Underinsured & Uninsured Motorist Attorneys In Denver
When you are seriously injured in an auto accident, you expect the negligent driver to have sufficient insurance to cover your medical care and other losses. However, in many cases, victims’ losses far surpass the negligent driver’s policy limits. In situations like these, you may be able to seek additional compensation through your own insurance company under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) policy.
Despite laws that exist in nearly every state requiring drivers to carry at least liability insurance, a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) found that almost 13 percent of all drivers don’t have liability insurance. You could be left to pay for your medical expenses if the at-fault driver isn’t covered with sufficient auto insurance.
If you or someone you love was involved in a serious accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, and your insurance company neglects to step in and offer compensation, don’t panic. You can still file a personal injury lawsuit and receive your due payment. The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm has expert personal injury lawyers who can take your claim and walk you through the legal process unscathed.
ABOUT UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST INSURANCE
Insurance companies must offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage by law in the same amounts as your selected bodily injury liability limits. However, this type of coverage is optional, and Colorado drivers can legally reject it. If Colorado drivers reject this type of coverage, they must do so in writing. If you have yet to give a written rejection to your insurance company, you still have this type of coverage on your policy.
What does uninsured motorist insurance cover? It can depend on the policy. If you have any questions regarding your UM/UIM coverage, you should contact your insurance agent to review your policy. They should be able to answer all of your questions.
Because Colorado is an “at-fault” state, injured parties file claims against the at-fault driver’s insurer. If the at-fault driver’s insurance does not cover your damage, your UM/UIM coverage handles the difference. UI/UIM coverage can also cover drivers in hit-and-run accidents.
After being involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you should contact your insurance company to file a UM/UIM claim. This process should be quick and painless if you did not opt out of your UM/UIM coverage.
However, if you opted out of your UM/UIM, or your UM/UIM coverage doesn’t fully cover your damages, you should contact an uninsured/underinsured motorist lawyer to decide your next steps. An experienced attorney will walk you through the options that serve your best interests.
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CONSEQUENCES OF UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORISTS
The consequences of uninsured/underinsured car accidents range from minor to severe. However, the financial damages can be catastrophic since paying medical insurance depends heavily on your insurance coverage. Very few drivers have the money necessary to cover the full cost of injured parties when they’re at fault. This is why suing underinsured motorists to provide compensation may be in your best interest.
The 2014 IRC study also found that 82 percent of uninsured motorists didn’t have car insurance because they couldn’t afford it or their vehicles were in such bad condition. This stat suggests that most uninsured motorists couldn’t pay for someone else’s medical bills/financial losses if they were at fault in an accident.
Even if you have UM/UIM coverage, insurance companies can still deploy questionable tactics to deny, ignore, or underpay your claim. Your insurance company loses money when they have to provide you full coverage because of a UM/UIM claim.
Because it is not in the insurance company’s best interest to offer full coverage, they often provide subpar settlements in hopes that you ignore your full entitlement. They can also question the severity of your injuries or the validity of your medical bills. Insurance companies have sneaky means of avoiding your full settlement, but companies often overstep their legal bounds when doing this and act in bad faith. If this occurs, contact the Denver bad faith insurance attorneys at Call Paul.
The following bad faith scenarios frequently occur during the insurance claims process:
- Outright claim denial
- Inadequate claim investigation
- Failure to investigate your claim on time
- Denying your claim without providing justification
- UM/UIM coverage misinterpretation
- Undervaluing your claim
- Engaging in deceptive practices
UM/UIM claims often turn into bad-faith insurance claims. Qualified uninsured/underinsured attorneys can use such information to leverage your claim and ensure you receive your rightful compensation.
PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM UNINSURED MOTORISTS
There are three primary safeguards you can use to protect yourself from uninsured or underinsured drivers. When you sign your insurance documents, be thorough and ensure you understand which method best suits your needs.
UNINSURED MOTORIST INSURANCE
Uninsured motorist property damage coverage also pays for your vehicle damage, medical bills, and financial losses. If the at-fault driver crashed at your property, this type of coverage would also cover any property damage, such as a broken fence or damaged mailbox.
UNINSURED MOTORIST PROPERTY DAMAGE COVERAGE
Uninsured motorist property damage coverage also pays for your vehicle damage in addition to your medical bills and financial losses. If the at-fault driver crashed at your property, this type of coverage would also cover any property damage, such as a broken fence or damaged mailbox.
UNDERINSURED MOTORIST PROTECTION
In many cases, an at-fault driver has liability coverage, but their policy limits don’t cover the full extent of losses. In these cases, UIM insurance covers the difference. Most states recommend you purchase UM/UIM coverage with the same limits as your liability coverage.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT WITH AN UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST?
You must take the correct steps in the moments immediately following your car crash. The time immediately following your crash should be used for collecting evidence and speaking to witnesses. However, if you sustain serious injuries, your priority should be to seek medical attention.
If you do not sustain an injury in the car accident, you should take the following actions:
- Call the police and report the accident.
- Take photographs of both vehicles and any debris surrounding the wreck.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver and any witnesses who saw the accident.
- Because accidents can cause shock, or adrenaline can disguise pain or injury, never accept the uninsured driver’s money. You don’t know what injuries or medical conditions you could wake up with the following morning. Your car also may appear to drive fine but then show initial damage from the accident.
- Refrain from following the hit-and-run driver. Try to record the make, model, and license plate while calling the police right away to report the accident.
- Write down as much information about the accident as you can remember. You should note the date, time, and events leading up to the accident.
- Photograph the scene and ask any witnesses for valuable information. Record their contact information for future use.
- In all situations, you should call 911 first. Once the authorities arrive, discuss the event with the responding officer. Record their information for future use.
- Even if you do not feel hurt, it is still crucial to seek medical attention. Record all of the pertinent information about your medical visit for future reference.
- Contact an underinsured motorist attorney for Denver accidents to discuss your case as soon as you are physically and mentally capable of doing so.
COLORADO UNINSURED MOTORIST LAWS
RESIDENT RELATIVE COVERAGE
Colorado law says that if you do not own a vehicle or you sustained a pedestrian or bicycle accident, you can still file a UM/UIM claim under a family member’s policy. To do so, you must be related by blood or marriage and live under the same roof. Resident relative coverage even applies to children who are away at school and temporarily residing away from home.
HIT-AND-RUN OR PHANTOM DRIVER ACCIDENTS AND UM/UIM CLAIMS
If you were injured in an accident and cannot identify the negligent driver, you can use your uninsured/underinsured coverage to cover your damages. You can also use these types of insurance in phantom driver accidents.
Phantom driver accidents are accidents caused by drivers whose vehicles sustain no damage. For example, a driver runs a red light, and you are hit by a driver when cross-traffic stops suddenly to avoid them. In cases such as this, the phantom driver is not involved in the accident, but they caused it.
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Denver, CO Uninsured/Underinsured Attorneys For You
One of our experienced attorneys can walk you through the complex legal process and ensure that you never become overwhelmed with confusing insurance company practices or ambiguous laws. We are experienced in personal injury lawsuits in Denver and are committed to getting you what you deserve.
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CONTACT MY DENVER OFFICE TO DISCUSS YOUR AUTO ACCIDENT
If you have made an inquiry about your UM/UIM coverage and can’t get a straight answer from your insurance company, you don’t have to put up with the runaround. My team will work directly with your insurance company to obtain the compensation you deserve in these matters.