Did you know that even if you protect yourself by purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage on your auto policy, you aren’t automatically entitled to collect that coverage?
There are different options for potential recovery from injuries resulting from a car crash. However, each one of them is specific to the facts and circumstances of your individual claim.*
The confusion regarding UM coverage
A topic I frequently discuss with a new client is the confusion related to his/her UM coverage.
It is, I admit, quite logical, for my client to ask “But I bought the UM coverage, aren’t I entitled to it?”
Sadly, it isn’t that easy. Your UM coverage does not simply pay you its limits, or any portion thereof, for having been in a crash. You might find an Aflac or other policy to automatically payout upon such an occurrence, but your auto policy will not do so.
Your insurance carrier treats your UM coverage just like the at-fault insurance carrier treats its liability coverage. In short, this means that in order to gain access to your UM coverage, you must prove you have suffered losses, by way of injury, pain/suffering, loss of wages (past and future), etc., in excess of any underlying liability coverage through the at-fault party’s carrier.
In order to prove these losses, we must treat your insurance carrier as an adversary, the same way we might pursue a claim against the at-fault party’s carrier. This means your insurance carrier is not your friend and is not going to do you any favors.
Can you fight your UM claim on your own?
Could you, in theory, attempt to manage your UM claim on your own? Sure. You could. Just like I could handle my taxes myself, or I could handle my financial investments myself.
The question you must ask is “But should I, without understanding the intricacies involved?”
That is a decision only you can make. For me, it makes a lot more sense to allow professionals to handle my taxes and my financial investments. And I would urge you to consider letting professionals help you with your UM claim.
*As your first step, I will always recommend that you hire an attorney to help you. Injury attorneys work on contingency. This means there is no downside to you retaining one who is a great fit for you (i.e. never any money owed to your attorney unless your attorney collects for you. If you retain our firm, you can expect a detailed consultation with myself or my law partner, during which we will explain options, procedures, how we work your file, etc.