UM Coverage: What it Could Mean if You're Involved in an Accident with an Underinsured or Uninsured Driver

UM Coverage: What it Could Mean if You're Involved in an Accident with an Underinsured or Uninsured Driver

Car AccidentVictims of preventable car accidents have a right to pursue financial compensation for their injuries by pursuing personal injury cases. These cases, handled in civil court, focus on proving that another party, such as another driver, was negligent in causing the accident and injuries. Personal inury claim lawsuits are typically filed against the at-fault driver and are defended by that driver’s auto insurance provider, who will be responsible for paying victims’ damages in accordance to the limits of their insured’s policy. In some cases, however, the negligent driver who caused the accident does not have sufficient coverage to provide victims with adequate compensation and in other cases the at fault driver is uninsured. Unfortunately, over the years Biren Law Group's , Los Angeles car accident attorneys have experienced many cases where the at fault driver was uninsured or had insufficient insurance coverage. In those cases, the only clients who recovered adequate compensation were those who had purchased substantial uninsured or underinsured driver coverage (UM/UIM) as part of their own insurance policy. How this insurance works is that the victim's own insurer pays for all damages caused by the at fault driver, less what ever that driver's insurer paid, to the limits of the victim's policy. For example if the victim has $100,000 UM/UIM coverage and an uninsured at fault driver causes $95,000 damages, the victim can collect $95,000 from his carrier; if the at fault driver has $30,000 insurance which is paid the victim, then he can collect the additional $65,000 from his own insurer.

UM/UIM insurance is not mandatory in the state of California. For this reason, it becomes immensely important for all motorists on the road to understand the value of purchasing UM / UIM coverage, which can act as the safety net they need if they have the bad fortune of being involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

  • Know the risks – In a large metropolitan area like Southern California, there are numerous drivers on the road who have no insurance or minimum insurance. In fact, The Insurance Research Council estimates that as many as 4.1 million California motorists cruise the roads without any insurance at all. There are also millions more who drive with the minimum insurance policy limits required by law. As such, you face a significant risk of being involved in a wreck caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver any time you venture onto public roads or freeways, as well as the subsequent risk of not being able to secure the compensation you need.
  • Minimum insurance is often not enough – While the risks associated with uninsured drivers is clear, there are also major risks involved with drivers who carry minimum insurance allowed by law or policies with low liability limits. This is because costs associated with treating injuries and recovering after a crash can quickly add up and amount to more than an underinsured driver is able to provide through their policy. Even if your damages exceed policy limits, you won’t have a viable source of recovering the additional damages.
  • A lack of viable sources for compensation – Following preventable car wrecks, personal injury claims and insurance payouts are the most viable source of recovering your damages as a victim. Although there may be opportunities for victims to seek reimbursement of their losses through other means, these opportunities are severely limited and often ineffective. For example, in cases where an at-fault driver caused an accident as a result of committing a crime (such as driving drunk or evading police), criminal cases do account for restitution for victims. However, it is often the case that at-fault drivers also being charged with crimes lack the ability to pay such restitution, especially if they didn’t have the funds or wherewithal to purchase insurance in the first place, or are soon to be incarcerated.

As we tell all of our clients and others with whom we discuss the rights of auto accident victims, purchasing UM / UIM coverage as part of your insurance policy is one of the wisest decisions you can make – and a decision that could make all the difference when you need it most. Purchasing this additional coverage, or increasing your UM/UIM insurance, is not excessively expensive, especially when you consider the value and comfort you gain in knowing there will be a source to pay for your damages if you are hurt by an uninsured or underinsured driver. With this coverage, you can work with experienced accident attorneys like those at Biren Law Group to file a claim with your own insurance company following a UM/UIM accident, and recover the full amount of compensation you need.

To discuss a potential auto accident case, or discuss a case involving an uninsured or underinsured driver, contact us for a free consultation.

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