Spokane Uninsured & Underinsured Coverage Claims
What Are My Legal Options?
You’ve been involved in a crash with a driver who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for the damages you sustained. When the uninsured or underinsured driver cannot cover your medical expenses, what recourse do you have? Your recourse may be to bring a claim under your own car insurance policy. If you choose to add uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you paid for protection against exactly this situation. However, if you do not have this type of coverage, you may need the help of a Spokane car accident attorney to pursue the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.
If you fell victim to a driver who was not only careless with their actions but also neglected to get the proper insurance, call former elected Spokane Prosecutor, James R. Sweetser. Contact Sweetser Law Office today at (509) 444-4444.
Recovering Uninsured Motorist Compensation for Accident Victims
In theory, the driver who caused the crash is financially responsible for all of your injuries and losses. In reality, that driver may not have enough insurance coverage ... or any coverage at all. In addition, the driver may not have personal assets to pay for your damages, and would likely file for bankruptcy in the event of settlement or verdict. Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, most motorists who neglect to carry automobile liability insurance have no recoverable personal assets to reimburse the injured victim for his or her losses.
This is where Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage you can buy from your insurance company comes into play. Your insurance company will pay your damages and will have the option of pursuing the at-fault driver for recoupment. However, many passengers do not always realize when uninsured and underinsured motorist claims may arise.
Remember UIM can apply under many different scenarios. Uninsured motorist coverage protects passengers and drivers in a number of unexpected situations, including:
- Car accidents with a driver who no insurance or lacks sufficient insurance;
- Hit-and-run collisions when the at-fault driver is not found;
- Pedestrians struck by a driver who has no insurance or lacks sufficient insurance;
- Bicycle crashes caused by a driver who has no insurance or lacks sufficient insurance;
- Passengers hit by a driver who has no insurance or lacks sufficient insurance.
Even if the other party has no insurance, you may still be entitled to recover full compensation for the harms caused by the at-fault driver.
Do I Need An Attorney?
It may come as a surprise (or perhaps not, given the normal practices of insurance companies) when your own insurance begins to fight back and tries to avoid paying out the UIM policy that you have purchased! Insurance companies are notorious for resisting or lowballing these claims. The insurance company will begin reaching out to you soon after the accident because it knows you are depending upon it for financial support at this time. Even though it is your insurance company, it is not specifically concerned with your best interests. If you have an underinsured or uninsured motorist claim, your own insurance company steps into the shoes of the at-fault driver and has a financial incentive to pay you the smallest amount possible.
Insurance companies will often refuse to pay UM/UIM proceeds. They will give a variety of reasons for not paying, including:
- Alleging you failed to follow a procedural requirement in the policy language
- Alleging that your injury was not sustained as a result of the motor vehicle collision
- Alleging that your medical treatment was not reasonable or necessary, or
- Alleging you are “double-dipping” because you were minimally compensated by the negligent driver's insurance limits
Underinsured or uninsured motorist claims are complicated mazes to navigate, and there is no reason to do it alone. If you have ever dealt with an insurance company, you know these cases can be vigorously contested. Because underinsured motorist claims are more difficult than the typical auto accident claim, you should consult with an experienced Sweetser Law Office attorney before you talk with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and before you file an underinsured motorist claim with your insurance company.
Attorneys at Sweetser Law Office will aggressively pursue recovery from those responsible for your injuries. We will not let you be bullied into making a decision that threatens your future. If your insurance company is unwilling to make a fair offer, we will help you decide whether to pursue your case through voluntary arbitration or file suit and pursue a case inside the courtroom. Because we will handle your case on a contingency basis, you will pay no fee unless we secure a successful settlement or win a jury award on your behalf.