Minnesota motorists are required to carry underinsured motorist coverage. This is because many people choose to purchase the cheapest possible insurance coverage and are left with insufficient insurance to pay for the damages they cause in a car accident. Underinsured motorist coverage steps into this gap and provides an extra layer of coverage. A person is underinsured when their policy limits are not high enough to cover all of the damages that an accident victim sustains due to their negligence.
A good example of this is a motorist who only has bodily injury coverage in the typical minimum amount of $30,000. Let’s say you are in an accident with this person. He broadsides your car at a traffic light and you break your leg. Your medical bills quickly exceed your no fault limits, and you miss months of work.
After a year of arguing, this person’s insurer finally offers their policy limits of $30,000, but this is not nearly enough to pay for your unpaid medical bills, unreimbursed wage loss, and the ongoing pain and disability from your leg. In this situation the at-fault motorist is uninsured.
Having underinsured motorist coverage means that you can collect this person’s $30,000 and then bring a claim against your own insurance company for underinsured motorist benefits.
Filing An Underinsured Motorist Claim
Your own insurance company will not be eager to pay out their underinsured motorist benefits. This is, after all, a loss for them, and even though you paid premiums, they have shareholders and a business to run.
Your insurance company is a business and businesses are interested in making profits, which means and paying out as little money as they can on claims. This can make dealing with the insurance company very frustrating.
Insurance policies are dense and lengthy and make for dry reading. Many insured drivers are uncertain what insurance they actually have purchased until they need to use it.
The car insurance policy you purchased contains language carefully chosen by the insurance company to limit your ability to bring a claim. The policy may, for example, limit the definition of what is a motor vehicle in a way which you did not expect. For instance, an ATV is not a motor vehicle as it is not legal to drive one on the highway. A post office truck is technically not a motor vehicle as it is not registered with the DMV. If you are struck by one of these types of vehicles, it is possible your insurer will point to the policy language and deny your claim.
There are exacting notice requirements in order to bring an underinsured claim. Your insurance company may not tell you for instance that you have to give them a very specific notice of claim called a Schmidt v. Clothier notice prior to settling your claim against the defendant. Failure to give proper notice in just the right way can waive your right to bring an underinsured motorist claim.
Importance Of Legal Representation
Various traps await the unwary. Your insurance company will not go out of their way to show you all of the insurance money your may be entitled to. The insurance company will frequently work to frustrate and destroy your claim. An experienced lawyer can help eliminate false defenses and ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve.
Contact A Minnesota Underinsured Motorist Attorney
If you have been in an accident with an underinsured driver, it is fair to expect that the insurance company is going to give you a hard time. If you have an experienced attorney by your side, you can expect a degree of ease to be added to the process so you can get the money you need to cover your expenses. To learn more, call us at 612-349-5215 for a free consultation.