By Jedidiah McKeehan
When you are injured in a car wreck, and that car wreck was caused by someone else, it is very possible that you have a claim for damages against the at-fault driver.
If you are hurt much at all, it is very likely that your medical expenses will run in to the thousands of dollars very quickly. Who is going to pay for the medical expenses that you incur because of a car wreck that was caused by someone else?
Forgive me if the answer to this question seems incredibly easy, but unfortunately, it is not. The answer is, the at-fault driver’s car insurance will generally be the one that pays you for your injuries. At least that is usually the answer, in part because Tennessee law requires that all drivers maintain car insurance.
If the at-fault driver had car insurance, then the car insurance should pay any amount of judgment or settlement amount up to its policy limits. In Tennessee, the law states that the minimum amount of car insurance coverage a driver is required to have is $25,000.00 per bodily injury. That means, that if you have injuries (think medical expenses) over $25,000.00, well tough, all you are getting is $25,000.00 from their insurance company.
What do you do in this circumstance? Usually it is not worth going after an individual’s personal assets. The person is potentially allowed to protect up to $10,000.00 worth of personal property, and most people simply do not have much cash on hand. If they did, they would have a higher car insurance policy!
So, what do you do if someone does not have enough car insurance to cover your injuries? Or maybe they have no car insurance at all! If they do not have car insurance, and you have car insurance, then your car insurance may be the one paying for your damages under the uninsured coverage portion of its policy. You may not have even realized that you had this type of coverage as part of your car insurance, but you very well might. If the other driver had no insurance, or does not have enough insurance to cover your damages, then you can make a claim against your own car insurance under your uninsured policy provision and seek further compensation.
You may not be thrilled about making a claim against your own insurance for injuries from a car wreck that you did not cause, but it is very often the most financially beneficial thing for you to do.
What would be a really terrifying situation is if you get in a car wreck with someone who does not have car insurance, and you do not have car insurance either. Then you are unlikely to be compensated at all for your injuries. Hopefully you do not find yourself in this situation and are able to make a claim against the other driver’s insurance and they have enough insurance to compensate you for all of the injuries that you sustained.
Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties. He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.