You left for work at your regular time, thinking about the day ahead. It never occurred to you that you'd never make it there. You got rear-ended by a tailgater when traffic suddenly halted. With a totaled car and you in the hospital, the State Police informed you that the offending party did not carry automobile insurance.
New Hampshire Automobile Insurance Law
New Hampshire is one of the few states that do not require car owners to carry insurance. Owners must, however, satisfy New Hampshire's Financial Responsibility requirements if they elect not to carry insurance. When they register their vehicle with the DMV, they must file an “Owner's Certificate,” using the SR22 form provided. This then becomes proof that if they are at fault in an accident, they are financially capable of meeting the state's minimum insurance limits.
What is the Value of Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
In the above scenario, if the wrong-doer does not meet New Hampshire's financial requirements, he will face possible suspension of his license. According the New Hampshire's DMV, “If the combined damages are over $1,000.00 or there is personal injury and the uninsured motorist is at fault, N.H. can suspend the uninsured motorist's driver license and registration privileges.”
Fortunately, you do have automobile insurance and, because New Hampshire requires it, you automatically have Uninsured Motorist coverage. This covers accident-related expenses if hit by an uninsured driver, or a hit-and-run.
It's important to know that there are two types of uninsured coverage – bodily injury (UMBI) and property damage (UMPD).
The first covers your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering – a life saver if you don't have health insurance.
The second covers charges for towing, storage and car repair. If the car is totaled, the insurance pays the retail value of your car at the time of the accident. UMPD also provides for a rental car, and covers any property destroyed in the accident (computer, eyeglasses, etc.).
What if My Uninsured Motorist Coverage is Insufficient?
Unfortunately, with the high cost of health care, your policy may not come close to providing you with funds required to pay your medical bills and future treatment needs. You'll receive bills for the ambulance, the ER, the ER doctor, radiology, your hospital stay, the attending physician, and possibly for consulting doctors and additional radiology tests. If you required surgery, you'll get bills from the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, lab work, rehabilitation, outpatient physical therapy and prescription medication.
The above state of affairs develops very quickly and very frequently. Without health insurance and perhaps without the ability to go back to work anytime soon, you could find yourself in a mountain of debt.
If this happens to you, consult with a personal injury attorney who is well-versed in New Hampshire laws. He will go after the offending driver and will conduct an assets investigation. This investigation will yield information on the driver's financial situation, including cash, bank accounts, and property. He will do everything in his power to put you back on your feet again.