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Underinsured & Uninsured Motorist Accident Claims
Filing Claims Against Your Own Insurance
A significant number of the drivers in Utah and other states carry minimal insurance coverage or no insurance at all. If you are injured in an accident caused by a driver who does not have enough insurance to pay for your damages, you can file a claim against your own uninsured or underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage.
At the law office of Rasmussen & Miner in Salt Lake City, we offer a free initial consultation to answer your questions about underinsured and uninsured motorist claims or any other insurance coverage issue related to your accident.
Filing an Injury Claim Against Your Own Insurance
Filing a claim against your own insurance company is different than filing a claim against the insurance company of another driver. The other driver’s insurance company has a duty to the party it insures, not to you, and therefore is not required to treat you fairly. Your own insurance company, on the other hand, has a duty to treat you fairly.
One of the most important things an attorney can do for you is communicate with your insurance company early in the process so they can set aside appropriate loss reserves to pay for your claim. Before filing an underinsured motorist claim, your attorney would also investigate all other possible sources of coverage, such as a claim against a municipality for a dangerous road or defective sign.
Some people are hesitant to file injury claims against their own insurance company, fearing their rates will go up. However your insurance company is not allowed to raise your rates if the accident was not your fault.
Insurance subrogation. Once you collect damages in an UM/UIM claim, your medical insurance company may ask for reimbursement for any accident-related medical expenses it covered. However, money from a UM/UIM is almost always yours to keep, and any request for reimbursement should be vigorously opposed by an attorney skilled in subrogation issues.
Differences Between Uninsured Coverage and Underinsured Coverage
At first glance, it may seem like uninsured motorist coverage is the same thing as underinsured motorist coverage, but they are distinct from one another. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to speak with an experienced Utah uninsured and underinsured attorney from Rasmussen & Miner if you’ve been involved in a crash and anyone involved is not sufficiently covered by auto insurance policies. This area of law can be uniquely tricky and case specific. By working with an Utah uninsured and underinsured attorney, you can better ensure that you receive any compensation you’re entitled to as a result of the collision.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, this policy pays out when you get into an accident with a driver who has no auto insurance whatsoever. By contrast, underinsured motorist coverage pays out when you are involved in a car accident with another driver, that driver is considered at-fault for the crash, and that driver is insured but not well enough to cover your losses.
There is a third type of coverage in this same vein known as uninsured motorist property damage insurance. As the name suggests, it covers damage to your vehicle and sometimes damage to property inside your vehicle when you have been involved in a crash. These policies usually cover you against uninsured drivers and underinsured drivers.
Together, these three types of coverage can be sold individually or in a bundle, depending on the insurer. As a package, they are often referred to as simply “uninsured motorist coverage.”
Why You Could Benefit From the Help of a Lawyer
As mentioned above, your own insurance company is required to treat you fairly and to act in good faith when deciding whether to cover a claim. Unfortunately, many insurance companies try to shortchange even their own policyholders because doing so is good for business. Insurers make money by denying and limiting claims. If they can find a reason to deny or limit your UM and UIM coverage – even a flimsy one – some insurers will do so.
Having a lawyer working for you shows the insurance company that you mean business and will not allow yourself to be taken advantage of. An Utah uninsured and underinsured attorney may be able to help you in two ways. First, they can make it more likely that your claim will be approved. Second, they can push to get you the highest possible payout on that claim.
If you currently lack UM or UIM coverage (and have not yet been in a car accident), it worth checking with your insurer about how much it would cost to add coverage. Although it would make your premiums increase, the costs of not having coverage could be far more expensive if you ever get into an accident with an uncovered driver.
Free Attorney Consultation
Come in with questions, leave with confidence that your uninsured and underinsured motorist claim will be handled properly. Call (801) 363-8500/(800) 585-6726 or fill out the contact form on this Web site to schedule a free initial consultation with a lawyer at our Salt Lake City office.