How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me File a UM/UIM Claim?

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me File a UM/UIM Claim?

A car accident lawyer can help you file an uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claim in many ways. They will gather all relevant evidence from the accident, document your losses, inform your insurance company of injuries and other losses, and ensure prompt claim filing.

If you are pursuing a UM/UIM claim, it suggests that an at-fault motorist lacks adequate insurance. This can make your case more complicated than most, so having a car accident lawyer on your side may be immensely beneficial. Don’t hesitate to find a qualified attorney to lead your claim and any necessary lawsuit.

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When Might I Need to File a UM/UIM Claim?

Concept of Uninsured Motorist Coverage write on sticky notes isolated on Wooden Table.

You file an underinsured or uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance company. You might do this if:

  • The motorist who is at fault for your car accident does not have enough insurance coverage to account for your accident-related losses
  • The motorist who is at fault for your accident was uninsured

Different state laws and individual policy details can dictate:

  • Whether you are required by law to have UM/UIM coverage
  • Whether you have UM/UIM coverage
  • How much UM/UIM coverage you have

Your attorney will quickly become familiar with your own insurance policy, specifically the details of any UM/UIM coverage you have. Your lawyer will also review the insurance status and policy details of at-fault parties, as this will be key when determining if you should file a UM/UIM claim.

What Qualifies as an Uninsured Motorist?

About 14 percent of motorists are uninsured at any given time. This means that:

  • Despite laws in every state requiring some form of insurance, these motorists choose to drive without having such required insurance
  • If the uninsured motorist causes an accident, they do not have an insurance company to pay for their own or their victims’ losses
  • If an uninsured motorist causes an accident, there is a significant likelihood their victim(s) will need to file a UM/UIM claim and possibly a lawsuit

If the motorist who caused your accident is totally without auto insurance, you may choose to file an uninsured motorist claim and potentially file a lawsuit against liable parties.

What Qualifies as an Underinsured Motorist?

A motorist with auto insurance can be an underinsured motorist. The term “underinsured” comes into play when the at-fault motorist’s insurance coverage limits are lower than the cost of your accident-related losses.

A motorist might be underinsured because:

  • They purchased only the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by state law
  • The cost of your accident-related losses is significant, whether or not the at-fault motorist purchased insurance coverage beyond state minimum requirements

You may file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, and that insurer should cover all of your losses up to the coverage limits. You may file an underinsured motorist claim with your auto insurance provider for the remaining losses beyond the at-fault party’s insurance policy coverage limits.

Steps in Filing a UM/UIM Claim (Which a Lawyer Will Take for You)

A car accident lawyer will be immensely valuable whether you file an uninsured motorist claim, an underinsured motorist claim, or a lawsuit. If you file one or more insurance claims, your attorney will:

Investigate the Car Accident and Establish Fault

magnifying glass and evidence bag

Car accident attorneys serve many roles for their clients, including an investigator. Your lawyer and their team will move quickly to:

  • Secure any video footage of your car accident
  • Interview eyewitnesses
  • Hire any experts whose perspectives, testimony, or accident reconstructions are helpful to your case
  • Obtain the police report for your car accident
  • Secure any other evidence that is relevant to your case

Using evidence, your account, and the totality of information, your attorney will determine who is at fault for the collision and who is liable for your accident-related damages.

Review All Relevant Auto Insurance Policies

As you have learned, the details of your auto insurance policy and the at-fault motorist’s policy will be central to your attorney’s case strategy. Specifically, your lawyer will look at:

  • Whether the at-fault motorist is insured
  • The coverage limits on the at-fault motorist’s policy
  • Whether you have UM/UIM coverage
  • How much UM/UIM coverage you are entitled to

The cost of auto accidents resulting in injuries can easily reach six figures or more. It is often necessary for motorists to access all available coverage, and your lawyer will lay out all of your options for obtaining compensation.

Calculate the Financial Value of Your Damages

Your lawyer will evaluate each of your accident-related damages. Once they fully understand those damages, they will determine the precise financial value of each.

Several factors, including the severity of your injuries, can affect the financial value of your damages and your case as a whole.

Create a Case Strategy Based on All Relevant Information

Your attorney will develop a personalized approach to your case based on:

  • The specific financial value of your accident-related damages
  • The amount of compensation afforded to you by third-party insurance policies (if they even have insurance)
  • The amount of compensation afforded to you by your own UM/UIM coverage, as well as any other applicable coverage

An experienced car accident lawyer will determine who owes you compensation, how to best seek compensation from them, and whether filing a lawsuit is necessary.

Negotiate with Insurance Companies

Before you and your attorney decide whether to sue liable parties, your lawyer will likely see if insurance companies will cover your losses. It is possible to receive a fair settlement from a third party’s insurer, your insurer, or both.

Discuss Whether Insurance Will Provide Enough Compensation for Your Losses

A lawsuit may be necessary if you do not receive a fair settlement amount from all available sources of insurance coverage. Since you are the one who suffered an injury in the car accident, you will have final authority over whether to accept an insurance settlement, sue, or take other courses of action. An effective lawyer will help you make such decisions confidently and based on complete information.

Additional Ways a Car Accident Lawyer Will Help with Your UM/UIM Claim

Medical CT or MRI or PET Scan film on computer monitor

Car accident lawyers oversee the insurance claims process for their clients. Your lawyer may also support you by:

The best lawyers take the entirety of clients’ cases off the clients’ hands. This approach ensures that:

  • The client can rest and recover without facing stress, unwanted contact, or case-related responsibilities that can worsen their health
  • No insurance company can pressure the client to accept a lowball settlement offer
  • Nobody, including insurers, can compel the client to make statements that negatively affect their claim

Highly competent attorneys want total control of their cases. Not only can this benefit the client, but it ensures that no detail falls through the cracks. Leading communications will be one of several critical responsibilities your attorney will handle for you.

Whether you are seeking compensation through auto insurers or a lawsuit, it’s important to prove each of your damages. Your lawyer may use documentation including:

  • MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, and other medical images
  • Photographs of visible injuries
  • Your doctors’ specific diagnoses of your injuries
  • Your doctors’ detailing of your injury symptoms
  • Your doctor's explanation of your treatment needs, rehab needs, and recovery timetable
  • Invoices for any medical equipment, medications, and other medical items related to your accident
  • A mental health professional’s diagnosis of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other types of pain and suffering from the accident
  • Invoices for repairing your vehicle

These are just some types of documentation that may help your case. Trust your attorney to secure every shred of documentation that supports your claim or lawsuit.

Filing a Lawsuit on Your Behalf

Should you and your legal team decide to file a lawsuit against an uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist, or other liable parties, your lawyer will handle the process. A lawsuit may entail:

  • Identifying defendants to name in the lawsuit
  • Filing the lawsuit in the proper legal venue
  • Informing defendant(s) they are being served
  • Taking the next steps in the legal process

When defendants receive notice of a lawsuit, they or their insurer can continue to negotiate a settlement. In fact, receiving notice of a lawsuit may indicate to liable parties that your lawyer is willing to go to trial if the liable parties do not agree to pay you fairly.

Representing You at Court

The majority of car accident cases conclude with a settlement. However, countless car accident cases go to court every year. If going to trial is the best decision for you, a capable lawyer will not hesitate to make your case in the courtroom.

Suing Is Sometimes Necessary When Motorists Lack Adequate Insurance

There is a fairly clear path to a lawsuit if the motorist responsible for your car accident is uninsured or underinsured. The sequence may go as follows:

  • Your attorney will determine the exact financial value of your damages
  • Your lawyer determines that the at-fault party is either uninsured or underinsured
  • Your lawyer determines how much compensation you can receive from your own insurer
  • The amount of compensation you are entitled to through insurance (or the maximum amount insurance companies offer) is less than you deserve
  • You decide to sue the at-fault motorist or other liable parties in pursuit of all the compensation you deserve

This is a process, and your lawyer will keep you updated throughout it. It may eventually become clear that insurance companies are either unwilling or not obligated by the policies to pay you the entire sum you deserve.

While a lawsuit or trial can add time to your case, the end result of a fair financial recovery may be worth the added time.

Damages Your Car Accident Lawyer Will Include in Their Settlement Demands

Wooden Blocks with Damages and Claim written on them

So much of your case will center on the damages you suffered during and after the car accident. Your lawyer will create a detailed account of those damages, which may include:

Pain and Suffering

Car accident victims often face post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is one of several types of pain and suffering you might face, which may also include:

  • Lost quality of life
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Acute pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Sleep problems

Scarring and other types of disfigurement can also qualify as pain and suffering. Your lawyer will be interested in getting all the compensation you deserve, so they will account for every type of pain and suffering you’ve experienced (and will experience going forward).

Professional Damages

Professional interruptions are common among car accident victims, and yours may include:

  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Lost opportunities to earn bonuses and promotions
  • Lost benefits (which can happen if you lose your job or are disabled)

Your lawyer will obtain all relevant employment records and bank statements to prove your professional damages.

Damage to Your Vehicle and Other Property

Your lawyer will seek compensation for the repair of your vehicle. If your car was totaled, they will determine its replacement value. If you need temporary transportation, your lawyer will include that expense in their demand letter.

Medical Expenses

Every auto accident victim should seek medical attention after the collision. It will be your lawyer’s job to ensure liable parties—not you—pay for all accident-related medical bills.

A Wrongful Death

A wrongful death is the most tragic outcome of car accidents. If you have lost a loved one, an attorney will seek compensation for the life-altering loss you’ve endured.

Each car accident victim has a different story that includes unique injuries and damages. Trust an attorney to fight for every dollar you are entitled to.

Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer Allows You to Prioritize Your Recovery

Do not wait a moment longer to hire a car accident attorney. Your lawyer will need to gather evidence and may face a deadline for filing a lawsuit. The sooner you call, the less you risk harming your case through hesitation.

Case evaluations are free, so there is no risk in seeking your initial consultation from personal injury lawyer. There is risk, however, in delaying.

James Wayne Holliday Author Image

James Wayne Holliday

James Wayne Holliday has been practicing law since 1995. He has been named as a “Best Attorney” Lifetime Charter Member in Florida, an honor awarded to less than one percent of the nation’s lawyers.

Mr. Holliday has earned a reputation as a relentless trial lawyer because of his outstanding work ethic and thorough preparation of his cases for trial.

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