After A Collision With An Uninsured Or Underinsured Motorist
After a traffic collision, you only want to focus on getting your life back to normal. You need to put your energy into healing, getting your vehicle repaired, and taking time off work, but that can be extremely hard with mounting medical bills. In situations like these, a sizable auto insurance policy would come in handy, covering the costs of your treatment and recovery. Sadly, there is a real possibility that you could be injured by an uninsured driver who let their policy lapse or a driver with the minimum policy.
If you have been injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, do not despair; there are options available to you. You may be able to file against your own insurance company for compensation, but you are going to need the legal aid of a Seattle uninsured/underinsured motorist accident attorney to get the most out of your policy. Call Pendergast Law at 888-539-9211 to learn what options are available to you after a collision.
What Is UM/UIM Coverage?
Uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage are auto insurance policies that allow victims of car accidents to apply for compensation from their own insurance company but in unique situations. While these policies are optional, they are designed to provide an extra layer of protection for residents when they are injured in an accident, as they can be used in conjunction with other liability policies.
Situations UM/UIM Coverage Apply To
While UM/UIM policies are very similar and often packaged together, they do apply to different situations. UM coverage applies, under Washington state law, to any accident where the insured is injured by an uninsured driver, by a phantom vehicle, or in a hit and run accident. In contrast, UIM coverage acts as an additional policy when the at-fault driver’s auto insurance coverage is not enough to cover the costs of an accident. After a collision, you can file both a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance and, if it does not provide complete coverage, you can then file against your UIM policy. This is very common if a driver only has a minimum liability policy in Washington, which includes:
- $25,000 for injury or death of another person
- $50,000 for injury or death of all other people
- $10,000 for property damage
In the state of Washington, drivers are not required to have UM/UIM coverage with their auto insurance policies, but insurance companies must offer them to customers. In addition, customers can only reject an UM/UIM policy in writing, meaning that it is likely that you already have these policies available to you, as they are often packaged in with standard insurance policies. These policies must match your personal liability policy, which means that, at a minimum, you may be able to file a claim for up to the above amounts in either an uninsured or underinsured accident. These benefits also extend to pedestrians injured in car accidents with underinsured or uninsured drivers.
Pursuing A Claim
Filing an UM/UIM claim effectively makes your auto insurance company the adverse party. Because of this confrontational relationship, insurance adjusters will likely try to dismiss your injuries, devalue your claim, or deny you coverage altogether. However, if you contact a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, you may have a better shot at receiving full compensation for your injuries.
At Pendergast Law, our Seattle car accident attorneys have been advocating on behalf of injured parties in auto accident claims for nearly 40 years. When we take on a case, we thoroughly investigate all avenues of compensation and build a strong case for damages by:
- Collecting evidence, including witness statements, accident reports, medical records, videos and photos of the accident, and damage to all vehicles
- Review both the at-fault driver’s and our client’s insurance policy
- Calculate the total cost of the accident, both in terms of financial and personal damages
- Negotiate with insurance adjusters for the maximum available compensation
- If necessary, advocating for compensation in a jury trial
To ensure you receive proper compensation after an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you should not hesitate to contact the legal team at Pendergast Law by calling toll-free at 888-539-9211.