The Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF) has two roles-the first is to provide insurance to people who are turned down by other insurance companies. The second, more important function is to provide basic insurance coverage when there is no other coverage available. This is known as Unsatisfied Claim and Judgment (UCJ). Here are two common scenarios:
Scenario 1: An uninsured driver runs a red light and hits a pedestrian lawfully in the crosswalk. Because the driver didn’t have insurance, the pedestrian may be able to make a claim through MAIF.
Scenario 2: An unknown driver cuts off an MTA bus, causing the bus to swerve into another vehicle. The negligent driver is never found. People injured on the bus may be eligible to make a claim through MAIF.
As you can see, a MAIF-UCJ claim can be made when the negligent driver’s insurance cannot be found or does not exist. It may also apply where the other driver is from out-of-state, and has lower coverage than MAIF. Importantly, MAIF will not provide coverage where the injured person has available insurance, usually in the form of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (which we recommend-MAIF has very low limits, and we see many people who have medical bills that far exceed the $20,000 minimum).
Amount of Coverage
MAIF provides a maximum of $20,000 per person, and $40,000 per accident for UCJ claims. There is currently a bill before the Maryland legislature to increase these minimums to $30,000/$60,000, which would put it in line with the minimum insurance coverage for Maryland drivers.
Preserving your Rights
UCJ claims are one situation (the other is a claim against a local, state or federal governmental entity) where the victim absolutely should not delay in seeking a Maryland auto accident lawyer. The reason is that there are strict deadlines governing notice to MAIF. A person who intends to make a MAIF claim usually must present very specific information to MAIF within 180 days (roughly six months) of the accident.
The MAIF-UCJ rules are located in MD. CODE ANN. INS. Â§ 20-601, et seq. Here are some things that are typically required (specific requirements may vary from case to case):
– Proof that the claimant is not eligible for uninsured motorist benefits through his own policy or a policy issued to a family member in the claimant’s household
– Certification by the claimant’s employer of all lost wages up to the date of the notice
– Evidence of all medical expenses and medical reports up to the date of the notice
– All police or accident reports
Additionally, Maryland Rule 15-804 http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/mdcode/ requires the claimant to request a stipulation from MAIF that the claimant fulfilled all of the procedural requirements before being allowed to file a lawsuit. If the claim is against an unknown (“phantom”) driver, the claimant may file a lawsuit against MAIF directly. If the driver is known, the lawsuit must be filed against that driver only, and MAIF will then intervene in the lawsuit.
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, or if you have been in an accident with an uninsured driver, contact our personal injury lawyers at (888) 213-8140, or by completing the “Free Case Review” form on this page. Remember-there are strict deadlines about MAIF UCJ claims. If those deadlines are not met, you can be forever barred from making a claim for your injuries.