What is an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim?
An Uninsured Motorist or Underinsured Motorist claim can arise when a driver or passenger of a motor vehicle is injured by another driver who is at fault who either has no insurance or insufficient insurance to cover the damages sustained by the injured victim. California law mandates all drivers and owners maintain liability insurance coverage. Many do not. Many who do have only the state minimum which is $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. A serious injury will easily exceed those state minimum limits. If either of these situations arise, a person who carries Uninsured (UM) or Underinsured (UIM) coverages then proceeds with the claim against their own insurance company, who stands in the "shoes" of the UM or UIM at fault driver.
How should I proceed with my Uninsured or Under-Insured Motorist Claim
1. Gather information from all the involved parties, including witnesses
The fact of the matter is that if the claim becomes a battle of "he-said, she-said," the value of the claim diminishes and the claim becomes much more difficult to settle. To solve this, collecting information from the involved individuals can help your attorney greatly, even if it is just a license plate (in the case of a hit and run). Interviewing and collecting contact information from witnesses of the accident can give great credibilty to a case. In a hit and run case it is indeed vital to have the license plate or other identifying information. It is critical if it is a "no contact" accident, for example if someone swerves into your lane and you then swerve to avoid the collision and crash. The ID of the other party is determinative of whether you can bring a UM claim under those particular circumstances.
2. Seek Medical Attention
If you were injured in an accident of any manner: car; bike; motorcycle; bus or any other automobile, you may need medical attention to address your needs. Serious injuries such as spinal cord injuries, head and neck injuries, amputations or lacerations all need to be taken care of professionally. This applies equally in a UM or UIM claim.
3. Contact an Experienced Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claim Attorney
Most automobile accident attorneys offer free consultations to review your case and advise you further in your claim. Given the fact that most motor vehicle attorneys collect fees on a contingency, you have no out of pocket expenses and no risk in contacting and retaining the best UM and UIM auto accident attorney that you can find. Representing yourself in a car accident claim does not typically yield the results that hiring a professional can. UM and UIM claims can be more complex in that you are bringing a claim against your own insurance company that becomes your adversary. An experienced attorney is important to help you with these types of claims.