An increasing number of motorists are driving without insurance, according to an article published this month in the Insurance Journal.
Nationwide, the Insurance Research Council estimates 13 percent of all U.S. motorists were uninsured in 2015, up slightly from 2010 following a number of years of decline. Maine reported about 5 percent of all motorists are on the road without insurance, which put it ahead of other states. But motorists in Maine still remain at substantial risk of uninsured motorist accidents — in part because poor driving records have often left such motorists without either a driver’s license or liability insurance.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Maine
Maine law requires minimum auto insurance limits of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per incident for bodily injury, as well as $25,000 in property damage. Maine law also requires uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage of at least $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident. Maine has higher coverage requirements than many states, and mandated UM/UIM coverage is an added protection against being involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
However, the high number of uninsured motorists continues to put pressure on premiums, since insurers increased the cost of Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage in twice as many states as saw decreases from 2010 to 2015.
Injury attorneys in Bangor continue to work with accident victims to make sure they are treated fairly by their insurance company. Filing an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim puts you in an adversarial position with your own insurance company, and you should not count on insurers treating you like a customer.
UM/UIM coverage can also be an asset in a number of other accident scenarios, including hit-and-run collisions, accidents involving multiple vehicles, accidents involving family members, and bicycle or pedestrian accidents.
Determining Liability in Maine Auto Accidents
Maine is an “at-fault” state when it comes to traffic collisions, meaning the at-fault driver is liable for the resulting injuries and damages. Maine follows a rule of modified comparative negligence, which means those deemed partially at fault may still be able to recover damages. Those 50 percent or more at fault may not collect damages.
Accident victims often turn to an experienced personal injury law firm to deal with insurance companies after an underinsured motorist accident. Insurers have adjusters, claim representatives, appraisers, and lawyers paid to focus on reducing costs. A personal injury attorney experienced in dealing with insurance companies on a daily basis will be in a good position to evaluate your case, negotiate a settlement, or prepare your case for trial.
To prove negligence under Maine law, a victim must show the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, a breach of that duty resulted in the plaintiff’s injury, the injury was reasonably foreseeable as a result of the defendant’s actions (or inaction), and the plaintiff suffered some form of damages (calculable loss).
Claims may seek economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages include things like medical bills, cost of rehabilitation, lost wages, and property damage, while non-economic damages cover things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship. Maine Revised Statutes §2-804 places a $500,000 limit on pain and suffering damages in wrongful death lawsuits.
If you are a victim of a Bangor car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-490-5218 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
More Blog Entries:
Liability in Maine Sledding and Skiing Accidents, Feb. 9, 2018, Peter Thompson & Associates.