In serious car accident cases, it often happens that the at-fault driver's insurance coverage falls short of what it will take to cover the whole range of your losses. If your total damages are $200,000 and the at-fault driver's insurance limits are only $100,000, you have a problem.
In the ideal situation, the at-fault driver’s insurer would pay to the limit of that liability coverage, and then your own insurer would pay the difference up to the limit of your underinsured motorist (UIM) policy.
It's seldom that simple. Your own insurer is likely to seek to minimize your damages, or to avoid liability altogether. Insurance companies have professional claims adjusters and insurance attorneys who have to do this in order to keep their jobs. They may fight you on the extent of your injuries or treatment, or may dispute how the accident happened and place blame on you. They will look for inconsistencies or pre-existing conditions in your records or may find a way out through the fine print of your insurance policy. You need an expert in your corner.
Fighting for you Injury Claims
In our experience, your own insurer will likely pay the property loss part of your claim without any problems, and then fight you tooth and nail on your injury claims. One way to improve your chances for a full settlement is to locate alternative defendants who might be at least partially responsible for your losses, such as a county engineering department responsible for the negligent placement of road signs or signals.
In many cases, we will have to prove your personal injury or wrongful death claim against your own insurer under your UIM policy. Essentially, we have to prove the absence of your own negligence as a way of establishing the fault of the missing other drivers. We also have to prove your damages, often through experts, in carefully documented and clearly presented terms. We've done it before for many clients, and we can do it for you.
Get permission before settling your claim with the negligent driver's insurance company.
It is extremely important that you obtain permission from your own insurer before settling with the at-fault, negligent driver's insurance carrier. If you fail to get this permission, in writing, before settling, your own UIM insurer may have grounds to deny your claim entirely.