Friends Become Enemies: The Adversarial Nature of UIM Proceedings
Many people dread dealing with “the insurance company” after being involved in a vehicle accident. However, “the insurance company” is usually the other driver’s insurer. Many people see their own insurer as an ally and a source of support, especially in cases where the other driver was at fault. Unfortunately, this can lull people into a false sense of comfort and complacency. Your insurer may be friendly now, but that may change, especially if it becomes necessary to tap into your UIM coverage.
Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is a special insurance product you can purchase from your own insurance company that pays you benefits if you are involved in an accident where your injuries exceed the at-fault driver’s available liability coverage. Because both the severity of your injuries and the extent of the other driver’s coverage may not be immediately known, it often does not become apparent that UIM coverage is a factor until well into your case.
The problem is that once UIM coverage becomes relevant, the insurance company that was previously your ally suddenly has an interest in minimizing your injuries in order to limit its own liability exposure. Therefore, there are some things you should always remember when dealing with your own insurance company:
- If you have UIM coverage available, always assume that it could come into play.
- Do not provide your insurance company with any more information than is necessary.
- Remember, your insurance company cannot help you prosecute a personal injury claim. Only a lawyer can do that.
- Consider consulting a lawyer as soon as possible and dealing with your insurance company through him or her.
UM/UIM coverage is extremely valuable, especially considering that uninsured and underinsured drivers cause a disproportionate number of accidents. However, when UIM is involved, it is wise not to become too friendly with your insurance company and to retain the counsel of an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer.