Question

Can I sue an uninsured driver after an accident in Maryland?

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Answer

The short answer is yes – you can sue an uninsured driver in Maryland. However, as with many other legal questions, the main issue is how to best pursue such a claim to maximize the possibility of a favorable outcome.

First, it is important to note that while you would still sue the uninsured driver who caused the accident, any recovery you obtain would be through the Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) provision of your own insurance policy. Every insurance policy issued in the state of Maryland has UM/UIM coverage which ensures that you are protected in exactly these situations, and by law, your insurance company cannot increase your premiums solely as a result of your invoking this protection.

The two types of uninsured drivers

There are two main situations where people are injured by uninsured drivers.

  1. Phantom Driver: Or, as it is more commonly referred to, a “hit and run” driver. These drivers may have insurance, but since they fled the scene, they are effectively uninsured for purposes of your case.
  2. Identified Uninsured Driver: A driver who does not flee the scene, but who was driving without insurance.

Under either scenario, you have the ability to pursue a claim under your own insurance policy up to the limits of whatever coverage you have.

What about Underinsured Motorists?

This is a little more complicated and arises in situations where the at fault driver has insurance, but not enough to cover the value of your claim. In those situations, you can look to your insurance company to “make up the difference” but in order to do so, your Underinsured Motorist Coverage – or UIM – has to be greater than the coverage of the at fault driver. In other words, if the at fault driver has only $30,000 in insurance coverage, you would need to have more than $30,000 in UIM coverage in order to take advantage of that protection. Maryland law does not permit the adding together or “stacking” of the policies.

The Importance of Having a Knowledgeable Attorney

 As you can see from all of the above, UM/UIM situations can be very complicated and difficult to navigate and require the assistance and guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney.

Making sure that you have the benefit of all available insurance coverages is a key part of ensuring you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Moreover, it can be especially beneficial to have someone with experience in insurance defense to ensure that the insurance companies are not able to employ their usual tricks and tactics.

But more than anything, it is critical that you act quickly in retaining the services of a skilled personal injury attorney because time is of the essence and your ability to pursue an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim may hinge on the collection of evidence and information as soon as possible following the accident.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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