I Was Injured in a Buffalo Car Accident by an Uninsured Driver. Now What?

by William Mattar | July 29th, 2019

Most drivers assume if they are involved in a car accident in Buffalo, their damages (whether property, physical or both) will be paid by the at-fault driver’s auto insurance. After all, car insurance is mandated in the state of New York. Driving without car insurance is against the law and could result in losing your driver’s license and paying hundreds of dollars in fines.

On the other hand, some of us may know somebody who is driving without auto insurance. Whether it’s because they say they can’t afford insurance or don’t think they need insurance because they “never have accidents”, there are, unfortunately, people who drive without car insurance.

In fact, a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) found that one in eight U.S. drivers regularly drive without insurance. Florida is home to the most uninsured drivers–26 percent– while Maine has the lowest number of uninsured drivers–about five percent. The IRC study also reports the average cost of uninsured drivers’ claim is $20,000. This average excludes the cost of repairing the vehicle!

Hit and Injured by an Uninsured Driver in Buffalo? Here’s What You Need To Do

NYS auto insurance laws mandate drivers carry at least $25,000 per driver to cover bodily injury and at minimum of $50,000 for each accident. New York Vehicle and Traffic Code 315 also states that if a New York State resident’s car insurance is terminated or canceled, that person must surrender their license plates and registration to the DMV or face potential suspension of their driver’s license and registration.

What is SUM?

SUM insurance coverage offers added protection if an at-fault driver’s is not insured or his/her policy doesn’t cover an accident victim’s damages. For example, if an uninsured driver T-bones you at an intersection, totals your car and puts you in the hospital with serious injuries and your SUM coverage provides up to $100,000, then you can make a claim of up to $100,000. Essentially, SUM coverage allows you to make up the difference.

Making a SUM Claim

Before you can make a SUM claim, multiple requirements have to be met. Here are a few:

  • Submit written notice that you intend to make a claim as soon as possible. Failing to provide this written notice could result in your claim being denied
  • If a lawsuit is filed, you must forward copies of a summons/complaint and other associated papers, if applicable, to the auto insurance carrier
  • Obtain information of the at-fault driver’s policy limits. Before your SUM coverage becomes available, other insurance coverages, if they exist, must be exhausted. In addition, in most cases, you also need to receive permission from your SUM carrier before you can settle.

In general, SUM coverage applies to you, your spouse and any relatives living in your home. However, these relatives must prove they use your address as their home address and are not just visiting or living there on a temporary basis.

Should You Hire a Buffalo Car Accident Attorney?

Getting hit and injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver presents a number of legal complexities that may cause your claim to be denied or significantly delayed. In addition, recovering from serious physical injuries in a hospital or at home doesn’t leave you much time, energy or resources to ensure your claim is handled properly and expeditiously.

SUM claims are meant to help victims of uninsured or underinsured drivers remain financially stable while they recuperate from physical injuries. Unfortunately, adhering to complicated rules and regulations governing SUM can leave accident victims feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Having a Buffalo car accident attorney managing your claim eliminates the burden of worrying about receiving monies you are rightfully owed.

If you have suffered serious physical injuries in a Buffalo car accident involving an uninsured, driver, call William Mattar today to schedule a free, initial consultation appointment. You could be eligible to receive compensation for your damages.