Uninsured or under-insured motorist protection (UIM) is one of the most important, and yet often overlooked, types of coverage that any driver should have. The coverage is not expensive and acts to step into the shoes of a negligent driver who does not have liability insurance (or does not have enough insurance).
The State of Washington makes it illegal to drive without having a minimum of $25,000.00 in liability insurance. Liability insurance, also referred to as bodily injury (BI) insurance, covers a driver in the event that he or she injures another with their vehicle. The minimum coverage of $25,000.00 is, however, an out-dated and often insufficient amount of coverage for many automobile accidents. For example, if you are seriously injured in an automobile accident and have a claim worth $100,000.00 or more, without UIM insurance, you are gambling that the same driver who negligently caused your injuries has a large insurance policy to cover your losses. The reality is that high risk drivers often cannot even obtain high limits from an insurance company because of the company’s fear that they will cause a serious accident.
As an example, if you have a case worth $100,000.00 and the liability limits of the driver who caused the accident are $25,000.00, you will only be able to obtain the $25,000 from his insurance company. While you might be successful in getting more money out of the driver personally, this rarely happens. By having adequate UIM coverage, you protect yourself against this situation. If your limits are $100,000.00 then you would be able to obtain the $25,000.00 from the negligent driver and then the remaining $75,000.00 from your own company. There is a lot more to it in practical application due to the requirements to repay any health insurance, etc., but the overall numbers provide an important illustration.
The purpose of UIM is to make up the difference between the value of your insurance claim should you be injured by someone with low limits or who failed to purchase liability insurance. This type of coverage is exclusively to protect you and your family and should not be declined. This fact is all the more true in light of the current economic recession where many people are forced to make difficult decision regarding their finances, and betting that they won’t get caught or cause an accident, more and more drivers are dropping their liability insurance.
The law in Washington requires that your insurance company offer you this coverage in an amount of coverage equal to the limits of your liability coverage. Declining this type of coverage must be done in written form.
If you have a UIM claim with your own insurance company, you owe your company certain duties of good faith and fair dealing and cooperation. Your company owes you these duties as well. This is quite different from dealing with another person’s insurance company, where that company owes you no duties whatsoever. This is a double-edged sword, however, in that the companies can effectively use the requirement of your “cooperation” against even reasonable persons who don’t know the case law in Washington surrounding these types of claims. Our firm has extensive experience handling UIM claim and would be happy to consult with you free of charge regarding your claim.
“Wiener & Lambka helped me through the process, always discussing all of the available options. In particular, I was happy about the ease with which I was able to access my attorneys.”- B. Froton“In my moment of Crisis Wiener & Lambka lent me a helping hand. Their dedication to my case was outstanding. They stuck by my side and fought for my rights. Thank you!” - K. Tuazon“I was satisfied by the timely manner with which my case was handled. I would definitely recommend Wiener & Lambka to a friend in the future.” - D. Yusuf“Everyone was great. The staff at Wiener and Lambka make a good thing out of a bad situation, and for that, I am very thankful.” - D. Grami“The Staff at Wiener and Lambka are friendly and understand customer needs. They reduced their fee on my case and didn’t even take any on my son’s.” - M. Ngo“Wiener & Lambka took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas“Wiener and Lambka did a good job of keeping me up to date on my case, and I’d definitely suggest their services to someone looking for an attorney.” - L. Lafond“A job well done! The staff at Wiener and Lambka made a point of explaining everything to me and if necessary I’d work with them again in a heartbeat.” - O. Yusuf"Wiener & Lambka always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo“The service and the staff were great. I was happy with everything, and would refer Wiener and Lambka to someone else in the future.” - I. Aleman"It was a stress free experience. I particularly enjoyed when, on my initial call, they sent someone out to my house to speak with me in person. I would certainly use or recommend Wiener & Lambka in the future." - M. Randall“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“Calls were returned in a timely manner, and the office staff is friendly. I’d recommend Wiener and Lambka to a friend in the future.” - T. Their“Wiener & Lambka get the job done. I appreciated their concern and interest in my case, and would definitely recommend them to a friend.” - Y. Martin
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