When someone hires me to represent them for their car, truck or motorcycle accident, they hire me to recover money to compensate them for medical bills, lost wages and other “damages” caused by the fault of another. In a typical car accident situation for instance, it is not the other person I am fighting as much as it is their insurance company.
But what if the other person has no insurance? What then? In this situation I will investigate whether the at-fault party has assets and/or the financial ability to pay for my client’s damages. In most situations, the at-fault party has no assets or financial ability to pay. Therefore, I will also look to my client’s own insurance policy to determine if they carry Uninsured /Underinsured Motorist Coverage, often referred to as UM or UIM coverage.
This coverage is essentially designed to pay for the same “bodily injury” damages as the at-fault party’s bodily injury liability coverage, had they carried bodily injury coverage. Or, if the other party carries bodily injury coverage but it is insufficient to cover your damages, UM/UIM coverage compensation can be pursued to pay for losses that exceed the other party’s available bodily injury coverage.
Lastly, UM/UIM insurance coverage also covers bodily injury damages caused by someone who flees the scene and is never found, also referred to as a “phantom vehicle”
So when shopping for insurance for your vehicle, make sure you talk to your agent about UM/UIM insurance. It has been my experience that many people do not have a complete understanding of what they need or what they are actually buying. And, it isn’t until after they are injured in an accident that they learn that their insurance choices will either prevent them from being fully compensated for their injuries, or worse yet, prevent them from recovering at all.