Apr 10, 2013

When you purchase automobile insurance, you are purchasing peace of mind and a level of financial security. One type of coverage that everyone should consider carrying is uninsured/underinsuredmotorist (UM/UIM). This coverage gives you the ability to look to your insurance company to compensate you for injuries that are caused by drivers who are uninsured or underinsured. UM/UIM coverage tends to be rather cheap and invaluable if you are hurt by a careless driver.

Recently, I wrote an article that explains the scope and utility of UM/UIM coverage. I wrote this article because I find that many of the potential and current clients I talk to do not have a clear understanding of the purpose and function of UM/UIM coverage. Surprisingly, I also encounter many attorneys who have a difficult time grasping the concept of UM/UIM coverage and the differences between these two related coverages.

Under Colorado law, if you have UM coverage, you automatically have UIM coverage, and vice versa. Nevertheless, there are differences between UM and UIM coverage and this article explains those differences. If your personal injury attorney is not aware of these key differences, it can cost you. So pay attention.

It is important to note that the statute of limitations for a UM claim can differ from a UIM claim. If you are injured by a negligent driver, the statute of limitations is three years. That means that you must settle with the at-fault insurance company who represents the interests of the at-fault driver or file a lawsuit within three years of the collision. If you do not do one or the other, your case goes away and you will never be able to recover for your injuries and damages.

Suppose that the driver who caused the crash only carried an insurance policy with very low liability limits or perhaps no insurance coverage at all. In that case, when must you resolve your claim and against whom?

If the at-fault driver is uninsured, then it is your obligation to file a lawsuit against your own UM insurance provider within 3 years of the day of the auto accident or 2 years from the time you are on notice that the at-fault driver was uninsured, whichever is greater.

If the at-fault driver is underinsured and simply does not have adequate insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries, you must settle your claim or file a lawsuit against your own insurance company for UIM coverage within 2 years of the time you settled or received a judgment against the at-fault driver. Your lawyer must know the complex interplay between bodily injury and underinsured motorist coverage, so that your UIM claim is properly preserved. In some cases, if your lawyer does not properly notify your UIM carrier, you risk losing the benefits to which you are entitled.

At Anderson Hemmat, we know that it is important to understand complex legal issues such as UM/UIM coverage. We also know how to properly preserve these types of claims. Hiring an attorney who does not understand the differences between UM and UIM coverage can potentially cost you if you are making a claim for injuries. If you have been injured in a car crash and you have questions about your UM/UIM coverage and how that coverage can compensate you, please call and speak with one of our attorneys today.


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