Uninsured and Under-Insured Claims
Uninsured motorist coverage is an option available under all automobile insurance policies issued in California. If the insured elects to purchase this coverage, the insurance company provides coverage to the insured for his or her claims for injuries and damages arising from a motor vehicle accident where the party at fault is either uninsured, or does not have enough insurance to provide full compensation for the injuries sustained.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. For this reason, they have an incentive to pay you the lowest amount of compensation for your injuries that they can get away with. In attempting to persuade you to accept a “low-ball” settlement, some insurance adjusters will try to scare you by telling you that unless you accept the amount being offered, you will be required to participate in protracted and complicated arbitration proceedings. Sometimes they also will neglect to even tell you that you are entitled to damages for pain and suffering (often the largest damages component), in addition to compensation for your medical bills.
It is for this reason that many people pursuing claims under their uninsured motorist coverage retain an attorney to represent them and protect their interests. Now, it is true that if your insurance company disputes the worth of your uninsured motorist claim it can require you to participate in an arbitration proceeding before paying you anything. However, it also is the case that when an insurance company sees that an attorney is involved, it often agrees to pay a substantially higher amount than what was first offered, without even going through the arbitration process. If the insurance company still refuses to pay full value on your claim, however, the attorney will then demand arbitration on your behalf and pursue the claim in an arbitration hearing. An experienced attorney is often able to obtain top dollar for his client in an arbitration proceeding.
All states have laws that require drivers to show proof of their financial ability to pay for personal injury or property damage to others in the event of an automobile accident. Most drivers satisfy this requirement by purchasing insurance, but many cannot afford, or ignore, this obligation. It is also not uncommon for insurance companies to become insolvent, potentially leaving their policyholders without liability coverage. The result is that responsible drivers who carry insurance must bear the burden of paying for their own injuries, or damage to their vehicle, caused by someone who has no insurance coverage. Alternatively, some drivers purchase the lowest amounts of liability coverage permitted by the law in their state, which can be insufficient to cover the damages incurred by someone injured in an accident with them. Unfortunately, many people realize the importance of uninsured/underinsured coverage too late, i.e., after they or their family members have been injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
It is important to know what to do to protect the legal rights of yourself and your loved ones. Selecting the right attorney is an important decision. You should choose someone who is experienced, aggressive and dedicated to working to get fair compensation for your injuries. Over the past we have successfully handled thousands of injury and death cases. That is why you should contact the Law Offices of Clancey, Doyle & O’Donnell.