Mississippi has some of the highest rates of uninsured motorists in the nation. If you get hit by another driver, there’s a 30% chance that you’ve been involved in an accident with someone that has absolutely no insurance. And this doesn’t even touch on the scores of drivers that only carry minimum limits, so are otherwise considered underinsured.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Laws in Mississippi
Mississippi requires that all motorists carry liability insurance with limits of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. This sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t that much.
Assuming your accident was serious, property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages could easily top $100,000 or much more. When the driver that is at fault doesn’t have proper coverage, this becomes a complex issue.
You might feel an immediate sense of relief because you carry uninsured motorist coverage. Not so fast. This can help. But getting what you need and deserve from this coverage can be complicated.
What Happens If I’m Hit by An Uninsured Motorist?
If you were hit by an uninsured motorist, you could always sue them for damages. These efforts would be futile, however, if that driver didn’t have any financial resources to pay an award.
Most drivers in Mississippi have uninsured motorist coverage. Those that don’t have to specifically opt-out of the coverage when setting up a policy.
One of the most important benefits of this coverage is the ability to stack your coverage in most cases. Here is how stacking works: your insurance policy covers 2 vehicles with uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident. When you can stack, you’ll have coverage for $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident.
Another feature of uninsured motorist coverage in this state is referred to as the “set off.” Assume you’re in an accident with someone that carries coverage of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident. You have your own uninsured motorist coverage equal to $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident. If you have $50,000 in total damages, there is a set off for the at-fault driver’s $25,000 in coverage, which leaves you with just $25,000 ($50,000-$25,000) in UM coverage remaining.
Using the same scenario, this would become an issue if you only carried $25,000 in UM coverage. This would leave you with $0 coverage and $25,000 short to cover your damages. Because the at-fault party’s $25,000 in coverage sets off your own $25,000 in coverage.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
As you can see, issues related to uninsured and underinsured motorists are incredibly complex. In a perfect world, insurance would function the way we would hope, but this isn’t most people’s reality. These companies are in business to make a profit, and they behave accordingly.
Insurance companies use a variety of tactics to minimize their payouts and deny responsibility for claims, even though they should be paying for damages under the terms of their contracts. For example, an insurer might offer you much less than your case is worth or use delaying tactics in the hopes of wearing you down.
Rather than deal with these issues yourself, particularly in the wake of a serious accident, it makes sense to have a strong legal advocate on your side. A personal injury attorney will take over negotiations with your insurance company, help you find the providers you need, and will fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve from every available source.
Get Help with Your Uninsured Motorist Claim
What many injury victims fail to realize is that they aren’t out of luck if an uninsured driver hits them. Your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can be used to cover the same damages as the liability insurance of an at-fault driver. This includes medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Insurance companies would prefer that you don’t understand these facts and will do everything possible to minimize their payouts. At Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC, we have extensive experience dealing with uninsured motorist claims in Mississippi and will work tirelessly to secure all of the coverage available to you after a serious crash.
Dealing with insurers can be tough. Contact our Biloxi office now at 1-855-558-2977 for a free consultation to discuss your situation.