Posted September 21, 2017 | Vehicle Accidents
With its historic architecture, eclectic food scene, and plenty of shops and museums to visit, Philadelphia is every pedestrian’s dream city. On the other hand, Philadelphia’s narrow streets, chaotic intersections, and aggressive drivers can also make it a pedestrian’s nightmare. If you are hit by a car while walking in Philadelphia, you should contact a Philadelphia car accident attorney for help. Additionally, being prepared with some basic insurance knowledge could save you time, stress, and money. Read on to learn how auto insurance comes into play if you are hit by a car as a pedestrian in Pennsylvania.
Under state law, all Pennsylvania drivers are required to purchase a type of auto insurance known as “liability insurance.” Unlike comprehensive and collision coverage, which help drivers pay for damage to their own vehicles, liability insurance covers damages caused to others by a negligent driver. If you are ever hit by a car while you are walking in Philadelphia – or, for that matter, any other town or city in Pennsylvania – a negligent driver’s liability insurance will provide coverage to pay for medical bills, injuries, and other losses, up to the policy limits.
On that point, there’s some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that most drivers in Pennsylvania have liability insurance coverage, because it is mandatory under state law. Specifically, Pennsylvania requires that all drivers purchase at least the following coverage minimums:
The bad news is that some drivers defy the law and drive without liability insurance, or don’t carry enough coverage to pay for the resulting injuries and medical bills after an accident. So what are your options if the driver who hits you doesn’t have adequate insurance coverage, or worse, doesn’t have any insurance coverage? In this scenario, you may be able to turn to your own auto insurance.
UM stands for “Uninsured Motorist.” A uninsured motorist is a person who drives without liability insurance in violation of state law.
UIM stands for “Underinsured Motorist.” An underinsured motorist is a driver who has insurance, but whose policy limits are too low to pay for all the damages caused in a crash. Considering the enormous price tags on many medical procedures, many crash victims are left underinsured.
UM/UIM insurance is a type of optional automobile insurance coverage that you can purchase to protect yourself against uninsured and underinsured drivers. If you have UM/UIM insurance coverage, your policy will help you pay for damages if the other driver’s policy limits are insufficient. In short, UM/UIM coverage is a way to give yourself a financial safety net in the event you become seriously injured.
UM/UIM coverage will also cover losses caused by a hit-and-run driver. Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents are common in Philadelphia, harming pedestrians and cyclists alike. Hit-and-run drivers are categorized as uninsured motorists, so UM/UIM insurance can help to pay for your care costs even if you cannot identify or contact the person who hit you. In addition to covering the insured him- or herself, UM/UIM insurance coverage also protects a policyholder’s family members who live in the same household. (It also protects the policyholder’s passengers, though this detail is less significant for pedestrians.) Because of these benefits, it is recommended that you purchase UM/UIM coverage immediately.
If you are hit by a car as a pedestrian and there is no other insurance coverage, you might be eligible for benefits through the Pennsylvania Assigned Claims Plan. This is an organization – not an insurance company – that provides benefits when no insurance coverage is available.
Claimants who qualify for the Assigned Claims Plan can recover up to $5,000 for medical bills, and up to $15,000 (per person) for personal injury, similar to the minimum coverage requirements for liability insurance in Pennsylvania. There are numerous eligibility requirements for the Assigned Claims Plan, which a Philadelphia auto injury lawyer can help you navigate after a crash or collision.
According to PennDOT statistics, more than 4,200 pedestrians were injured in Pennsylvania last year, while more than 170 pedestrians were killed in fatal accidents. More than 40 of these deaths – nearly a quarter – occurred here in Philadelphia County.
Pedestrian accidents are more common than most people realize. If you or someone you love is injured in a pedestrian auto accident, call the Wieand Law Firm, LLC at (800) 481-5206 to see how our experienced personal injury attorneys can help.
*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. The Wieand Law Firm, LLC is based in Philadelphia, PA, and proud to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.*