If you were in a car accident someone else caused, you may believe you can simply file a claim with their insurance company to get the compensation you need. However, what if the other driver did not have insurance or didn’t have enough to cover your injuries and property damage? What if you were in a hit and run accident and can’t locate the driver to determine what, if any, insurance they had?
In these situations, you will file a claim with your own insurance company and use uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist protection to cover your damages. Even though you are dealing with your own insurance, you still need an experienced car accident lawyer to help you with the process.
An attorney will understand insurance laws and the tactics insurance companies use to deny claims or reduce the amount they pay. A lawyer can explain your options, protect your rights, and help you get you all of the compensation you deserve.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage provides financial protection after an accident with a driver who either doesn’t have insurance (uninsured) or doesn’t have sufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate for the damages (underinsured).
UM/UIM coverage also applies to hit-and-run scenarios where you can’t identify the driver who caused the accident, and situations where debris fell from a vehicle and caused injuries and damages, but the driver of that vehicle did not stop and accept responsibility for the incident.
Some key points to understand about UM/UIM coverage:
UM/UIM coverage protects you against uninsured or underinsured drivers. It provides an additional layer of financial security and a source of compensation for your damages after an accident.
Some states require drivers to carry UM/UIM coverage, but Florida and Washington do not. However, they do require insurance companies to offer the protection for purchase if you open a new policy or change your current coverage.
Incidentally, Florida requires drivers to have $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage on any vehicle registered with the state. These protections cover up to 80 percent of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses regardless of who caused the accident.
Some key benefits a car accident attorney offers in filing your UM/UIM claim:
A car accident lawyer will have the experience and knowledge to navigate UM/UIM insurance policies, handle legal procedures, and negotiate with insurance companies effectively, maximizing your chances of a successful claim outcome.
Although you may take the at-fault driver to court and sue for compensation, you don’t always need to. The law does not require you to sue the uninsured motorist to sue an insurance company or file a UM/UIM claim. During the claims process, your own insurer will essentially stand in as the defendant in the case instead of the uninsured motorist or hit-and-run driver.
Your attorney may leave the at-fault driver’s name as the defendant (if known) to prevent the insurance company from moving your case to a federal court, for instance, but the insurer may remain the primary defendant throughout the process.
Most car accident claims settle out of court. If the insurance company flat-out denies your claim and refuses to settle, or if they act in bad faith in not honoring your claim or violating the settlement agreement, then you may have to take them to court.
You may also go to court if your attorney feels the egregious misconduct or negligence of the at-fault driver warrants a jury trial to pursue punitive damages. You can discuss your case with your lawyer and follow their recommendations.
Even if an uninsured or underinsured driver caused the accident, you still deserve compensation for the injuries and losses you suffered in the crash. You may rely on your own insurance coverage, but you will need an attorney to file your claim properly and deal with the insurance company for you so you don’t have to worry about it.
Having an attorney file your UM/UIM claim for you can relieve you of the additional burden, and a lawyer can assert your rights, negotiate with the insurer to get a higher settlement, or represent you in court if your case goes to trial. An astute personal injury attorney in Tampa will have your best interests at heart and will work diligently to help you get all you deserve.
829 W Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Tampa, FL 33603
We Are Here For You 24/7
“Really pleased with Boohoff Law! Received immediate responses when I had any questions. Treated amazingly by all staff … made this process a true breeze!”