Washington State allows motorists to reject in writing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. But why is it not a good idea to go without uninsured motorist coverage?
The Insurance Research Council estimates that roughly 16% of drivers on the road are uninsured. Uninsured motorist coverage also covers you in the case of a hit and run. Washington ranked 7th overall in the country with 17% of motorists driving without any form of auto insurance. This is despite the fact that all drivers are required to carry auto insurance by law. More alarming, the average costs per year for uninsured motorist claims are skyrocketing.
That being said, insurance companies aren’t enthusiastic about being forced by law to offer UIM coverage and, even when you’re making a claim on your own policy, it can be difficult to prove that the terms of your policy apply to the situation that you’re in. In these cases, insurance companies may deny a claim on grounds that you find baffling.
What Happens When You Get Into an Accident With an Uninsured Motorist?
If you get into a car accident with an uninsured motorist, you have one of two options. You can either hope that they are found and sue them directly or you can file a claim on your uninsured motorist policy. Your underinsured motorist policy can be used to offset costs in excess of the at-fault driver’s own liability coverage.
If the driver didn’t flee the scene of the accident and can be found, you can file a lawsuit against and likely win a very large settlement. That, however, doesn’t mean that they can pay that settlement. They will likely turn around and file for bankruptcy and discharge the entire debt. In other words, you’ll never see a dime.
Generally speaking, you can collect for all of the same things you would be able to collect for from a liability policy. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. This, however, is also where it gets a little tricky. The insurance company has a vested interest in offering you as little money on your claim as they can legally get away with. That number is very low when they don’t think you know what you’re doing and you haven’t hired an attorney.
Just because your insurance company has offered you a lowball offer doesn’t mean you have to accept it. You can fight for more.
Helping You Get a Fair Settlement on Your Uninsured Motorist Claim
As car accident attorneys, our job is to advocate on your behalf and ensure you get a fair settlement that represents the full value of your damages. Most folks don’t even know how much money they’re entitled to. For instance, they may know that they’re entitled to be reimbursed for medical expenses. But they don’t know that they can be reimbursed for lost wages, pain and suffering. In cases where they can no longer perform their job, they’re entitled to be reimbursed for training required to pursue other options.
Nonetheless, the insurance adjuster who is handling your claim is looking for any reason available to devalue it or deny it outright. Insurance companies are, however, bound by law to act in the best interests of their policyholders and this is where you have some leverage.
Uninsured motorist claims are complex. The insurance company will investigate the situation thoroughly to ensure they aren’t being duped by someone who ran their car into a tree. They are bound by law to act in your best interests. But that only goes so far as the terms of the policy. Your best plan of action is to have a skilled personal injury attorney litigate your uninsured motorist claim.
Contact a Seattle WA Uninsured Motorist Claim Attorney Today
The insurance company will use anything you say against you to devalue your claim. You can bet that nothing you say to them will improve your situation at all. If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident or by a motorist who does not have insurance, contact a Seattle WA car accident lawyer at Fielding Law Group as soon as possible. We can help you avoid making costly mistakes with your uninsured motorist claim.