Underinsured Driver Coverage
Car accidents are incredibly stressful, but they are taken to a whole new level when they involve underinsured drivers. While most states require drivers to possess at least some form of auto insurance, many drivers will do the bare minimum to skirt these laws. Thankfully, victims hit by an underinsured motorist have options. By understanding the ways in which underinsured motorist coverage can help in the wake of a wreck, accident victims will have a better chance of securing the compensation they deserve.
Underinsured driver coverage is used when a person is hit by an underinsured motorist. If the at-fault driver does not carry enough insurance to cover the damage they caused in the accident, you may need to make a claim with your own insurance company instead. You may only do so if your underinsured motorist coverage is greater than the policy limits of the other driver, though.
For example, let’s say you were hit by an underinsured motorist who caused $150,000 in damages. Their coverage, unfortunately, only totals to $100,000. In this situation, you’d be able to make a claim with your own insurance company as long as you have more than $100,000 in underinsured driver coverage. If you have $150,000 in coverage, you’ll settle $100,000 with the underinsured driver and receive $50,000 from your own insurance company. You can only take from your policy the amount that exceeds the underinsured driver’s policy limits.
Underinsured Motorist Claim
To get started on your claim, it’s important to alert your insurance company to the incident. Even if you’re not sure if you’ll need to file an underinsured motorist claim, keeping your insurer in the loop is crucial to avoid missing any strict deadlines. In many cases, you may not immediately realize you need to file an underinsured motorist claim. As your medical treatment continues and your car accident attorney begins fully understanding the financial impact of the crash, you’ll get a better idea of whether or not an underinsured motorist claim is necessary.
Once begun, an underinsured motorist claim works very much like any other car accident claim. Your medical records will need to be disclosed, there may be an investigation into the wreck and witnesses may be deposed. Unlike other insurance claims, though, if you and your insurer can’t come to an agreement about the settlement amount, you can’t file a lawsuit against them.
All disputes are handled through arbitration. This is less formal than a traditional court setting, with a hearing in front of an arbiter with the arbiter deciding which side wins. Binding arbitration is extremely limiting, with few options to appeal the decision made by the arbiter. This added layer of complication only continues to frustrate victims who have been hit by an underinsured motorist.
Car Accident Attorneys Can Help!
If you’ve been involved in a wreck caused by an underinsured driver, it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney. A car accident lawyer can provide unique insight into your options and give you advice on how to proceed. While not all crashes involving underinsured motorists lead to legal action, it’s smart to have an experienced attorney to fight for your rights.