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Is It Important To Have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

When a client has been injured in an automobile accident, one of the first things New Orleans personal injury attorneys explore is what insurance coverage is available to compensate the injured party. Louisiana law requires all drivers to carry a minimum level of Bodily Injury Liability coverage of $15,000 per injured person and $30,000 per accident. When the driver who caused the injury is uninsured or the responsible party does not carry enough insurance to compensate for the injuries, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage also may provide coverage.

Louisiana law has a unique approach to uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Motorists are not absolutely required to purchase it, but they are presumed to have done so unless they specifically reject the coverage. There is a form that the individual purchasing automobile insurance must sign stating that they reject the coverage. If this form has not been signed and an injured person seeks compensation under this coverage, a court may presume that the policyholder never rejected the coverage.

Louisiana also allows for different types of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) basically covers repairs to a vehicle damaged in a collision. More relevant to a personal injury claim is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UM), which provides additional coverage for injuries suffered by occupants of a vehicle if the responsible driver was uninsured or carried a lesser amount of bodily injury insurance. It is also possible to purchase Uninsured Motorist Economic-only coverage. This coverage is limited to the actual costs of the injuries to you and the occupants of your vehicle. Pain and suffering are not included under this coverage, which may impact the amount that can be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit.

If you have been involved in an automobile accident and have any questions, we would be happy to help you. Please call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.