Basically, each auto policy has a procedure where you notify the carrier that you may be bringing an underinsured or uninsured claim and that it is a contractual claim; not a claim in negligence. It’s governed by a statute of limitations and it is contractual in nature.
If I am At Fault In an Auto-Accident and the Other Driver is Uninsured, What Happens in that Case?
If you are at fault in an accident with an uninsured driver, you will only be concerned with who is going to pay for your own damage that you suffered; you will make those payments and then they can be sent to your insurance company. Your insurance company will then pay for your damages that you have lost. Maryland is a contributory negligence state, which is different than most jurisdictions. Most jurisdictions are comparative or some version of comparative negligence but if you are contributorily negligent, the underinsured/uninsured coverage is only going to cover you for damages that are caused by a third party who is not able to pay.
Are There Any Challenges in Getting Compensated In a Case Involving Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists?
The UM/UIM coverage is 99% of the time an arbitration type thing. The big issue is how much do you get in this type of case and it will depend on the nature of the injuries. In the case of serious injuries, you never have any problems getting the entire amount that you purchased. People have to remember that is actually the amount of money that was purchased. They can add to their limits by asking for more coverage or they can just take the state statutory minimums.
The biggest stumbling block is usually if someone didn’t purchase enough insurance to cover their injuries. The second stumbling block is the nature of the damages. The same as with any insurance claim, the insurance company is going to say the injuries aren’t significant enough to receive all of the coverage. They are basically talking about some proportional share of the coverage and the argument is over how much of it do you get and it’s usually related to the type of injuries.
Those are the two biggest stumbling blocks someone will commonly face in these types of cases. When you feel that you are right and you have the evidence on your side, then you just challenge them into arbitration. It’s a special kind of arbitration, just for UM and UIM; both you and the other party choose your own attorneys and then together both sides pick a third party. The UM/UIM coverage cases usually end up going well because you usually have an ally on your side.
How Does Someone Know If They Need To Get An Attorney Involved In An Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Case?
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured motorist you really should involve an attorney versus trying to handle it on your own. The number one reason is that your attorney understands what the issues truly are; the language; subrogation rights, Medicare/Medicaid rights or ERISA plan rights. Someone who is not an attorney does not have that understanding and insight. It’s a complicated process and it needs to be resolved properly with someone who knows what they are doing.
For more information on Discovery Of Uninsured Motorist, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (301) 892-6007 today.