Underinsured Motorist Coverage UIM

Types of Coverage in Automobile Injury Cases:
Automobile Liability Insurance, Uninsured Motorist Insurance, Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Medpay Insurance, Property Damage & Collision Coverages for Your Auto

If you have been involved in an auto accident involving injury, you will have different types of insurance coverage that may or may not apply to your case. One of the reasons you need a Dallas auto accident lawyer is because you need someone who is an expert on how these coverages work, and when to make the claims, and how to make the claims so that you don't mess up your coverage, and recover the full amount of your claim.

Uninsured Motorist / Underinsured Motorist coverages:

These are TWO distinct and different types of insurance.

a) Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Is designed to take the place of someone who has absolutely no insurance coverage and was at fault in the automobile accident.
b) Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Is for situations where the other driver has insurance, but doesn't have enough coverage to pay for the entire claim.

Uninsured Motorist:

Purpose of Uninsured Motorist Coverage:
1) Takes the place of the uninsured motorists coverage that they should have had. It is intended to place the insured person in the same position as if the uninsured person had been properly insured.

2) Texas requires that Uninsured Motorist Coverage be offered when purchasing an automobile insurance policy. If there is no coverage, there must be a signed, written rejection of the coverage. The Texas Legislature required that this be offered to protect people from financial loss caused by irresponsible motorists - those who didn't carry insurance.

Language of Uninsured Motorist Coverage in most auto policies in Texas:
We will pay damages which a covered person is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle because of bodily injury sustained by a covered person, or property damage, caused by an accident.

Covered Person means:
1) You or any family member; (most courts have defined this as immediate family members - or living in the household with you - even if inside someone else's car).
2) Any other person occupying your covered auto; (so if you have a friend riding in YOUR car and are hit by an uninsured motorist).
3) Any person for damages that person is entitled to recover because of bodily injury to which this coverage applies sustained by a person described above.

Types of Uninsured motorist coverage
1) Property Damage: There is a $250 deductible

Means injury or destruction of or loss of use of:
a) Your covered auto, not including a temporary substitute (like a rental car);
b) Any property owned by a person listed in the "Covered Person" section; (You, your immediate family members, anyone else listed on the policy).
c) Any property owned by you or any family member while contained in any auto not owned, but being operated, by you or any family member. (Such as if you were riding in someone else's car and you had your laptop computer with you, and it was destroyed).

2) Bodily Injury: No deductible. Will cover up to the limits of the insurance policy for an injury to a covered person (whatever coverage you have purchased for Uninsured Motorist Coverage).

3) Uninsured Motor Vehicle:
Is a motor vehicle used on the land, or a trailer of any type, which has no liability bond or insurance at the time of the accident, or in which there is a hit and run accident and the operator or owner can't be identified, that hits you, a family member, a vehicle you or a family member are in, your covered auto, or in which the insurance company had coverage - but later denied coverage for some reason or becomes insolvent.

Hit and Run - Uninsured Motorist Coverage requirements:
1) Actual Physical Contact: is required between your vehicle and some other vehicle (so if you swerve to avoid someone, then run into a pole, and you never make contact with any other vehicle, and the person who caused you to have to swerve drives away, this is not covered under the Uninsured Motorist Coverage).
2) Police Report: Most insurance policies require that you report your hit and run accident to the police in order for there to be Uninsured Motorist Coverage for a hit and run.

Things Not Covered:
1) If injury is to you or your family members have a vehicle that you or they own, or use on a regular basis, but have not let the insurance company know about that vehicle, and you are injured while in that vehicle, they will not cover the loss (because they would have charged more or different premiums for that additional vehicle).
2) If injury is to you and you are hit by a governmental vehicle - even if that vehicle has immunity from suit (meaning you can't recover from them due to law), you still cannot recover on your uninsured motorist coverage, because the government is not considered uninsured.
3) If injury is to you and you are hit by something operating on rails (like a train), or crawler treads (like a construction backhoe).
4) If injury is to you are hit by something designed mainly for off road use, and the accident occurs off road. (like an 3 or 4 wheeler ATV hitting you or your vehicle while you are on the beach).
5) If your injury is caused by a vehicle that is designed to be a residence (such as a trailer home), while it is located or used as a trailer home (in other words, while it is in the trailer park and not being driven around - and if something fell off the trailer home and injured you, you could not file an uninsured motorist claim because it was not being driven and was being used as a residence at the time of the injury).
6) If your injury occurs while you are driving your vehicle for a fee (such as using it as a taxi, or renting it out to someone to use). The insurance companies don't want to cover your "work" - as this coverage is designed for a personal policy (not a work policy).
7) If an injury occurs when a person takes the vehicle without permission. So if your vehicle is stolen, and the person who steals it is involved in an accident, they cannot use your uninsured motorist coverage if the other person caused the accident.
8) If an injury or accident occurs due to an intentional act. If someone intentionally slams their car into yours, then there is no uninsured motorist coverage (this makes more sense if you consider that all liability insurance policies don't cover intentional acts, so since an uninsured motorist policy is intended to take the place of a liability policy, then why would it provide coverage when if the liability insurance had been there, it would not have covered either.

PIP Offsets:
The insurance company is allowed to "offset" the amount of their offer for your Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury settlement by the amount already paid under Personal Injury Protection, unless the claim is worth more than the Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage that is available. For example: If you have $30,000.00 in coverage, and your total claim is worth $15,000.00, and the insurance company already paid you $2500 under PIP, then they will owe an additional $12,500 after applying the PIP offset. On the other hand, if you have $30,000 in coverage, and your claim is worth $35,000, and your insurance has already paid you $2500 in PIP, then you get the full $30,000 in Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage without any offset, because to allow an offset would be unfair since you paid for both coverages, and your claim was worth more than both combined (in other words there is no "double recovery" in this situation).

Other Uninsured Motorist Coverage: If you have two Uninsured Motorist Coverage policies that will cover you (if you were a passenger in your friend's car, then your friend's uninsured motorist coverage would cover you, and your own uninsured motorist coverage on your own vehicle would cover you too). In that situation, the insurance policies state that they will pay their pro-rata share of the claim. You are entitle to make the claim against whichever policy you choose, but the insurance company typically will get the other insurance company to contribute a percentage based on the size of the policies available (on a pro-rata share). You don't get two recoveries in this situation, BUT you do have an additional insurance policy, which basically raises the amount of coverage available - in case your claim is worth even more than one of the uninsured motorist coverages.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Is coverage for you if the person who hit you does not have enough coverage to pay for the full amount you are legally entitled to recover from the person causing the accident.
1) Amount Payable: The amount payable under Underinsured Motorist Coverage is up to the policy limits of the policy under Underinsured Motorist Coverage.

2) Permission to Settle: If you intend to use your Underinsured Motorist Coverage, then before you settle with the other person's insurance company, you are required to get the "permission" to settle from your Underinsured Motorist Insurance company. Theoretically, this is so they can run a check on the other side and ensure that they truly are underinsured, and that you haven't prejudiced any rights your insurance company may have to recover against other assets the underinsured motorist may have before you sign any releases that may restrict your insurance companies rights.

If you have been injured by an uninsured motorist, or if you believe that your injury may entitle you to recover for your underinsured motorist coverage, you need to call the Law Office of Doug Goyen and speak to a Dallas auto accident lawyer regarding your case, and make sure your rights are protected, and you recover the full value of your case.

Personal Injury Areas We Help With Are:

Auto Accident and Injury Cases, Personal Injury Cases, 18 Wheeler & Commercial Vehicle Injury Accident Cases, Motorcycle Accident and Injury Cases, Wrongful Death Cases, Pedestrian Injured by Automobile Cases, Slip and Fall & Premises Cases, Workplace & Constructions Injury Cases, Dog Bite Injury Cases, Bicyclers Hit by Automobile Cases .

By Doug Goyen, douggoyen@gmail.com 

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