Mississippi motorists more likely to encounter uninsured drivers

On behalf of Steve Pittman at Chatham — Pittman, PLLC

Every driver is required to carry automobile insurance to pay for bodily injury and property damage done to other motorists in a car accident. In Mississippi, the minimum liability limits for auto insurance coverage are $25,000 for a single person injured in a crash, $50,000 for all injuries arising out of a single accident and $25,000 for property damage arising out of a single accident. Many drivers carry more than the minimum required coverage.

Despite the law, a number of drivers are uninsured, particularly in Mississippi. Other drivers may have the minimum coverage required by law, but this coverage often does not provide enough to pay for the full damages arising out of a wreck. When one of these drivers causes an accident, you may have to turn to other sources of compensation, like your own uninsured or underinsured motorist policy.

Compensation for an accident may be available through your own insurer or other sources

According to the Insurance Research Council, about 16 percent of drivers nationwide are uninsured. In some regions, however, the problem is significantly more pronounced. Mississippi has the highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the nation, at 26 percent.

In Mississippi, your odds of being involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver are high; more than one in four motorists in the state is driving without insurance. So where can you turn for compensation if you are injured by an uninsured driver?

The most common avenue to compensation in this situation is your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. You might not even know you have this coverage, but if you have the required liability coverage, you probably also have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. In Mississippi, you are automatically provided with this coverage when you purchase a liability policy unless you specifically decline it in writing.

A word of caution, however: when you are making a claim against your own insurer pursuant to your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy, you are likely to be treated as a hostile claimant. In other words, your insurer may not be forthcoming with the full and fair compensation you are owed. Remember, the less money an insurer pays out, the more revenue they retain.

When you are struck by an uninsured motorist or a motorist who does not carry sufficient insurance to cover the full cost of your damages, a claim against your own insurance company might be the best way to recover compensation. But, it is not always the only way. Others who may bear partial responsibilities for injuries could also be held accountable for monetary damages, such as the manufacturer of a defective auto component that led to a crash or a road construction contractor who created a dangerous condition in a work zone.

A Mississippi car accident lawyer can help you get the money you are entitled to

Getting in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist can be stressful, and in Mississippi you are particularly likely to find yourself in this situation. But, there are several ways to collect compensation for your auto accident injuries beyond another driver's liability policy, and with the right legal help you can identify and explore all of them.

Talk to a Mississippi car accident attorney today if you have been injured in a crash or if you have lost a loved one. Your lawyer can ensure you recover the compensation you are entitled to from all available sources.