Uninsured Motorist Protection

Louisiana motorists are generally required to maintain liability insurance on their vehicles. The main purpose of liability insurance is to pay damages on behalf of the insured party in the event that someone is injured by the negligent operation of a vehicle. Under state law, each vehicle must carry liability coverage of at least $15,000 per person injured or killed, and at least $30,000 per accident if two or more people are injured or killed.

Unfortunately, far too many people ignore these laws and drive without the necessary insurance to keep themselves and other motorists protected while driving. To address this problem, Louisiana law requires that every auto insurance policy issued in the state include uninsured motorist coverage, unless the customer specifically rejects the coverage in writing.

What is Uninsured Motorist Protection?

The uninsured coverage must be in amounts at least equal to the policy’s liability coverage, unless the customer opts in writing for lower coverage or chooses coverage for economic loss only, without coverage for pain and suffering.

The law defines an uninsured motorist to include a hit-and-run driver who cannot be identified. Under this circumstance, there must be physical contact between the vehicles unless the injured person can prove, through an independent witness, that the unidentified driver caused the accident. An uninsured motorist is also defined to include someone who is underinsured; that is, they have insurance, but not enough to cover all of the victim’s injuries.

In a serious injury claim arising out of an auto accident, uninsured coverage can play a key role in providing adequate compensation for the victim. It is a good idea for every driver in the state of Louisiana to make sure that they have uninsured coverage in their insurance policy, and if not, to get coverage as soon as possible.

Who Needs Uninsured Motorist Protection?

Louisiana has a mandatory uninsured motorist statute. By means of this, a person in Louisiana buying automobile insurance is also presumed to have bought uninsured or underinsured coverage. Louisiana law specifically requires that the individual purchasing the insurance policy reject such coverage if the mandatory uninsured motorist coverage is not going to be included. In fact, Louisiana has a form that the individual purchasing the policy will have to sign in order for the underinsured coverage to be officially rejected.

This can be important to note because there are occasional cases where we are able to show a judge or jury that the individual purchasing the policy never rejected such coverage before being involved in an auto accident. Courts will hold that they are entitled to underinsured coverage unless they have specifically signed off on the rejection form.

Why Is Uninsured Motorist Protection So Important?

It is estimated that the rate of uninsured motorists on Louisiana roads is approximately 13%. This number is slightly under the national average of 13.8% but still presents a major threat to uninsured and insured drivers alike. If a driver’s expenses are not covered by a form of insurance, they must be provided for by the driver typically out-of-pocket. Lower monthly premiums through rejection or underinsurance also comes with a severe, more costly risk.

When a person is injured by a negligent driver and the driver turns out to be uninsured, the injured person can make a claim against the uninsured coverage of their own policy. The uninsured coverage essentially takes place of the liability coverage that the negligent driver failed to carry.

The experienced auto accident attorneys at Gordon & Gordon understand the troublesome and confusing world of insurance navigation. If you or a loved one are suffering as a result of an auto accident, whether insured or uninsured, please contact us today at 318-716-HELP (4357) for a free and confidential consultation to protect your rights and limit potential liabilities.

What is No Pay, No Play?

This is what La. R.S 32:866. has come to be called. What is no pay, no play? Simply put, if you do not have insurance on your vehicle at the time of an accident, even if you aren’t at fault, you cannot make a claim for your property damage or your bodily injury. Specifically, you can not collect the first $15,000 of bodily injury or $25,000 worth of property damage. This applies to not only the driver but also the owner.

For Example: if you’re riding in your own uninsured car with someone else, then you would BOTH be unable to make a claim.

Thankfully, there are some exceptions to this rule:

  • If the driver is found guilty of or if there plead no contest to DUI
  • If the at-fault driver hits and runs
  • If your car is parked

If you have any questions about no pay, no play, please give Gordon & Gordon a call today!

(318) 716-HELP (4357)

If I use my own insurance, will my rates go up?

The question we are often asked, & the confusion we hear about more than any other, is using your own insurance coverage to handle your personal injury claim. Most people believe that their insurance rates will increase. While there is certainly some truth to this, if you are at fault for an accident, yes, your rates can go up, but they will not go up if you are not to blame for an accident.  The State of Louisiana has addressed this issue in La. R.S. 22:1466(A), which says that:

“No insurer shall increase the rate, increase or add a surcharge, cancel, or fail to renew any policy of motor vehicle insurance when such action is based on consideration of one or more non-fault incidents.”

There are a few things to pull out of that statute:

  1. The insurance company can not add any type of charge to your account for you making a claim on your insurance.
  2. They can not take the claim into account, for insurability purposes or for rate purposes, when it comes time for you to renew your policy.
  3. It doesn’t matter at all how many times you make a claim on your policy, as long as you are not assessed any fault for the accident.

At Gordon & Gordon, we have had several clients who seem to have a target on their back. One client was rear ended three times in a year and we were able to make Uninsured Motorist claims without any impact whatsoever on his policy or rates.

If you have any questions, please give us a call at (318) 716-HELP.