Oftentimes, clients ask me, “What is an underinsured motorist claim?” Well, an underinsured motorist claim is just that. The party who was careless and caused the collision did not have enough insurance to adequately compensate the injured parties for their harms and losses. What does that mean? In typical laymen’s speak, the person who hit you had a minimum limits of $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident in California. Oftentimes the harms and losses you suffer, such as pain, suffering, bodily injury, wage loss exceed that $15,000 per person limit, or even a higher limit if that is a very serious case. An underinsured motorist claim is coverage that affects you and is purchased through your own policy to protect you from underinsured motorists. It really causes the other party to step into the shoes of the other driver’s insurance company that hit you, and then you have to make a claim against your own insurance to show all the harms and losses which you suffered.
In some accidents, there is not enough coverage to pay your ambulance, emergency room, and emergency doctor bills must less any follow up treatment for your injuries. The average emergency room visit is $0000, and each day in the hospital or rehabilitation facility can run $00000 or more.
California and many other states allow drivers to buy higher limits of coverage to cover them in cases where their injuries and damage are more than the at-fault driver’s insurance limits. This type of coverage is called underinsured motorist coverage or sometimes just “UIM”. It is insurance to cover you, your passengers and even your dependents or those the injured person cares for, in situations where the at-fault driver or car owner does not have enough insurance to cover the bodily injury and property damages claims. Like uninsured motorist coverage, where the at-fault driver or owner does not have any coverage, drivers can also buy underinsured motorist coverage that also provides coverage in hit-and-run type accidents.
In most cases where the at-fault driver is 100 percent at fault, your insurance company will not count the claim against you. California uses a sliding-scale to determine the percentage of fault to spread fault among all the at-fault parties. If you are partly at fault, even if it is a modest amount, payment of your claim may be reduced by that amount of fault by your insurance company in an underinsured motorist claim.
The amount of underinsured motorist coverage may depend on facts of your accident, but generally, it is determined by taking the amount of your underinsured coverage minus the policy limits paid by the at-fault diver. For example, if you have $100,000 per person bodily injury underinsured coverage, and the at-fault drive has $15,000 per person bodily injury coverage, that would leave $85,000 in available per person coverage for your claim. This does not mean your claim is or is not worth the remaining amount, rather it lets you know how much insurance is available to cover your claim. Underinsured motorist coverage may not apply in situations where the at-fault driver and the injured party have the same limits.
While it is nearly impossible to predict what an automobile insurance company may do if you submit an underinsured motorist claim, it stands to reason that your rates should not increase if the accident was not your fault. Since your insurance company steps into the shoes of the underinsured driver after her limits have been paid, the accident should be treated as if you did nothing to cause the claim for insurance rate purposes. If your insurance company does raise your rates because of an underinsured motorist accident that was in no way your fault, you may wish to consider “voting with your pocketbook” and comparing rates for the same coverage with other insurance companies.
Contact us today at (559) 436-0850 to schedule a free consultation. Or learn more by reading about why our clients choose us.
My job starts when I leave home…Two cars hit me head on… Out of all the attorneys on Youtube, Frank M. Nunes at Nunes Law stood out… Frank told me that after meeting he thought that he could help me with my case… Frank helped me get a workers’ comp attorney…Frank worked with my worker’s comp attorney…Frank worked hard on my case. He took the time to explain everything to me. Frank really got my case going. He got results. He settled out of court. I was very satisfied with the settlement. Frank did a fantastic job. Thank you, Frank
My daughter and I were looking for an attorney after being involved in a car accident. After reading many exceptional reviews about The Law Office of Frank M. Nunes, we contacted them. We went to an interview and were very impressed. We would suggest that if you are looking for an attorney who is honest, straight-forward, and very personable, who will get the most for your injuries, then look no further. Frank Nunes is the attorney for you!
I have worked with a number of attorneys over my 73 years. When I found myself a victim of a rear end auto accident and with Insurance Companies giving me the good old run around treatment, I knew I needed help. Dreading to talk with one of the attorneys I used in the past because I deemed them as big a problem as I was encountering, I decided to look for a new face to represent me. I found Frank Nunes and his staff of professionals, from the moment I met and counseled with them they helped me get my life back on track both physically and legally. If I ever need a counselor for any legal matter in the future, I will be seeking the advice and counsel of Frank Nunes and his staff of professionals.
Thanks, Frank and all your staff, for all your help both personally and legally.
We were looking for a lawyer for a lawsuit against a woman who hit me with her car. … Frank was able to collect from her insurance and our insurance, which was very helpful for us. Frank and the secretaries in the office were very good at helping me stay calm and confident. …
You walked me through every procedure of the lawsuit [and] cared and worked for us to come out of this suit with something that would help us.
Frank and his staff care for their clients and that means so much to us!!
[Frank Nunes] came highly recommended by an insurance company employee who knew [him].
Mr. Nunes is very knowledgeable about the field of auto accidents; he is very practical and pragmatic. His patience is amazing and he can explain the details and nuances of a case with clarity. He works very hard for his clients!
[He was] very good to listen to the accident situation and to offer counsel and advice about what to do next and where to go for the needed medical treatment. [He was] willing to listen to the concerns we had about the accident and the insurance process. [He] made every effort to get us a fair and reasonable settlement in a timely manner. [He was] very straight-forward and realistic.
We were looking for a lawyer because we had a serious car accident and when we met Frank Nunes we felt comfortable and we knew he was trust worthy. We would recommend Frank Nunes in a heart beat. He helped us with the bills that were coming in and [gave] us guidance in what to do.
You are the best! [You are] trustworthy and so helpful. You answered all of my questions and kept me in the loop with my case.
I was involved in an automobile accident. And heard of your reputation and was please to know u were a former Selma bear.
[Frank Nunes] is the best out there and he will get the job done. [He] kept in close contact made sure I was taken care of.
[Nunes Law was] easy to work with and I got a good [auto accident] settlement. [They] took care of everything with no hassles.
Mr. Nunes is very good at his job. He even continued to help me after he got paid and even just checked in to see how I was doing.
[I] had a trip and fall and [on a stone paver in a large retail store], but chose not to resolve for [their minimal offer]. [I] found Frank Nunes in an on line search.
Mr. Nunes took a personal interest in my case and the affect this injury caused me and my family. I know very little about navigating a legal action. Mr. Nunes navigated for me, but also explained and updated me throughout the process.
Mr. Nunes is professional & personable. His office staff is fantastic. It’s a win-win!
We represent clients injured in tractor-trailer crashes as well as auto accidents. Contact us today at (559) 436-0850 to schedule a free consultation. Or learn more by reading about why our clients choose us. We offer free consultations. There is no fee if there is no recovery.