How to Ensure You Get a Fair Uninsured Motorist Settlement
Were you in a car crash that has left you with temporary or permanent injuries, emotional devastation, staggering medical bills, future medical expenses, and attempting to recover your financial losses from a driver who had no insurance? Your answer lies in an uninsured motorist settlement.
Before receiving a settlement, a claim has to be filed with your insurance company, and this entails not only proving your innocence but the process of recuperating losses incurred by the accident. In protecting your rights, even from your own insurance company, and navigating the legal storms surrounding such a claim, you need an experienced law firm.
Their expertise can ease an otherwise very difficult process and give you peace of mind. Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, the personal injury attorneys for the victims of auto accidents.
If you have suffered an injury, loss, or damages due to a car accident caused by negligence, this law firm can offer advice regarding:
- Your legal rights
- Identifying who is liable for your damages and bodily injury claim
- Receiving maximum and fair compensation for your injury and loss
Call our Chicago car accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)?
You can add extra coverage to your motorist insurance policy to protect yourself or anyone in your household from losses in an accident incurred when the uninsured driver is at fault.
There are four types of coverage:
- Uninsured Motor Coverage (UIM)
- Underinsured Motor Coverage (UM)
- Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury Coverage (UMBI)
- Uninsured/Underinsured Property Coverage (UMPD)
In numerous states, UM and UIM coverage on your policy does not only include yourself (as the policyholder). It only applies to accidents with underinsured or uninsured motorists that are liable and includes others that aren’t covered under their own motor vehicle insurance, such as:
- Any permissive driver (the driver that has your permission to drive your vehicle)
- Members of your family and household
- Any passengers driving in the vehicle that was involved in the accident
- When family, household members, or yourself were involved in the accident, as pedestrians or cyclists, and have an injury claim.
The abovementioned instances can all submit either an uninsured motorist claim or an underinsured motorist claim on the UIM/UM coverage of your policy,
Uninsured Motorist Claims and Coverage
It is specific coverage on your car insurance policy that is activated once you are in an accident with a motorist that is uninsured, has no car insurance, and is the party liable in the accident. Uninsured motorist insurance is mandatory coverage for every driver in 22 states in the USA.
The uninsured motorist benefits of a claim are the provision of compensation for all of our car accident-related losses, the same way you would, had the at-fault motorist had any insurance, and you filed a claim against them or the car insurance company.
Underinsured Motorist Claims and Coverage
This coverage becomes effective when you are involved in an accident, and the other driver is the motorist liable in the accident. With underinsured driver claims, the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage limits on his policy are not enough to settle your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages or losses incurred from the accident.
An underinsured motorist claim (UM claim)would be filed against the underinsured motorist coverage add-on to your car insurance policy at your insurance carrier. The settlement from your underinsured driver claim would depend on the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits.
Uninsured / Underinsured Bodily Injury Coverage (UMBI)
This add-on to your insurance policy covers car accident injuries and the following losses (or damages as the law puts it) that can be recovered from your own liability insurance company:
- Costs incurred for past medical bills and future medical treatment due to serious injury or injuries sustained in the accident
- Loss of income due to the accident and vocational limitations caused by serious injuries sustained in the accident
- Mental and physical ‘pain and suffering’ or trauma incurred from the car accident, the needed treatment, and the effects thereof on your current day-to-day living
The limits of an uninsured bodily injury liability coverage claim cannot be more than the amount of your liability coverage.
Uninsured / Underinsured Property Coverage (UMPD)
Quite a few states, along with numerous car insurance companies, require that you obtain a separate underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage add-on to your liability policy should you wish to claim any damage to your vehicle or other property after an accident involving an underinsured or uninsured at-fault driver.
It is where the uninsured/insured property coverage comes into play. Although most uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage does not include vehicle damage, should you have collision coverage on your motor vehicle insurance policy, you will not need uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage.
Always read the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. In California, your uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) cannot be appropriated when the uninsured at-fault driver cannot be identified, such as in a hit and run accident with an unknown driver.
Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motor Insurance Statistics
The statistics are staggering, making the mandatory coverage enforced in some states understandable:
- There were 28 million uninsured drivers in the USA in 2021
- 1 in 8 motorists or 12,6% of drivers in the USA in 2021 were uninsured
- There were 460,000 more uninsured drivers in 2019 than in 2015
- Insured drivers paid $13 billion per year for costs related to motorists that are uninsured.
States Requiring Uninsured Motor Coverage
The 22 states that carry mandatory minimum liability coverage or uninsured motorist coverage are:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Most of the states listed above require drivers to either carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage equal to their liability coverage or at specific minimum amounts. The limit amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage cannot exceed the standard liability coverage policy limits.
The Factors That Determine an Uninsured Motorist Settlement
Your motor vehicle accident circumstances will decide whether compensation is due to you on uninsured motorist claims and the amount will payout on these claims. The following questions will determine your uninsured motorist claims.
Who Was At Fault in the Accident?
If you share more than 50% fault for the accident, you will not be able to make a UIM claim against the UIM coverage part of your policy. If the responsibility for the accident is shared, your car accident lawyer will need to assist you in ensuring the insurance company does not load your liability, decreasing your eventual UIM insurance payout.
Who Was Involved in the Accident?
According to state insurance laws, every policy will specify which drivers are covered under the insurance policy and when they are covered. It might mean that it could be just yourself, your family members, or even any ‘permissive’ person using your vehicle.
A ‘permissive’ person is someone who has your permission to borrow your vehicle. Any damages or injuries sustained in an accident where someone does not have your permission to drive your car will not be covered.
Did You Reject the UIM Coverage on Your Policy?
Some states, such as Texas, require that the insurance company file documents indicating your express rejection of the coverage. Should the insurance company not have filed such documents, you are entitled to receive compensation under the UIM coverage of your insurance policy.
Before making any payment from the UIM coverage, an insurance company will ensure that the injured drivers do not have any other coverage under other insurance policies, such as personal injury protection (PIP). The payment amount received under other policies will be deducted, reducing your UIM claim amount.
What to Do When Have Been in an Accident With an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?
When you have been involved in a car accident with an at-fault driver that is uninsured or underinsured, the following must be done as soon as possible:
- Report the motor vehicle crash to your own car insurance company.
- Notify the insurance company that you will be submitting an uninsured motorist claim on your car insurance. There could be a time limit to notify potential uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage claims.
- Do not delay when you are not receiving any information about the other driver’s insurance company, used as a delay tactic by the at-fault driver and hindering your uninsured motorist claim. Inform your insurance company that you wish to file an uninsured motorist claim.
- The extent of your injury expenses and damages to property will take some time to develop, but do not wait. If your expenses will outweigh the at-fault driver’s liability limits, inform your insurance that you are going to file an underinsured motorist claim.
- If the at-fault driver is underinsured, get a statement from their insurance company detailing their insurance limits.
- Discuss your compensation options in the light of the coverage you have on your policy
- Start the claim process and fulfill all the requirements of the terms of your policy
- Give your full cooperation to the insurance company’s investigation into the accident
However, it is prudent to make your first port of call to an experienced and trusted car accident lawyer who can advise you and protect your rights throughout this process.
How to File an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim
The process of an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim develops in much the same manner as a normal motor vehicle insurance claim, barring the fact that you are now filing the claim at your own insurance company.
First off, an inquiry will be launched into the accident. Your medical records will be examined to evaluate the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life, along with all evidence and records that have a bearing on your claim.
The most critical difference between a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver and a UM or UIM claim filed at your own insurance company is that you won't be able to file unless your insurer and yourself agree regarding a fair settlement amount a lawsuit against your insurer.
When disputes with insurance companies originate regarding UM or UIM claim settlement amounts, the claim is submitted to binding arbitration, which is not as formal as a court trial. Still, the judgments are equally enforceable and can limit your rights if you disagree with the outcome.
Hire a Trusted and Experienced Car Accident Attorney to Resolve Your Compensation Claim
Were you injured or suffered property loss in a car accident? Contact our Chicago car accident lawyer as soon as possible, and allow them to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our law firm remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC accepts all personal injury claims and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee agreement. This arrangement ensures our clients have legal representation immediately without paying any upfront costs.
Our "No-Win/No-Fee" Guarantee is simple: We do not get paid, no lawyer fees, if you do not win! Our law firm advances all expenses included in resolving a car accident claim and only receives payment when negotiating a settlement or winning a jury trial award. Call us at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation of your case.