South Carolina law contains provisions to “fill the gap” that sometimes can occur as a result of auto accidents. In many cases in South Carolina, drivers are underinsured. That means that they are only likely carrying the required minimum amount of $25,000, which will not be enough to pay for the injuries sustained by the other driver. In such cases, if you have elected to purchase UIM coverage (underinsured motorist coverage), then you may be able to utilize it to pay for the damages not covered under the other policy.
Many drivers in South Carolina, however, actually have no insurance at all, and getting into an accident with an uninsured driver can be financially devastating. Some studies estimate 10% of all drivers on South Carolina roads are driving without insurance coverage. For that reason, South Carolina requires all automobiles insured in the state to carry uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage.
How Does UM Coverage Work?
All insurance policies for automobiles in South Carolina must carry UM coverage, which will provide coverage for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages you may suffer as a result of the actions of the uninsured driver. The coverage will be provided up to the limits of what you purchase. The coverage minimum for UM coverage for bodily injury claims is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, although it is in your interest if you can afford to do so to purchase additional coverage per person and per accident, so there is no chance that you will not be made whole if you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist.
UM coverage is in essence paying additional premiums to the insurance company to stand in the shoes of the insurance company for the uninsured motorist that is responsible for your damages, and provide the coverage that otherwise would have been provided to you if the driver was properly insured, by the other insurer. Sometimes UM coverage can even be “stacked” to provide additional money for damages, and in some instances UM benefits can be collected for the same accident under different policies.
When is UM Coverage Available to Accident Victims
UM coverage will always be available to you through your own insurance policy, when you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist, or are in a hit and run accident. UM coverage may be available to you if you have been in an accident even if you do not have an automobile or an insurance policy of your own.
If you are a passenger in someone else’s car, and the other car is uninsured, you have access to the UM benefits of the driver, which at a minimum will have $25,000 worth of coverage for passengers. There are also some instances where you may be entitled to benefits under an auto policy of somebody else who lives in your home, such as a family member.
Innocent parties who are seeking UM coverage must prove that (1) they are legally entitled to recover damages; (2) from the owner of an uninsured vehicle; (3) because of bodily injuries (4) sustained from an accident; (5) that arose out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the uninsured vehicle.
David Aylor Law Offices can help you. Call or email an experienced UM auto accident attorney today and find out how we can fight for you to be fairly compensated in Charleston.