I was hurt in an accident and have incurred at least 25k in medical bills mostly paid by a group health plan. They want their money back and I have also incurred a lot of out of pocket expenses. The at-fault party has a 25k policy. I have 100k UIM coverage. UIM carrier has been notified of the claim but I am not finished with my medical treatment. I know I have a UIM claim and don't want to compromise it but I also don't want to settle the UIM yet. Can I send my settlement demand to the UIM carrier later or do they need to be settled at the same time? I expect that the liability carrier will pay the limits due to my injuries which are numerous and ongoing.
Your situation is actually more complicated than you may realize and I suggest you speak with a lawyer. First, your health insurance may or may not have a right of recovery from you under GA law. Often times health insurance companies claim a right of recovery but are actually prohibited from recovery. Second, your UIM carrier cannot pay any sums of money until the liability insurance policy is fully exhausted. Third, there may be additional UM policies that your lawyer can research. Fourth, without properly executing a the proper type of release you may not be able to access your UIM coverage. Fifth, your UIM insurance company will offer you significantly less without a lawyer. Often times clients attempt to accomplish steps 1-5 alone and come to us only after they are dissatisfied with the insurance company's offer. Most often we reject a case when it has not been properly managed from the start. Please feel free to contact us for a consultation.
Yes, you do not have to settle both at the same time, especially since your UIM carrier does not have to pay you any UIM benefits until and unless you exhaust the at-fault party's liability policy limit, which in your case is 25k. However, you must be very careful and knowledgeable about the various provisions used in liability settlement agreement as you might foreclose your opportunities to take additional actions against your own carrier and/or others that may have contributed to your losses (ie: bad roadway design or lighting, dram shop liability, the at-fault party's assets, etc.) You are fortunate to have UIM coverage that exceeds the other's liability coverage or you would not even be allowed to make a UIM claim. I suggest you have an attorney review all documents before you sign them, as well as evaluate your claim and recommend how to proceed from this point.
Law Office of Robert G. Rothstein
In most states, an Underinsured Motorist Claim requires that their insured have settled for the policy limits of the underlying tortfeasor causing the car accident. If you demand the policy limits from the underlying at fault carrier, you should state that it is condition upon you giving notice to your insurance company and allowing them an opportunity to place any conditions upon the settlement and/or, in some cases, buying out or taking over the case. In these cases, your insurance company may paying the entire UIM limits to the insured and then take over the lawsuit against the at fault driver to recoupe the money. Check with a local underinsured motorist attorney in your area and see if this is the law in your state.
I agree with most of the advice that you have received from the other attorneys with the exception of a few things. Yes, you can receive the money from the liablity carrier before seeking UIM coverage as long as you sign the right type of release. But you should not do this until you hire an attorney tha can investigate to be sure that there is not more liablity coverage available to you. In Georgia you can collect money from your UIM carrier and do not need them to waive subrogation to do so. In Georgia you can also collect money from a UIM carrier before you settle with the liability carrier. But the botrtom line is that it would be a big mistake to do anything without talking to an attorney first. Please contact me at 404 812 4300 if you would like a free phone consultaion.
Your tendency may be to avoid hiring an attorney, but as you can see from these responses, your matter is complicated. At the very least, leave these issues to someone who has handled them before - handles them for a living all day every day. Often times, retaining an attorney costs nothing at the outset, and perhaps your eventual recovery with an attorney could exceed what you would recover without one, even after the attorney is paid his fees at the end. Don't risk it, hire a lawyer before doing anything else.
The simple answer is yes. However, as you can see from the various responses of very good lawyers in this state, the simple answer will not do you any good if you do not follow the specific legal requirements in order to accomplish your goal. You really need to speak to a lawyer on this matter, before you do something that you cannot undo and foreclose your opportunity to be made whole under Georgia law.
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