A Complete Guide to Uninsured Motorist Claims
The gravity of your injuries, as well as your medical bills, resulting from an accident that is caused by an uninsured motorist, will determine how much you can get from an uninsured motorist claim. Therefore, you must come up with an unbiased evaluation of your injury claim that begins with a clear view of the nature of your injuries.
Usually, minor injuries have low settlement value, whereas critical injuries that may be permanent lead to high-value claims. But mostly, an uninsured motorist accident attorney can help you to patch up things, such as forming tangible evidence that will go towards increasing your chances of receiving the justice that you deserve.
If you fall into the category of about 90% of motorists, you must have auto insurance to cover you, including your passengers, as well as other motorists involved in an accident. This will also tag along with your personal property that gets damaged or destroyed in the accident. All these factors are crucial because many people get into motor accidents at some point in their lives on the road.
The rule of motorist coverage is that if you are involved in a motor accident that was caused by another motorist, who lacks auto insurance, you will be protected by uninsured motorist coverage.
The burning question is, how much will you get from an uninsured motorist claim? But first, let’s take a look at the basics.
For Starters: What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM) is part of the auto insurance policy that grants you coverage in case a policy-holder is involved in an accident with a motorist who doesn’t have any insurance cover.
UM coverage is usually an add-on policy to the typical auto insurance policy that compensates you for any injuries that you acquire as a policy-holder and any passengers injured together with you in the same accident and any case of property damage/destruction. This applies only if the other motorist, who caused the accident, is legally accountable for the accident, but they are uninsured. In some states in the US, auto insurance policies must integrate uninsured motorist coverage.
What is Uninsured Motorist (UM)?
Uninsured motorist (UM) is said to be the at-fault driver who lacks an auto insurance cover or has one that doesn’t meet the least possible liability levels, as set by the state. This also includes the motorist, whose insurance provider is not willing or is incapable of paying the claim. He or she could also be a hit and run motorist.
At some point, the state laws require that every motorist should have a form of automobile liability insurance coverage. However, these rules differ from one state to another. A total of 19 states in the US, including Washington, D.C, require that every insurance policy should have uninsured motorist coverage. In contrast, Virginia and New Hampshire are not mandated to have a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage.
Regardless of this rule, it is reported that one in every ten drivers, or so, does not have valid insurance covers. Reports also show that Florida has the highest instances where almost 27% of motorists were uninsured, while Maine has the lowest number of drivers with uninsured covers at about 4.5%.
It is important to note that if you are involved in an accident as an uninsured motorist, you may not receive any compensation for your injuries or damage of property, even if the other motorist is to blame for the accident.
Types of Uninsured Motorist Coverage
There are two types of uninsured motorist coverage that you must know:
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) – This covers medical bills linked to the accident;
- Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) – This caters for car damage costs.
Before anything is said and done, take note that when you are going through your auto insurance policy, you must factor in what uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage can offer from your claim. Some US wants you to acquire uninsured motorist coverage in a bid to bar you from any choice of paying for it. You must speak with an uninsured motorist accident attorney to help you grasp the intricate coverage details.
Besides, the two examples cover injuries incurred by the motorist as well as their passengers, in case you end up in an accident that was caused by the following:
- A motorist who does not have any liability car insurance;
- A motorist who does not have sufficient liability insurance to cater for your medical bills;
- A motorist whose insurance firm rejects coverage or is rendered insolvent.
Furthermore, motorist coverage can cover the following:
- Medical costs;
- Pain and agony caused by the accident;
- Lost income, if the accident rendered you incapacitated;
- Some states can include vehicle damages;
- Funeral costs.
The uninsured motorist coverage varies from underinsured motorist coverage to some extent. However, it is not surprising to find these two coverage types merged in a particular accident claim. They can also be used jointly or disjointedly. But one thing about them is that they are usually cost-effective add-ons to auto insurance policies.
Bodily injury coverage may cover some or all of your medical costs if you are involved in an accident that was brought about by an uninsured motorist. At some point, this auto insurance coverage applies to family members who were driving your vehicle at the time of the accident. This signifies that it will cater to all the medical costs, lost wages, and pain/agony for the driver and the passengers in the vehicle when the accident occurred.
This coverage may as well fill the gap between the other motorist’s liability insurance coverage and your costs. It usually comes with a divided limit, which means that the coverage amounts differ as pegged on whether your claim is placed per individual or per accident. Some compensation claims can be calculated, for example, at US$20,000 per person or $40,000 per accident. Equally, motorists can consider acquiring a joint single limit policy that compensates a given amount per accident.
Property damage coverage compensates you for any damages on your vehicle that was caused by an uninsured motorist in an accident. It as well caters for the destruction of your property, if your valuable items were damaged in the accident that was caused by an uninsured motorist.
This coverage may also repair your vehicle as well as compensating you for any valuables that you had in your car at the time of the accident. This also includes repaying you for repairs to your property, if the uninsured motorist’s vehicle veered into your lawn and destroyed your fence or some sections of your house. Note that in many states, this coverage is often not mandatory or mostly unavailable.
However, property damage coverage can be integrated into a case where the at-fault motorist’s auto insurance carries a liability limit that is extremely low to cater to all the quoted damages as well as costs mandated, for example, vehicle repair or medical expenses. To some extent, you can access underinsured motorists bodily injury coverage to cater for medical expenses.
Is your Uninsured Motorist Claim Worth it?
Do you think that your uninsured motorist claim is worth more than what your insurance adjuster asserts?
The sole objective of many insurance firms is settling claims for the least possible amount. The insurance firm’s tactic is to promote their services to the highest level and later on acquire insurance premiums. Therefore, your insurance firm may not place a lot of value in covering your uninsured motorist claim, as you have always anticipated. This is because if they choose to pay the claims, they will be lowering their profit levels.
However, insurance companies will always run flashy ads that reveal them as the best partners that you need the most, and they are there for you. They tend to be exceedingly welcoming when you are submitting your payments. But when you want them to pay, they are not always there, as you earlier projected.
Someone once said that ‘your insurance adjuster is not the overly generous Santa Clause of Christmas.’ It is essential to begin thinking out of the box because your claim value evaluation has a high chance of being higher than that of the insurer’s claim value evaluation. You will finally manage to handle the entire process if you are prepared mentally and psychologically for a meager offer for your claim. Studies show many clients have been complaining of harsh treatment by their insurance companies since time immemorial.
Video by Attorney Scot Blumenshine: How to Collect Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Despite the said challenges of accessing high compensation from your claims, Blumenshine advises that the gravity of your injuries and your medical expenses often determine the value of your uninsured motorist claims.
The nature and level of your injuries are the determining factors when it comes to valuing your uninsured motorist claims. In this regard, you need to come up with a rational assessment of your injury claims that begins from how you understand your injuries.
Where will your Case Be Decided?
Your case will be deliberated on in the forum. For example, in Illinois, all the uninsured motorist claims will be heard in arbitration, that is, if they will not be decided in deliberation. The hearing is generally conducted in front of about three arbitrators, or at some point, only one arbitrator.
You must also have some clue about the arbitrator, who will handle your case. This is because some arbitrators tend to lean towards a free-thinking perspective of the injury case value, including the way damages or injuries are compensated. On the other hand, other arbitrators are more cautious or confined to their way of reasoning, primarily based on the injury claims. That’s why it is highly essential to be fully aware of what to expect in your case.
Are you Honest and Believable?
Another vital factor that tags along your case is whether you are a truthful person. Can you be trusted or believed? Many arbitrators are highly likely to grant you comparatively proper compensation if your injury and damage claims are honest and believable.
Many times people, who appear evasive, shrewd, shifty, or downright untruthful, end up with low compensation amounts for their claims. This is because the arbitrators are subjected to a lot of challenges when making out the truth from what you are claiming to be true.
That’s why it is essential to work with an uninsured motorist accident attorney to help minimize the low compensation outcomes. An attorney will advise you to tell the truth, dress well, and sound believable to boost your chances of acquiring high compensation from your injury and damages claims.
Do I still Require Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
If you live in a state that directs all motorists to have uninsured motorist coverage, indeed, you will have no choice than to abide by the law. Some states don’t have this requirement, as pointed above. But they will merely require you to verify that you can cater for the expenses linked to an accident or vehicle crashes.
In states, such as New Hampshire, the authorities require that uninsured motorists, who don’t agree with the offended party in a vehicle accident, especially with damage costs that go beyond US$1000, must make restitution precisely to New Hampshire DMV to keep their driving licenses from suspension.
This means that if you live in a state where you are not mandated by the law to acquire uninsured motorist coverage, you are not legally compelled to carry it. However, there are cases where some drivers, in states that don’t require you to have uninsured motorist cover, still purchased this coverage to stay clear of paying for vehicle repairs or costly expenses out of their pockets, which could quickly push them into destitution, in a bat of an eye.
Whether you are winding your way through the murky waters of your insurance claim, it is highly advisable to remain patient and expect anything. While your insurance provider may not necessarily compensate you handsomely, you may still gain something of value or something that you truly deserve if you choose to hire an uninsured motorist accident attorney to help lift all the legwork for you.
An attorney will help you to understand what your insurance coverage claim is worth and exactly how much you are entitled to receive by and large. However, experts suggest that you should always consider buying the most competitive insurance coverage in the first place.