Establish the other driver is Uninsured or Underinsured or there was a hit and run accident.
If a hit and run accident occurs, the insurance company must confirm that there was contact between the hit and run vehicle and your vehicle. If there is no contact, there is no claim and you won't be able to recover damages. However, if there is any contact, however slight, then you can recover uninsured motorist benefits. For example, in a lane change accident where the hit and run vehicle suddenly comes into your lane, and you quickly react and avoid contact, but lose control on the shoulder and crash, you will not be able to recover uninsured motorist damages. But, if that hit and run car brushes your bumper which causes the accident, and it's reported that way to the police and/or insurance company, then there could be a recovery of uninsured motorist benefits.
If the other driver is identified and uninsured, then you must prove that there is no insurance by getting DMV verification (Form SR-1 followed by SR-14,) of no insurance for the uninsured motorist claim to proceed.
Build your claim
The insurance company will demand written verification of your claim. This will include medical records and bills, proof of loss of earnings from your employer, written proof from experts of anticipated future medical expenses or the present value of future lost earnings. It may also be written proof of vehicle or property damage, loss of use of a vehicle, etc. Any other out of pocket expenses must be verified as well. Also, you must demonstrate the extent of your past and future physical pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, physical impairment, inconvenience, grief, anxiety, humiliation, and/or emotional distress.
Demand Arbitration under the terms of your Automobile Uninsured Motorist Coverage
The insurance companies will probably "low ball" you claim. Arbitration is the best way to obtain full value. Arbitration is like trial, without a jury where the judge or arbitrator decides the outcome of the case and it is binding. Most arbitrators recognize that people to get hurt and experience damage in auto accidents and they make fair awards. Insurance Companies will try to avoid arbitration, oftentimes increasing their settlement offers as the arbitration date gets closer.
The Insurance Company will want to use certain arbitrators who they perceive to be favorable to them. Local attorneys will be able to refer good arbitrators and insist on using one of these referred arbitrators to hear your case.
The insurance company will assign a lawyer to defend them and tear down your case. You may need to respond to written discovery, give a deposition, or see their doctor(s). This is normal.
After this, set a date for the arbitration and present your evidence.
Hire an experienced lawyer to do this for you
This simplified rendition of an Uninsured Motorist Claim is fraught with danger for the unsuspecting claimant. An experienced lawyer will protect you and add more than enough value to cover the legal fees and costs. The insurance company is highly sophisticated and has systems in place to devalue your claim. Do not let them get away with this!
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