If you have been in a car accident involving an uninsured motorist then you know the importance of uninsured motorist coverage. This type of car insurance is used when a person is hit by a driver who does not have car insurance and the car crash is determined to be that driver’s fault. As a general rule, the victim doesn’t sue the uninsured driver directly; they make a claim against their own insurance company up to the limit of their uninsured motorist coverage and the amount of their primary coverage. For example, if a driver carries $150,000 in coverage for negligence in a car accident, then they can only claim up to that amount in an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim. Another version of this type of claim is underinsured driver coverage; this is used when a car accident is caused by a driver who carries insufficient car insurance.
How to file an uninsured motorist claim against your insurance company
If you were recently involved in a car accident where the other driver was at-fault and you believe that they are uninsured either because they told you so or because they refused to provide insurance information, you must contact your insurance company as soon as possible to let them know that you intend to file a claim. Note that some insurance companies have strict time limits to place a claim of this nature; some as short as 30 days from the date of the accident.
How does a car accident lawyer help in an uninsured motorist claim?
Your car insurance company is always looking out for their bottom line, which means that they will attempt to settle for as little as possible. A car accident lawyer has the exact opposite incentive; the bigger the settlement they obtain for their clients, the bigger their payment. (That’s because personal injury clients pay only a percentage of their settlement.)
A car accident lawyer helps their clients navigate the uninsured motorist claim process and place a value on the claim as medical diagnoses and medical treatment unfolds. If your accident attorney determines that your case is worth more than the defendant’s liability coverage, they will inform your insurer immediately that you intend to make an underinsured driver claim against it. In addition to these services, a car accident lawyer will handle pretrial investigation, gathering and disclosure of medical records and depositions of witnesses. In uninsured motorist situations, your lawyer cannot file a lawsuit against your car insurance company in the event that a settlement cannot be reached. Instead, he or she will submit the claim to binding arbitration. An arbitration hearing is held in the presence of one to three arbitrators who then decide which side will win. Once a decision has been made, it is very difficult to appeal.
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!