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If you have been in a car accident, you are authorized to pursue a legal claim against the guilty party. Whether you are hurt physically, or there is property damage involved, the damages are covered by the at-fault driver’s automobile insurance company. This payout will include medical costs, accident-related costs, property damage overheads, etc.

According to the Washington law, all motorists are bound to have minimum liability insurance. This can account for $25,000 for personal injury and $50,000 per accident. Unfortunately, in Washington, more than 16% of motorists don’t have insurance. This means there can be a case where the at-fault drivers may not have any insurance at all or have minimal insurance that’s not enough to cover the damages done.

So what happens if you have been in a car accident where the driver doesn’t have liability car insurance. Fortunately, there is special car insurance to solve the problem, and these are Uninsured motorist and Underinsured motorist coverage.

What is uninsured & underinsured motorist coverage?

Uninsured Motorist coverage is a policy that you can add to your insurance to protect your losses in case of an accident. Most people ignore the add-ons that come with basic liability coverage. However, there is coverage like the uninsured motorist insurance that protects your losses in case you get into a crash caused by someone who doesn’t have enough coverage or no coverage at all.

While both uninsured and underinsured coverage is clubbed together at the time of selling, they have different rules. The uninsured motorist coverage will go into effect if you have been into an accident and the at-fault driver does not have any insurance. However, the underinsured motorist coverage will be in effect when the at-fault driver has minimal coverage.

There are two kinds of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage:

  • Uninsured and underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage or UMBI will cover all the expenses associated with car injury. This policy will cover everyone’s medical bill, which was present in the car and has suffered an injury.
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Property Damage or UMPD is there to cover your property damages, which in this case will be your car.

How do you file an uninsured motorist claim?

The process of filing for an uninsured motorist begins after the car accident. In most cases, the driver will come clean to you and tell you that they don’t have any insurance. However, this is also the case where drivers may try to flee the scene of an accident or provide you with false information. In any case, make sure you follow these steps:

  • Step 1: To make sure that you are on the path to getting appropriate compensation, you need to contact a lawyer right away. Regardless of whether you are dealing with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you must take advice from your auto accident attorney before making any decision. The attorney will study your case and will decide whether an uninsured motorist claim is your best chance, or the next step will be suing in court.
  • Step 2: Before contacting your insurance company, you should share a copy of the UIM policy with your attorney so that they know about the deadlines and other restrictions for filing the claim. Always remember that it is the insurance company that is a loss in this situation, so they will try to find ways to bail out. Only a professional auto accident attorney can help you prepare an indisputable case. The attorney will also help you gather witnesses and other critical documents to make your case strong.
  • Step 3: Once the claim has been made, the insurance company will investigate the accident, review the medical reports, and will make a settlement offer. Let your attorney decide whether it is a fair deal or not. If not, you can file a petition for a fair compensation amount. Keep in mind that Washington is not a no-fault state for car accidents. Therefore, the court will use comparative negligence rules for personal injury cases.

How much can you recover from an uninsured motorist claim?

There’s no direct answer to this question as it completely depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident. However, one thing is common in every settlement proceeding, and that is the monetary loss and injury you have faced. There will be two kinds of damages that you will be seeking compensation for economic and non-economic damages.

The economy economic damages occurred during a car accident include:

  • Hospital bills
  • The cost of prescription medication
  • Physical therapy bills
  • Compensation for lost wages
  • Property damage recovery cost
  • Compensation for future earning capacity

Non-economic damages are something that cannot be measured in any currency. This includes pain, suffering, anxiety, and disfigurement. For instance, if you have suffered an injury that you can never recover from, then it cannot be calculated in cash.

Proving negligence

The first step toward recovering these damages is to prove the negligence of the driver. Most car accident in Washington takes place due to the negligence of the driver. Some of the elements that are needed to prove this negligence is damages done to you physically and mentally. Your chances of gaining maximum damage cover depend on how well you are prepared. Some of the factors that will determine your claim are:

  • Who is at Fault?

You cannot file a claim on the UIM policy if you are at fault for the occurrence of the accident. If this fault is proved in court, your insurance company will hold you liable for the damages done. Eventually, it will affect the number of funds that you will be receiving from your insurance company.

  • Who was in the Accident?

Certain details are crucial for policy claims, for instance, who the policy will cover, e.g., some policies cover only the owner of the vehicle, whereas others cover the owner, driver, as well as other family members who will be driving the car. So, in case one of your friends borrowed the car and got into the accident, the insurance company might deny covering him.

  • Do You Have Other Coverages?

We often come across cases where clients have multiple coverages, and the case can be a little complicated. For instance, they have uninsured coverage along with minimal liability coverage. In such a case, the insurance company will deduct the coverage that you have revived under other policies.

If you are involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist, you need to make some quick decisions. Getting legal counsel will ensure that you’re not making any mistakes while interacting with the insurance company. Whatever the circumstances surrounding the accident, if you have an attorney who knows how to handle the uninsured motorist case, you can win your case.

The attorney will determine whether you can receive compensation from the driver at fault or will have to depend on your uninsured motorist coverage. In both cases, you will be helped in preparing for your claim.

How The Jackman Law Firm Can Help

If you have been in a car accident with someone who has no insurance or not enough insurance to cover you, then you need to contact The Jackman Law Firm. We can review your insurance to see if you have the proper kind of policy to help you get the money you deserve for your case.