Kansas Personal Injury Accidents: Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist
Topeka Personal Injury Accident Attorney: Insurance Issues
The sad reality is that most individuals, when making these claims, are unaware that they could accidentally waive the most valuable part of the uninsured or underinsured claim.
Even though the law has substantial penalties for driving an uninsured vehicle, it is estimated that 13.8% of all motorists or driving vehicles are without auto insurance. As you know, if a driver is at fault in an auto accident, the liability insurance will step in and pay for the damages up to the policy limit. What happens when the driver at fault does not have insurance? What happens when the driver at fault has a small amount of insurance?
Kansas law and insurance policies have provisions referred to as uninsured motorists clauses. This is a provision in your insurance policy that provides if the other driver at fault is uninsured you may make a claim against your own insurance company, subject to the limits of your own policy.
In the event the other driver is at fault and he does not have sufficient insurance to cover your claim you have the possibility of making what called an underinsured motorist claim. In Kansas, this applies only if your damage exceeds the amount of the liability policy of the driver fault. In Kansas, the law determines that the other driver is underinsured if he is carrying less insurance on his vehicle than you are on yours. This means if the other driver has a policy of $25,000 and you have a policy of $50,000, you can receive the first $25,000 of your claim from the defendant’s policy and the 2nd $25,000 of your claim from your own company. However, if both you and the other driver have the same policy limit, in the law deems that he is not underinsured regardless of how much damage you have incurred. So this is good reason when selecting your own insurance policy to have a reasonably high policy limit, as you are actually insuring yourself and your family under the underinsured policy.
Actually making a claim under these types of policies can be very complicated. For example, the law provides that before you accept a policy limits offer from the driver at fault and his insurance company, you have to give a 60 day written notice to your own company. This notice includes specific information with certain authorizations. If you fail to make the proper notice you have waived your UIM claim.
Some have referred to this entire area of the law as a mine field. This means if you are the injured party you could get injured a second time when you accidentally fail to make a proper claim, fail to make a timely claim, or unintentionally waive the claim. Keep in mind this is all information that the insurance adjuster is not required to tell you. This is only one of many reasons you really need an advocate on your side, to maximize your recovery.