Law Office of Lowell Steiger

Underinsured Motorist Causes Injury. Now What?

Author: Lowell Steiger

Published On: February 10, 2013

Time and again people are severely injured in a car accident and the at-fault party has insurance but not enough insurance to compensate the victim.

Well, if you’re the victim and have Uninsured Motorist Coverage in California then it becomes Underinsured Motorist Coverage. The legality and logistics of Underinsured Motorist Coverage can be quite tricky so you will want to consult a California Personal Injury lawyer in this regard. Basically, your car insurance provider “steps into the shoes” of the at-fault driver and, without increasing your premiums, affords you more coverage.

Peggy Gets Rear-ended – Real Life Example

My client, Peggy (not her real name), was minding her own business at a stop light when a driver, let’s call him “Texting Bob”, smashed into the rear of her brand new VW Bug, totaling it and sending Peggy to the hospital.

The hit was so hard that it blew out a disk in Peggy’s neck. Peggy had to undergo surgery to remove and replace the disc in her neck. Apparently Bob invested significant money in his iPhone but not in his automobile liability insurance.

Peggy’s medical bills were $105,000. Bob had a $25,000 policy limit. Bob’s insurance immediately offered the $25,000 to settle the case.

Peggy had Uninsured Motorist Coverage in the amount of $500,000. I spoke with Peggy’s insurance carrier and asked what it was that they needed, in particular, to open an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claim for Peggy.

Her carrier wanted a certified copy of Bob’s Declarations Page, a declaration under penalty of perjury that he carried no other applicable insurance, a copy of the signed Release of All Claims and a copy of the Settlement Check for $25,000.

My office provided all of the requested documents along with the relevant medical documentation including reports, chart notes and bills along with a demand to Peggy’s insurance carrier that, due to the seriousness of her injuries and treatment, they pay the $500,000 policy limit.

After several rounds of negotiations, fighting, arguing and legal wrangling, Peggy’s insurance carrier offered the $500,000 less an offset (to which they are legally entitled) for the $25,000 paid by Texting Bob’s insurance.

If Peggy didn’t have Uninsured Motorist Coverage, she would have been out of luck because Texting Bob had no more insurance, no significant assets (we did an asset check) and worked at a low-paying job. Essentially, Texting Bob was judgment proof.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Call or E-Mail Me to Discuss Your Auto Insurance Coverage

It is so important to have the proper insurance coverage in California. My practice focuses on personal injury so car insurance is something with which I’m intimately familiar. Even if you’re not a current or past client, I am more than happy to sit down with you in person, by phone or by e-mail, and discuss your car insurance coverage BEFORE YOU NEED IT.

This is so important that I’m happy to provide you with this consultation without charge.

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I’m passionate about representing my injured clients. I'm a Personal injury lawyer who treats you with the respect that you deserve.

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