When you have a car accident, and it’s the fault of someone else’s carelessness or irresponsibility, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. What happens, however, when you go through the long and painful process of getting a settlement only to find that the insurance company won’t even cover half of what you’re owed?
That’s where uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage comes into the picture. Learn about underinsured motorist coverage, why you need to have it, and how a qualified Colorado personal injury lawyer can help your case.
Liability and Settlements
The key to getting a settlement in a car accident case is to prove negligence; that is, that the other party behaved in a way that was irresponsible, and that irresponsible behavior was the direct cause of the accident and your injury.
In such an accident, you can be eligible for many types of damages, including: lost wages, lost future potential earnings, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, medical bills, loss of quality of life and more. But you may not actually get paid the full amount of your settlement.
When Your Settlement Can’t Be Paid
Besides the limits on what the law allows you are allowed to sue for, there are practical limits on the settlements you can receive. Those limits are based on the policy limits of the person paying for your injuries. Sure, your court settlement may award you a million dollars, but if the defendant can’t pay that million, you won’t see it.
For example, let’s say you are in an accident with a drunk driver. You file an injury claim and are awarded $500,000 in medical bills, lost wages, damage to your quality of life, pain and suffering and other damages. Unfortunately, the driver’s insurance policy only covers them up to $200,000. You’ll only receive a $200,000 settlement in the end.
How Underinsured Motorist Insurance Works
If you have underinsured motorist coverage, it will kick in to pay some or all of the remaining money, should the defendant in your case be unable to pay out. Just having such a policy, however, doesn’t guarantee a full payment. You will only receive the difference between what the defendant’s policy pays, and the maximum on your policy.
Thus, in the above scenario if you have underinsured coverage of $400,000, and the defendant’s policy maxes out at $200,000, you won’t receive the remaining $300,000. Rather, you receive the difference between your policy limit and theirs — $200,000.
While this may not guarantee that you get the full settlement the courts have granted, it’s certainly better than getting cut off at the limits of the guilty party’s policy!
Pueblo Car Accident Lawyer
Of course, the first step in your claim is to get a settlement. In order to do this, your best bet is to secure the services of a Pueblo car accident lawyer. Besides policy limits, there are a number of tactics insurance companies will use to avoid payment and deflect blame, and the right attorney will ensure that your rights are protected and you get the settlement you deserve.
For many years, the attorneys at Heuser & Heuser have served clients in the state of Colorado and helped many people to get the money to which they’re entitled. If you’re in such a situation and need legal help, give us a call to talk about your case. There’s no charge for the consultation.