What is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage and Should I Have It?

Ask the next person you see – it could be a stranger: “Do you know what UM or UIM automobile coverage is? Chances are the person will give you a bewildered look and ask: “What is it?” Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage, known as UM and UIM coverage, is a form of insurance that protects you against drivers who choose to drive without insurance or only bare minimal policy limits. If such a driver negligently causes an accident, your ability to recover from your injuries and secure compensation for damages is put at severe risk. You may be forced to pay for your own vehicle repairs, medical bills, lost wages, co-pays, and deductibles. You cannot even be compensated for the pain and suffering the other driver caused no matter the extent of your injures. To protect against such a nightmare scenario, drivers are offered UM/UIM coverage that allows you to make a claim against your own policy when the other driver does not have enough insurance to pay your reasonable losses.
In areas of the country containing especially aggressive drivers, like Las Vegas, you should have UM/UIM coverage to protect you and your family. UM/UIM is not mandatory in Nevada so it must be specifically requested. In fact, your insurance agent must have you sign a document to affirmatively decline this coverage. Many people decline without understanding the potential consequences.
According to USLegal.com, uninsured motorist coverage is defined as follows:
Additional coverage in a policy of insurance on an automobile which provides that if the owner (or a passenger) of the automobile is injured by a negligent driver of another vehicle who does not have liability insurance, then the insurance company will pay its insured’s actual damages.
Not having UM/UIM coverage could carry heavy consequences and result in the following scenario:
You are driving to work, as you do every morning, when someone runs a red light and t-bones your vehicle. Your air bags deploy, you are hurt and disoriented, and you are fault free. After calling 911, you exchange insurance information with the other driver and secure a police report then immediately seek treatment for your injuries.
The next day or so after the accident, you meet with an attorney and learn the consequences of the negligent driver having no insurance or only minimal coverage. Your attorney then reviews your own auto policy to learn that it does not contain UM/UIM coverage. You are now left without recourse or remedy – you must pay your own damages, often out of your own pocket. This consequence is potentially devastating depending upon your level of injuries and the extent of damage to your vehicle.
Unfortunately, the above scenario is all too common.
If you do have UM/UIM coverage, your attorney will negotiate with your insurance company regarding that coverage to ensure you receive compensation for your loss. Each case is different, but the one constant should be that you have UM/UIM to rely upon. The lawyers at vegas west attorneys strongly recommend that you immediately call your insurance agent or pull your written policy to verify UM/UIM coverage. If you do not have this coverage, consider adding it.
If you, or someone you know, is injured by the negligent driving of another, whether it be in your car, ride-share, or company vehicle, do not wait to consult with an attorney. First, seek treatment for your injuries, then immediately meet with an attorney to discuss your rights. Do not speak with the adverse insurance company or give a recorded statement until you have “lawyered up.” The insurance companies have teams of defense attorneys and adjusters that diligently aim to pay you the least amount possible for your injuries and damages. Do not fall victim to their tactics.
At vegas west attorneys, we have defense attorney experience which allows us to meet and beat the insurance companies at their own game. We will protect your rights while you undergo appropriate treatment and recover from your injuries. Once the extent of your losses are known, we will aggressively seek a fair recovery that properly compensates you for the inconvenience you have suffered, property damage, medical treatment, lost wages, and the pain and suffering you had to endure because someone chose to act carelessly at your expense. By not reaching out to a legal professional after suffering an injury, you risk not knowing the answers to the following important questions:
• Should I provide the insurance company with a statement and, if so, when?

• Do I call my insurance company to make a claim or call the person’s insurance who hit me?

• Who do I call to fix or replace my damaged vehicle? Is a rental car available?

• I cannot miss work to attend doctor appointments. What should I do?

• If I don’t know a doctor who can provide treatment, how do I find one?

• If I do not have medical insurance to pay my medical bills, what other options are available?

• How much should I expect in a settlement or judgment following trial?
At vegas west attorneys, we work directly with you to provide proper legal advice to answer these important questions and others. Our experienced attorneys and case managers provide aide in different aspects of your accident case as well. We are your injury advocates and will speak with the insurance companies, so you don’t have to; instead, you can focus your attention on getting better.
It is most important in any accident case that you recover from your injuries and pain to the greatest extent possible. This requires that you receive all the health care that you need and deserve, including, if necessary, physical therapy, proper imaging, orthopedic services, pain management treatment, neurological analysis, and sometimes neuropsychological treatment in cases involving closed head injuries. Often, various experts are required such as accident reconstruction engineers, biomechanical experts, vocational rehabilitation experts, and others. Hopefully, your injuries will not require such extensive treatment and analysis, but if it does, vegas west attorneys are equipped to handle every aspect.
Often, an accident can involve forces that cause your head to whip so violently that your brain collides with the bony interior of your own skull. This contact can cause bruising to your brain tissue and tearing of blood vessels. Not every head injury is immediately followed by a loss of consciousness and, often, the symptoms from a brain injury do not manifest until later. Other injuries, such as spinal injuries, may seem minor at first but ultimately require extensive treatment, including surgery. Seeking proper treatment for injuries that you might not even suspect initially is crucial to recovery.
Waiting to seek legal advice may prove detrimental not only to your accident case, but to your health and ultimate outcome. At vegas west attorneys, we evaluate our client’s insurance policies when injured in an accident, along with all potential insurance policies that may be applicable, so we may provide you the best chance of returning to your pre-accident condition. UM/UIM is just one benefit that many people do not secure when obtaining automobile insurance because they want to keep their monthly premiums low. However, UM/UIM coverage is not overly expensive and can prove extremely valuable in case of an accident. We recommend asking your insurance agent about the cost of adding this coverage with the hope that you’ll never need it, but if you do, you will be thankful to have it.

Vegas West
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