep our vehicles insured.

If there is one aspect of your auto insurance policy I suggest you look at, it’s the Bodily Injury Caused by an Underinsured Auto. In the event you are seriously hurt in a car accident in Massachusetts that was caused by another driver, your underinsured coverage may be critical factor in recovering the compensation you deserve.

Our Framingham car accident lawyers have extensive experience successfully representing people who have been severely injured in car crashes. We have obtained significant and fair compensation for our clients through underinsured auto claims when the negligent driver didn’t have adequate bodily injury coverage. If you have questions about a car accident case or a possible underinsured claim, feel free to call our attorneys at 508-879-3500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

About Underinsured Auto Coverage in Massachusetts

Underinsured auto coverage is a type of insurance that offers you protection if you are injured in a car accident with a driver who carries inadequate bodily injury coverage. It comes into play if the driver that caused the accident you were injured in does not have enough injury coverage to cover the damages caused in the crash.

Coverage from the underinsured motor vehicle part of your policy is very important because it can help you recover financial compensation that may not be fully covered by the other driver's insurance policy. Underinsured motor vehicle coverage is not considered compulsory (mandatory) but is optional. For this reason, some drivers have it and others do not.

Understand Why Underinsured Motor Vehicle Coverage is Important in Massachusetts

There are many reasons why having underinsured motor vehicle coverage is important for Massachusetts drivers. The main reason is that underinsured coverage may offer additional financial protection for you and your family if you are injured in a car accident.

Serious injuries from an accident can leave you with extensive damages such as expensive medical bills, lost income, and significant pain and suffering. If the accident was caused by an underinsured driver, you may not be able to obtain the financial compensation you deserve or even enough compensation to cover your expenses and costs. Underinsured coverage can offer you additional compensation to cover your damages and reimburse you for out-of-pocket expenses.

Additionally, underinsured coverage provides you peace of mind. While we do not want to think about being seriously injured in a car crash, sometimes car accidents happen in a split second and are unavoidable. Knowing that you have enough underinsured motor vehicle coverage can give you peace of mind when you're on the road. You will know that, if the other driver that caused the accident and your injuries doesn’t have adequate bodily injury coverage, you have enough of your own coverage to offer you compensation. Dealing with injuries, lost time from work, and a painful recovery after a crash is bad enough. You shouldn’t have to worry about the financial consequences of an accident caused by someone who doesn't have adequate insurance coverage.

Overall, underinsured motor vehicle coverage can be a valuable addition to your insurance policy, providing you with financial protection and peace of mind on the road.

Examples of Why Underinsured Motor Vehicle Coverage Can Be Critical

Our Framingham injury lawyers have recovered significant compensation for clients from the underinsured motor vehicle portion of their auto insurance policies. In other cases, our clients either did not have underinsured motor vehicle coverage or not enough. Here are a few examples of why it is so important in Massachusetts:

Significant Underinsured Coverage

One afternoon, our client was driving to the grocery store to pick up a few items for dinner. As she carefully traveled down a two-way street in Framingham, Massachusetts, another distracted driver crossed over the double yellow line and struck her head-on. The crash caused her to suffer a fractured pelvis, a spinal injury, and serious head trauma. She had to have her pelvis surgically repaired and suffered greatly from her injuries. The other driver only carried $100,000 in bodily injury limits. Our client’s damages far exceeded the $100,000 in injury limits the other driver carried. However, we discovered that our client had $250,000 in underinsured motor vehicle coverage. Thus, we were able to recover the full $100,000 from the other driver’s insurance company and $150,000 from our client’s auto insurance company from her underinsured portion of her policy. The reason the recovery from the underinsured coverage was $150,000 and not $250,000 is because the insurance company is legally allowed to apply an offset for what the other driver’s insurance paid ($250,000 - $100,000).

Not Enough Underinsured Coverage

By contrast, another one of our clients was involved in a serious car crash in Marlborough, Massachusetts when another driver ran a redlight and collided with our client’s car. The accident was very severe and caused our client to suffer a fractured femur bone (the thigh bone). Our client required surgery to repair his severely fractured femur. In addition to the expensive medical bills, our client was out of work for a lengthy period of time and incurred significant lost wages. The other driver’s insurance policy only carried $50,000 in bodily injury limits. While our client did have underinsured motor vehicle coverage, he only carried $50,000 in underinsured coverage. Unfortunately, in Massachusetts, insurance companies are allowed to offset any payment of underinsured motor vehicle coverage by the bodily injury limits payment of the negligent driver’s insurance policy. In this case, our client’s insurance company applied a full offset. Therefore, our client was unable to obtain any additional coverage from the underinsured motor vehicle portion of his insurance policy.

No Underinsured Coverage

In another case, we represented a young girl who was hit by a motor vehicle while she rode her scooter down the street in Acton, Massachusetts. This girl suffered a laceration to her shin that required sutures to close. The laceration healed, however, a permanent scar was left. After the accident, our attorneys discovered that the negligent driver carried the Massachusetts state minimum of $20,000 in bodily injury limits. Since our experienced injury attorneys determined that the value of the scar and the overall injures of this young girl exceeded the $20,000 injury limits of the negligent driver, we looked to the young girl’s parent’s auto insurance policy for additional coverage. Since the girl was a household member of her parents, a claim may be made with the parent’s auto insurance policy. However, our investigation revealed that the parents did not have any coverage for an underinsured motor vehicle. In this case, the negligent driver was judgment proof, and our client could not recover any additional compensation beyond the $20,000.

These are just a few examples of why underinsured motor vehicle coverage is so important. You should review your auto insurance policies to determine if you are fully covered. If you do not have underinsured motorist coverage or do not have enough, you should contact your insurance agent. If you have any questions about underinsured coverage or an accident, feel free to contact our Framingham personal injury law office. We are happy to schedule a free consultation to answer your questions, discuss your legal options to seek compensation after an accident, and how we can help.

Charles S. Pappas
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Massachusetts injury lawyer & workers' compensation attorney serving accident victims in Webster & Framingham.
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