Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Car Accidents in West Virginia
If you’ve been hurt in a crash caused by driver who had no insurance or not enough, you need serious help from a serious car accident lawyer like Jim Leach. We can help you understand your right to benefits under your auto insurance policy, which likely provides uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.
Maybe you just need some advice about how to get the compensation you deserve. If that’s the case, we will gladly review your case and provide you the information you need – for free. On the other hand, if your case requires assistance from a lawyer, we are prepared to put our experience, resources and persistence to work for you.
If you have a serious case, here are some reasons why you need a serious lawyer like Jim Leach:
- Our legal team has years of experience and we have developed a reputation for assertive legal representation.
- The insurance companies know that we aren’t afraid of the courtroom, which puts us in a better position to negotiate a positive outcome in the conference room.
- We won’t take your case unless we believe we can help you achieve a better outcome than you could on your own.
- We provide exceptional client service and constant updates on your case’s status.
- Our firm has an advanced case-management system that keeps your case moving forward from beginning to end, which makes a successful resolution more likely.
Find out now how Jim Leach Attorneys at Law can help you get any benefits you may be entitled to under your auto policy’s UM/UIM coverage. There is no charge to talk to Jim about your case, and we accept no attorney’s fees unless and until we recover compensation for you.
What is UM/UIM Coverage and How Does it Work?
If you are in a car accident with another driver and they are at fault, the other driver’s liability insurance should pay for the resulting expenses. However, if the driver at fault has no insurance, too little insurance or is a hit-and-run driver, what can you do? UM/UIM coverage is intended to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and other costs when the party responsible for the accident is uninsured, underinsured or fails to stop at the accident scene.
Although all drivers are required by law to have car insurance under West Virginia’s Compulsory Insurance Law, some drivers remain uninsured or have inadequate insurance for covering the costs of an accident. Without UIM/UM insurance, you may not have the compensation you need to cover the costs of an accident.
West Virginia law requires that UM/UIM coverage be provided by your insurance provider as part of your insurance policy in order to protect you and give you the resources you need if you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured at-fault driver, and the law includes minimum coverage amounts for bodily injury and property damage.
If you are involved in an accident and the other party flees the scene of the accident – called a hit-and-run accident – that is something that should normally be covered by your insurance policy’s uninsured motorist (UM) coverage for bodily injury or property damage.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, make a note of as much information as you can to track down the responsible party, such as a description of the other car and driver, license plate number, information from any eyewitnesses, contact numbers for those witnesses, etc. Also make a note the sequence of events in the accident, and which direction the other vehicle fled. If emergency services have not already been called, call the police and have them file a report.
If your insurance company is not able to locate the responsible party, the damages should be covered under your UM/UIM coverage.
What If the At-Fault Driver Has Too Little Coverage?
If the driver responsible for the accident has liability insurance or minimum coverage but does not have enough coverage required to cover the damage you suffered in the accident, that falls under underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. In that case, you can file a claim with your insurance company, who should pay you the difference between the other party’s insurance limits and the limits of your UIM coverage.
Disputes with Your Insurance Provider Over UM/UIM
Even if you carry UM/UIM coverage, your insurance company may still try to minimize the amount of compensation they pay out to you, or even reject your claim entirely based on an alleged technicality. Remember that the insurance company is looking out for its best interests – not yours. The insurer’s goal is to protect its profits by paying out as little as possible on any claim.
Jim Leach is an experienced car accident attorney in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and can help you file an effective UM/UIM claim or challenge a rejected claim. We will fight tirelessly until you receive the full amount of compensation you need to recover from your losses. Jim Leach is not afraid of the courtroom and is willing to do what is necessary to get results for clients.
If your insurance company wrongfully rejects your UIM/UM claim, you have options. One option would be taking the issue to negotiations or mediation with the insurance company, which is an option that does not involve going to court but is often very successful. Another option is taking the insurance company to court, which is sometimes necessary in order to get the compensation you need for the damages you suffer as a result of the accident.
The cases are often referred to as “bad faith” claims, because an insurance company that wrongfully rejects a valid claim is considered to have acted in bad faith.
West Virginia Minimum Coverage & Why You Need UM/UIM
The state of West Virginia has minimum financial responsibility coverage requirements both for liability insurance and UM/UIM insurance. The minimum coverage required increased as of January 1, 2016. As of that time, the minimum liability policy must include at least:
- $25,000 for property damages
- $25,000 for a single injury or death in a car accident
- $50,000 for two or more injuries or deaths in a car accident
The corresponding UIM/UM limits are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for a bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
If the at-fault driver carried only the bare minimum coverage, their insurance may not compensate you fully after an accident. Medical bills alone often exceed $25,000 for a serious car accident injury, potentially leaving you with no compensation for lost income and other expenses. To protect yourself from this kind of financial crisis, it is important to have vehicle insurance with UM/UIM coverage. This type of coverage is usually quite affordable, even with high limits.
How We Help with UM/UIM Claims
Jim Leach Attorneys at Law helps car accident victims who have experienced a serious injury or loss of a loved one in an auto accident. Jim has years of experience taking on insurance companies and will do what it takes to get you or your loved one the compensation you need to cover your accident expenses by dealing with the insurance company and taking them to court if necessary.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver, call us at (304) 865-8530 or contact us online now for a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. We represent injured victims in Parkersburg and throughout West Virginia and Ohio.