Underinsured / Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage Importance
Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance is perhaps the single most important insurance coverage you can buy. It covers you and your family when you are injured by the negligence of another driver who either does not have enough insurance coverage to cover your injuries or does not have any insurance whatsoever. Think about the importance of this in a state like Florida. Sadly, Florida does not currently require drivers to have mandatory bodily injury insurance coverage to compensate another party for injuries caused as a result of their own negligence. Worse still, many of us live and regularly drive on the roads of Central Florida and Orlando where millions of out of state visitors come each year. While Floridians appreciate the tourism economy, the drivers on our roads are often not familiar with the surroundings, and in many cases, are not familiar with Florida’s traffic laws. Further compounding the problem, many other states and countries do not require their drivers to have insurance that would cover injuries caused to another party.
What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Specifically, Underinsured and Uninsured Insurance covers you for injuries as a result of another driver’s negligence when that driver has minimal or insufficient coverage. Practically speaking, the terms are Uninsured and Underinsured are used interchangeably since the coverages are sold together by insurance carriers. For this reason, the acronym UM or UIM is often used to describe both Uninsured and Uninsured Coverages. To illustrate how Underinsured and Uninsured Insurance works, let’s use an example from a real LaBar Adams case. Our client was involved in rear end collision where the at-fault driver only had $25,000 in bodily injury coverage. However, as a result of the crash, our client had to have spinal surgery which cost over $100,000. The at-fault insurance company timely tendered the full policy limits which is usually all they are required to do under Florida law. However, the problem was that the surgery bill exceeded the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage.
First, let’s use a hypothetical scenario where the client had NOT purchased Underinsured and Uninsured Insurance. The client would have been required to sue the at-fault driver to get reimbursement for the surgery and other damages. This scenario is time consuming and often risky because the client would be forced to try to first win the case, and then afterwards try to collect any excess money owed over the insurance policy directly from the at-fault driver. The old adage that “you cannot draw blood from a stone” is appropriate here. If the at-fault party does not have the financial ability to cover the damages, the injured person is left to absorb the damages entirely on their own. Furthermore, from a common-sense standpoint, insurance is usually purchased to protect one’s assets. In other words, drivers with less financial assets usually purchase less insurance. So, if you are injured by someone with insufficient insurance coverage, there is a substantial likelihood that a collections effort directly against the individual will be futile. Thankfully, our client in this real-life example, decided to purchase enough Underinsured and Uninsured Insurance to cover catastrophic injuries.
The next step in the process to receiving fair compensation usually involves presenting the facts of the Underinsured and Uninsured case to the Insurance Company. The insurance company will review the facts and is supposed to make a good faith attempt to reach a fair settlement. This is because the Underinsured and Uninsured Insurance Company “steps into the shoes” of the at-fault party so to speak, but must evaluate the claim with its insured’s interest in mind. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. In our case, our client did not receive a fair evaluation by the Insurance Company. We were forced to file a lawsuit and litigate the matter in a court of law. Thankfully, this process usually results in a fair and just result. Our client, at the end of the case, was able to recover enough financial compensation to cover all medical expenses plus pain and suffering damages. The recovery paid for costs of the surgery and allowed the client to get a new home that was more conducive to someone living with a post-surgical condition.
Contact our Car Accident Attorneys in Orlando
The law surrounding Underinsured and Uninsured Insurance is complex. Issues related to bad faith of the insurance companies can come up often. Additionally, there are issues of set-offs and reimbursements to the insurance carrier that can add a level of complexity not otherwise present in a typical at-fault (third party) case. If you have any questions regarding Underinsured and Uninsured Insurance you should contact a car accident attorney experienced in Underinsured and Uninsured Insurance claims. The attorneys at LaBar Adams have years of experience with Underinsured and Uninsured Insurance claims and always welcome your call. There is no fee or charge for consultations regarding Underinsured and Uninsured Insurance.
- Auto Accidents
- Auto Accidents: Out of State Drivers
- Back and Neck Injuries
- What to do in a Car Accident
- Car Accident Liability: Who Is at Fault?
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
- Car-train Collisions
- Cellphone Use, Texting & Car Accidents
- Injuries to Passengers
- Rear-End Collisions
- Serious Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Whiplash Injuries From Rear-End Auto Accidents
- Wrongful Death