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690 Flatbush Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06110-1308

27 Holmes Avenue, Waterbury, CT  203 756-6100




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690 Flatbush Avenue West Hartford, CT  06110-1308

860 236-9350             800 856-6400  toll free     860 523-9101  fax

27 Holmes Avenue Downtown Waterbury 203 756-6100


Hartford Personal Injury Lawyer - Farmington, Waterbury, New Britain, Ansonia, Rocky Hill, Plainville, Avon, Wolcott  What If ... Car Accidents
Your Question:
    The police officer told me the driver who caused the car accident didn't have insurance.
Our Answer:

   We all know that many people drive in Connecticut without insurance.  Our lawmakers know about these uninsured motorists, too.  As a result, Connecticut personal injury law requires that your automobile insurance company provide you with a type of coverage known as Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist (called "UM" for short) to protect you if you suffer personal injury in a car accident caused by a driver without insurance.

    Take out your car insurance policy, or look it up online, and check the page (the "Declarations Page") that describes the car accident coverage that you are paying for.

    There is a section called Liability that covers you when you cause a car accident, or someone says you did.  This section pays the injured person for medical expenses, lost time from work, and pain and suffering.  Under Connecticut personal injury law, this coverage has to be at least $20,000 / $40,000 ($40,000 total per car accident but only $20,000 for any one person).

    The next section is usually the Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist part.  This UM coverage takes care of the situation when you or your passengers are injured in a car accident caused by a driver without insurance (an uninsured motorist).  This coverage will also cover you even if you are traveling in someone elseís car or are a pedestrian at the time you suffer your car accident personal injury.

    The Underinsured part comes in if the insurance policy of the driver who caused the car accident is less than the value of your case.  To use this part of your insurance, (1) you must first collect the total liability coverage of the driver at fault for the car accident, and (2) your UM coverage must be higher than the liability coverage of the driver at fault.

Example:  A driver with $20,000 in liability coverage causes you a personal injury in a car accident.  Your UM coverage is $50,000.  Youíre personal injury case is worth $35,000.  After collecting the $20,000 available from the other driverís insurance policy, you can collect $15,000 from the Underinsured Motorist coverage in your policy that you have paid for.

    Think of all the insurance ads you have seen.  Has a single one of them ever mentioned UM coverage?  Probably not.  The insurance companies want you to pay for UM coverage.  But they do not want you to know about this protection that Connecticut personal injury law requires you to have to protect yourself and your family in case of injury from a car accident caused by a driver with no insurance or little insurance.

    As Connecticut car accident lawyers, we at the Serrano Law Firm think you should know about your UM coverage.  And we think you should use it when necessary, the same way you would use your fire insurance policy if your home accidentally burnt.

    When we tell our clients about their UM coverage rights, there are usually 2 questions:


(1)  Wonít my insurance company drop me or raise my premiums if I make a UM personal injury claim?


(2)  Why should my insurance company have to pay if the car accident is someone elseís fault? 

    As to Question 1:  There is no reason for your insurance company to drop you or raise your rates if you have to use your UM coverage.  Remember, you did not cause the automobile accident.  You were just unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Insurance companies base their premiums on how likely a driver is to be the cause of a car accident.  That is why a 16 year old male driving a Corvette with traffic tickets on his record and who lives in a city will pay more for insurance than a 60 year old retired woman driving a Volvo and who lives in the suburbs.  He is a greater risk for making the insurance company pay a personal injury claim for a car accident.

    The fact that you were hit by an uninsured motorist in a car accident does not mean that the same thing is likely to happen to you again in the future.  There is no reason for your insurance company to make you angry by raising your premiums.  You do not present a greater risk to the company that you will cause a personal injury claim.

    Your insurance company has spent a lot of money getting you as a customer.  (Remember those ads.)  They know you can just go to another insurance company that will charge you a premium based on your driving record.  (You did not cause the car accident, so it is not on your driving record.)

    As to Question 2:  Your insurance company is not paying you for someoneís elseís fault.  Your company is paying you for coverage you have purchased to protect yourself for car accidents, the same way your fire insurance policy pays you for coverage you have purchased to protect your house.

    Because UM coverage can protect you and your family in a car accident, it is a good idea to purchase as much of this type of coverage as you can afford.  Make sure that you are properly covered if a Connecticut car accident results in a personal injury claim for you or a family member.  As Connecticut personal injury lawyers, we recommend at least $100,000 in UM coverage.


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