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Make Sure Your Tennessee Auto Insurance Policy Covers Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists, Especially If You Use Ride-Share Programs

If you or a loved one has been injured by the negligent driving of another, you are encouraged to speak with a Knoxville or Maryville car accident attorney. The Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. takes car accident cases seriously and is committed to providing compassionate and aggressive representation in order get you the compensation you deserve.

Being in an accident can be financially difficult with the potential lost wages, required medical care, property damage, and other losses. If you are in a vehicle accident in Tennessee, the other driver, even if they are at fault, may lack the insurance to cover your injuries or, even worse, they may not be carrying any insurance.

More than 20% of all Tennessee drivers do not carry automobile insurance. Just recently, two high profile accidents were reported in Knoxville where the alleged at-fault driver was cited for not having proof of insurance. Furthermore, the Tennessee Department of Commerce has recently warned about the lack of coverage of ride-share programs.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists In the News

Recently, the Knoxville New Sentinel reported a pile-up accident on Callahan drive. A Silver Acura ran out of gas and a driver of a Toyota Tacoma stopped to give assistance. Within moments, a driver of a PT Cruiser smashed into the back of the Toyota Tacoma, pinning the Acura driver between the Toyota Tacoma and the Acura. Police arriving to the scene charged the driver of the PT cruiser with careless driving, driving on a suspended license, and not having proof of insurance.

Also, the Maryville Daily Times recently reported an accident on East Lamar Alexander Parkway where a Ford Taurus crossed the center lane colliding with a Toyota Tacoma, requiring the jaws of life to extract the Ford driver from the vehicle. Police charged the Ford driver with driving on a revoked license, no proof of insurance, and violation of the due care law.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce recently published a warning about insurance gaps in common ride-share programs. The memo noted that companies like Lyft, UberX, and Sidecar may not have uninsured motorist coverage. These vehicles may also be underinsured, with no coverage for medical payments and collision. Many insurance policies have clauses denying coverage when the vehicles are being driven for a fee. Tennessee court cases have held that these exclusions can even include driving to pick up or drop off of a passenger. See Smith v. Service Fire Ins. Co., described in Commercial Credit Corporation v. Monroe.

Tennessee Laws Dealing With Uninsured Or Underinsured Motorists

Under Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-12-102 (“§ 102”), vehicle drivers are required to carry a minimum liability of $25,000 for bodily injury, $50,000 for bodily injury when 2 or more people are hurt, and $15,000 for property damage. Tennessee also requires that policies include uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage at least as much as the bodily injury and property injury coverage. However, policy holders can waive uninsured or underinsured in writing.

Once a claim is filed, an insurance company will assign the claim to an adjuster who will determine the property damage and bodily injury in a claim. An adjuster utilizes various guidelines to determine the amount of a claim including vehicle damage, medical expenses, loss of earnings or wages, and other factors.

You should maintain proper insurance on any vehicle you own, and also make sure that any car you borrow is properly insured. Given the number of uninsured or underinsured drivers on the road, it is highly recommended that your policy have solid uninsured or underinsured coverage.

If you are involved in an automobile wreck in Tennessee, it is critical that you speak with a local attorney with experience representing individuals that have been injured by drivers carrying little or no insurance.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. at (865) 524-5657 or through our contact page. There is always someone available to talk to you about your case.

Additional Resources:
Tennessee Auto Insurance Laws & Regulations, 2014, Nolo Press

Bal BS. An introduction to medical malpractice in the United States.,Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. 2009;467(2):339-347.

More Blog Entries:
Knoxville Court Case Where Rear-End Accident Not Automatically The Fault Of The Rear Vehicle — Hicks v. Prahl, Apr 5, 2014, Knoxville Injury Lawyer Blog

Tennessee Auto Insurance Myths and Misconceptions, Jul. 17, 2013, Knoxville Injury Lawyer Blog

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