Does uninsured motorist coverage the same as underinsured motorist coverage?

Asked 11 months ago - Folsom, CA

I was in an accident and my medical bills are over $40k. The other driver's policy limit is $15K. My policy has uninsured motorist coverage of $15k. Does my uninsured motorist coverage kick in? What do I do about the remaining $10k plus that I would owe even if my uninsured motorist coverage kicks in? Thank you.

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Jeffrey Michael Padilla

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, your uninsured motorist coverage is the same as underinsured coverage. However, here in California your insurance coverage does not "stack" on top of the third party coverage. Your insurance receives an offset for any amount recovered from the other driver. They would also receive an offset for any benefit received from your employer if this was a work injury.

    Unfortunately, under these circumstances it appears that the $15,000 that you have in your own coverage will be negated after subtracting the $15,000 from the other driver.

    If you have medical bills outstanding you can attempt to negotiate the total owed to a manageable sum, or you could set up a payment plan. If you have health insurance, they should be responsible for any charges. However, they would then likely be entitled to a portion of your recovery from the other driver. They would not be able to take it all though.

    Before accepting the policy limits from the other driver, you will want to make sure there are no other possible recovery sources. For example, confirm that the other driver was not working at the time of the accident. If he was in the course and scope of employment, then you could pursue the employer for a full recovery.

    Good luck.

    This response applies to California Law only and does not create any legal relationship between the attorney and... more
  2. Glenn Stephen Guenard

    Pro

    Contributor Level 7

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unfortunately your UM coverage does not kick in. The whole rationale behind UM coverage in California is that UM coverage applies if you have a bigger UM policy than the adverse driver has in liability coverage. For example, if the adverse driver had no insurance and you had 50k then you could go after 50k of your UM. If the adverse driver had 15k and you had 50k then you could go after 35k. But if adverse driver had 50K or more and you had 50k then there is no UM for you.

  3. Richard Andrew Harting

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . no your policy is offset by the underlying $15k - no effective coverage. You will need to negotiate your medical bills or look for financial assistance from the medical facilities. Make sure you know whether the other driver owned the subject vehicle, if they were in the course and scope of employment, or have the ability to pay beyond their policy coverage.

  4. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Padilla explained it well

  5. Manuel Alzamora Juarez

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Attorney Padilla gave you the scoop on this issue. My belated advice is as follows: Call your insurance rep and tell him to provide you with the largest possible UM/UIM for potential future accidents. Also, check my guide on UM/UIM here in my web page. Best of luck.

    http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/94709-ca-manuel-j...

    http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/what-to-do...

    http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/accidente-...

    This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de... more
  6. David Ian Schoen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes. You need to reduce the liens, which are best handled by an experienced personal injury attorney, who can also probably make sure there is some money in your pocket.

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