When a driver who causes a Pennsylvania crash is underinsured

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Car Accidents |

Getting into a crash caused by an uninsured driver is one of the most frightening situations possible. The fault-based insurance system in Pennsylvania often leaves people dependent on the coverage carried by the person at fault for the wreck. If the person who causes a crash does not have proper insurance coverage, then the people injured by the collision may have few options. They must either use specialty coverage they added to their own policies or take legal action against the uninsured driver.

Only a small percentage of motorists and Pennsylvania drive without coverage, but thousands more drive with inadequate coverage. Underinsured motorists are everywhere on Pennsylvania roads, and they can cause financial hardship for those who aren’t at fault for a crash in the same ways that uninsured drivers can.

Pennsylvania’s requirements are simply too low

The amount of insurance necessary to legally drive in Pennsylvania does not realistically reflect what a collision might cost. Drivers generally need to carry liability coverage for both crashes that cause property damage and crashes that cause injury to others.

Property damage coverage requirements in Pennsylvania are quite low. Drivers technically only need to have $5,000 in property damage coverage to remain compliant with state law. That is not nearly enough to replace a totaled vehicle and may not even be sufficient to repair damage to a vehicle.

The bodily injury coverage requirements are higher but still too low given the current costs of medical care. A driver in Pennsylvania only needs to provide $15,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage if a crash hurts one person. The minimum amount of coverage necessary increases to $30,000 if a collision injures two or more people.

A single surgery after a car crash could easily cost more than $15,000. Given that bodily injury liability coverage also needs to reimburse people for lost wages, a driver with only the coverage required by the state could leave people with hundreds of thousands of dollars in uncovered personal losses.

Motorists can supplement their insurance coverage by adding underinsured motorist protection to their policies. They may also need to consider taking legal action if an uninsured driver causes a catastrophic crash. Acknowledging the most significant financial risks on the roads, and seeking legal guidance when necessary, may help people more effectively limit their risk in the event of a collision.