When someone hires me to represent them for their car, truck or motorcycle
accident, they hire me to recover money to compensate them for medical
bills, lost wages and other “damages” caused by the fault
of another. In a typical
car accident situation for instance, it is not the other person I am fighting as much
as it is their insurance company.
But what if the other person has no insurance? What then? In this situation
I will investigate whether the at-fault party has assets and/or the financial
ability to pay for my client’s damages. In most situations, the
at-fault party has no assets or financial ability to pay. Therefore, I
will also look to my client’s own insurance policy to determine
if they carry Uninsured /Underinsured Motorist Coverage, often referred
to as UM or UIM coverage.
This coverage is essentially designed to pay for the same “bodily
injury” damages as the at-fault party’s bodily injury liability
coverage, had they carried bodily injury coverage. Or, if the other party
carries bodily injury coverage but it is insufficient to cover your damages,
UM/UIM coverage compensation can be pursued to pay for losses that exceed
the other party’s available bodily injury coverage.
Lastly, UM/UIM insurance coverage also covers bodily injury damages caused
by someone who flees the scene and is never found, also referred to as
a “phantom vehicle”
So when shopping for insurance for your vehicle, make sure you talk to
your agent about UM/UIM insurance. It has been my experience that many
people do not have a complete understanding of what they need or what
they are actually buying. And, it isn’t until after they are injured
in an accident that they learn that their insurance choices will either
prevent them from being fully compensated for their injuries, or worse
yet, prevent them from recovering at all.