One of the first things you are probably going to do after you purchase a new automobile is to call your insurance agent so that you can get a new auto insurance policy. After all, you want to protect your new investment as well as comply with Louisiana state law.
When you talk to your insurance company, your agent may recommend some coverage types, including uninsured motorist coverage, which pays for injury or property damage caused by a driver without or with insufficient auto insurance.
Uninsured motorist coverage (UMC) comes in handy if you are hit by another driver who flees the scene. From our team of Louisiana car accident attorneys at Pierce & Shows, here’s why UMC is so helpful.
Why Hit and Run Accidents Are So Common in Louisiana
The state of Louisiana defines a hit and run as the failure of a driver involved in an accident to render aid or exchange information.
The state of Louisiana reported 15, 927 hit and run accidents in 2014 with 3,688 involving an injury. By 2019, this number had grown to 17,860 total accidents including 4, 176 involving an injury.
This upward trend is fueled by more people doing the following:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving without a license
- Driving on a suspended or revoked license
- Driving on an expired license
- Driving without insurance
- Driving while texting or talking on a cellphone
It is surprising that so many drivers flee after an accident considering the severe legal penalties if they get caught.
- A misdemeanor hit and run – fine of $500 or up to 6 months in jail
- A felony hit and run involving a fatality or serious injury – fine up to $5,000 or imprisonment of up to 10 years
- License suspension (plus a $60 license reinstatement fee following the suspension period)
- Higher insurance rates
Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Required for Louisiana Drivers?
Louisiana law requires drivers to carry minimum liability coverage on their vehicles.
When you speak to your insurer, they will tell you that you have to get liability insurance on your car. This liability coverage must include:
- $15,000 for bodily injury to one person;
- $30,000 for bodily injury to more than one person; and
- $25,000 for property damage.
While uninsured motorist coverage is not required in Louisiana, it can be an important tool for drivers.
In addition to the protection that uninsured motorist coverage provides from drivers without adequate auto insurance, this kind of policy is essential if you are the victim of a hit and run.
In many cases, the police may never find the fleeing driver, which means you will not be able to bring an insurance claim against their insurer. Furthermore, many such drivers flee because they lack insurance, so even if they are identified, you are still left responsible for medical and repair bills.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, then your own insurer will cover your expenses following a hit and run accident. You don’t need to find the other driver or negotiate with their insurer as your policy covers your expenses.
In theory, the best thing to do is to get as much uninsured motorist coverage as you can afford. Your policy will only pay out as much as is covered, so it is best to obtain the greatest amount of coverage as possible. If you do suffer an accident with a hit and run driver, your uninsured motorist coverage may not pay for everything if you opt for a cheaper policy.
Contact A Personal Injury Attorney in Baton Rouge
If you have been in a hit and run accident, or an accident of any kind, you need to protect your rights. The attorneys at Pierce & Shows can help ensure that the insurance companies pay you everything that you deserve. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, contact us for a free consultation.