(618) 239-6070 eric@lawkirkpatrick.com

Underinsured Motorist Coverage and Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Today i’d like to talk about underinsured motorist coverage and uninsured motorist coverage. These are things that people have on their insurance policies for their automobiles, but sometimes they have no idea what they are or their purpose. As a personal injury lawyer who handles uninsured motorist accidents located in Belleville, IL  I see a lot of cases where a client having this coverage makes a big difference to their compensation for their injuries.

Let me explain to you at the outset that I believe these parts of an insurance policy are probably the most important. The reason being is because these provisions in the policy are insurance on you and anyone in your vehicle when you are injured by another driver in an automobile accident.

What’s the Purpose of Underinsured Motorist Coverage and Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

I’ll give you an example: Recently a person came in and they were injured with pretty catastrophic injuries in an automobile accident where the liability meaning the fault of the other driver was very clear.

Unfortunately the other driver had only $25,000 on their liability insurance policy. That is the state minimum. But my clients had been in the hospital for three weeks. They suffered multiple injuries including broken legs broken ribs and easily their medical bills and their lost wages and also their pain and suffering exceeded that $25,000 insurance policy limit.

Most people think that well we can just go after the other driver and take everything he’s got. Unfortunately most of the time people don’t have the assets to be able to pay
for somebody’s injuries and medical bills out of their own pockets so we are essentially stuck with recovering from the other driver only the insurance policy limit.

This is why and the uninsured and underinsured coverage is important in the example i gave it would be an “underinsured motorist claim.”

How Does Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?

What the Underinsured Coverage does is protects you and anyone in your car if you are injured by somebody who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the extent of the damages you’ve suffered. Fortunately for my client he had $100,000 in a policy limit on the underinsured provision of his auto policy. That then gives us the opportunity to recover the amount between the $25,000 that the other driver had and the $100,000 policy limit that my client has on his underinsured coverage.

In other words that insurance that underinsured coverage that is insurance on him comes into his benefit because he can now potentially get another $75,000.

How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work?

The way that the uninsured motorists coverage works is that occurs if somebody who runs into you or has a causes an accident with you has no insurance at all so then you can follow through with the provision to file under your own insurance for uninsured benefits. Again, that’s subject to a policy limit just like the underinsured amount.

Will Making an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim Make My Insurance Rates Go Up?

The question that comes up a lot of times is: when I go to recover under these provisions of the policy, will it make my rates go up? In the example that i gave you, $75,000 is a pretty fair amount of money. This money was available to be used to help my client pay bills, pay medical bills, and stay financially afloat.

I haven’t had anybody come to me to tell me that they wish they had never filed an underinsured claim with their carrier because the of the amount of money that they were able to recover. So, while your rates might increase, the availability of funds to help you recover and survive are usually considered worth the potentially increased premiums.

How Much Underinsured Motorist or Uninsured Motorist Coverage Should I Get?

One of the things that’s important to know when it comes to the underinsured coverage is that you buy as much as you can possibly afford. There are a lot of people out there with minimum
insurance policy limits for liability, and there are many drivers out there who are completely under uninsured at all.

What is the Process of Making an Underinsured Motorist or Uninsured Motorist Claim?

Let me explain how the underinsured or uninsured coverage works. First the Underinsured: if you’re injured in an accident and the other driver’s policy limit is minimal or regardless of the amount of the other driver’s liability limit your damages, your injuries, your medical bills and/or your lost wages exceed what the other driver’s policy limit is, your Underinsured Motorist Coverage would apply.

Once the case is resolved for the policy limit we can then take the steps necessary under your own policy to pursue an underinsured claim. In other words to recover what amount of underinsured coverage you have beyond the other driver’s policy limit. Most people have an underinsured policy limit that is the same as their liability policy limit. Maybe it’s $50,000 maybe it’s $100,000 or $250,000. The more underinsured coverage you have the more you’re going to have available to cover you in the event that another driver is underinsured.

There are certain steps a person has to take in order to be able to perfect and be able to make that claim on a person’s own underinsured policy limit that comes at the time of the settlement of the underlying claim against the liable party. These underinsured claims are then heard in front of three arbitrators: one that is appointed by me as the plaintiff’s lawyer, one appointed by the insurance company, and then our two arbitrators appoint a neutral party.

The way these underinsured claims work is once we prove that the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, we provide that information to your insurance carrier and we deal
with them. If we’re able to agree to an amount of what the case is worth we go with that. If not, we go through the same arbitration process that i just described.

Uninsured Motorist and Uninsured Motorist Claim Lawyer in Belleville, IL

I handle these claims on a regular basis, and would be happy to talk to you if you’re in this situation. Call me, Eric Kirkpatrick at Kirkpatrick Law Offices: 618-239-6070

The Kirkpatrick Law Office proudly serves clients as a personal injury lawyer in St Clair County, Illinois and a personal injury lawyer, coal mine injury attorney, industrial accident lawyer, workers compensation and construction accident lawyer in Belleville, Illinois and other areas of Southern Illinois including but not limited to Carbondale, IL, Goreville, IL, De Soto, IL, Murphrysboro, IL, Freeburg, IL, Coulterville, IL, Hecker, IL, Waterloo, IL, Sparta, IL, St. Clair County, IL, Madison County, IL, Johnson County, IL, Randolph County, IL, Clinton County, IL and other Southern Illinois locations.

We typically assist injured workers and people with neck injuries, back injuries, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, elbow injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, people requiring back surgery, coal mine injuries, union worker injuries, iron worker injuries, boilermaker, pipefitter and laborer injuries, those hurt as a result of construction accidents, road construction, semi-truck accidents, cell phone drivers, discrimination, warehouse injuries. We also help people hurt in nursing home injuries while lifting patients in nursing homes or other medical facilities.