How to File an Underinsured Motorist or Uninsured Driver Insurance Claim
When a car crash occurs and the at-fault driver has no car insurance or not enough liability coverage to pay for the bodily injuries and/or property damage caused by the accident, the victim of the car accident may be left to file a claim under their own car insurance policy. These types of claims are referred to as underinsured motorist or uninsured driver.
Why is uninsured motorist and underinsured driver coverage necessary?
The reason that uninsured motorist and underinsured driver coverage is necessary is that not everyone has car insurance and some who do don’t have adequate liability to cover all of the injuries and property damage caused by an accident. Since most people do not have enough assets to pay for the damage they caused in a car accident themselves, uninsured motorist and underinsured driver coverage is there to cover the gap between the at-fault driver’s coverage and the damages.
An alternative to filing an uninsured or underinsured claim is to sue the at-fault motorist. This is only a viable option in rare cases because it is fairly uncommon for wealthy persons to be uninsured or underinsured and if a person has no assets there is no point in suing.
How to file an uninsured motorist or underinsured driver claim
Starting right after the accident there are steps that need to be taken to file an underinsured/uninsured motorist claim:
- If you are not badly injured, ask the at-fault driver for their car insurance information. If the police are called to the scene then they will ask both drivers for insurance information and will likely inform the victim of the accident if the at-fault driver does not have any car insurance. Whether you are told by the police or by the other driver that the other driver does not have car insurance, you will know that you have to file an uninsured motorist claim.
- It may not be initially obvious that the at-fault driver is underinsured because it can take several months to accumulate medical bills and to determine the extent of the property damage. In some cases a claim is made against the at-fault driver’s insurance but their liability coverage runs out before all the damages are paid for. If the other driver’s insurance limits are reached then the victim should immediately contact their own car insurance company to file an underinsured motorist claim.
Whether you need to make an uninsured motorist or underinsured driver claim, you must act as quickly as possible. Most car insurance policies have time limits on these types of claims; some give as little as 30 days from the accident.
How can a car accident lawyer help in an uninsured motorist or underinsured driver claim?
Just like with any type of car accident claim, a car accident attorney will help to gather evidence and medical bills in order to build their client’s case. They will handle pre-trial litigation to negotiate the best possible settlement for their client (the insurance company is looking out for their bottom line). If a settlement cannot be reached, the car crash lawyer will submit the claim to binding arbitration.
Car insurance companies are entitled to investigate claims, including the nature of a person’s injuries and subsequent medical treatments. If your car insurance company takes an inappropriately adversarial role in the investigation into your uninsured/underinsured motorist claim then your auto accident lawyer may be able to turn the uninsured/underinsured motorist claim into a bad faith claim against your insurance company.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!