If you have a claim that appears to exceed the adverse party's insurance limits, I suggest that you contact a personal injury attorney in your area to guide you through any settlement and underinsured motorist claim. If you are not careful, settlement of your claim with the adverse driver, without the written permission of your underinsured motorist carrier, can void your underinsured motorist coverage.
If you are accident occurred in the State of Louisiana, you need to be particularly careful about the statute of limitations. Louisiana has one of the shortest tort statute of limitations in the country. If you don't resolve the claim against the adverse driver or file suit within that time limit, you will be barred from recovery. I suggest you contact an attorney immediately.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
Most likely you can however in Florida our policies require you give them 30 days notice to your carrier so they can determine whether the liable party has assets above his liability coverage to pay for damages. You Should seek a review of your case by an AVVO attorney in your area to make sure you don't fail to follow your policy guidelines.
You should contact an attorney in your area to find out the answer to this question. As the laws vary from state to state, for example, in CA, to be able to recover under your underinsured motorist policy, your UM/UIM limits must exceed those of the liable party.