UM/UIM Coverage in Multi-Vehicle Accidents

According to a story from WYFF4 News, DUI charges have been filed after a deadly five-car accident in South Carolina.

crashcar.jpgIt has been reported that a pickup truck being driven by the defendant (“Defendant”) hit a sedan that then crashed into three other vehicles. Both the driver and the passenger (husband and wife) of the sedan died from what is being described as blunt force trauma. The husband was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol. He was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene. His wife was taken to a hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

A total of seven people sustained injuries as a result of this tragic accident, including one man who was airlifted to a hospital in Greenville. The driver of the pickup was arrested and charged with two counts of felony DUI with death and is currently in a South Carolina jail.

Our Greenville car accident attorneys understand that, while liability is likely easy to establish in a drunk driving car crash, it is unlikely that the defendant will have enough insurance or assets to fully compensate victims for the total extent of their losses in an accident of this scale.

One of the most important things your attorney can assist you with is identifying all of the sources from which you should seek to recover financially. Obviously, if the at-fault driver has auto insurance, that would the first place to turn. However, it is unlikely that any one driver will have enough coverage.

The next place to turn would be the uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage on your own policy. Even if you have never heard of UM or UIM insurance before reading this, there is a good chance your insurance company sold you this type of coverage. It is designed to compensate you for accidents caused by an at-fault driver who was either uninsured, or had insurance, but not enough to cover the total damage caused. The amount of UM/UIM is normally tied to your level of liability coverage.

One thing that should be noted is that, while you would be dealing with your own insurance company, it doesn’t mean they will treat you like a valued customer and promptly pay out the claim.

Insurance companies are primarily concerned with making as much money as possible. One way they do this is by paying out as little as possible. They maintain separate departments that deal with claims that have no interaction with their sales department. They call this a shielding process.

They will basically treat any customer seeking UM/UIM benefits the same as anyone else who files a claim against one of their insured drivers. Your attorney will have to negotiate with your insurance company in the same manner in which he or she negotiates with an at-fault driver’s insurance company.

On some occasions it may be necessary to file a civil lawsuit in order to collect on a UM/UIM policy. However, the facts of every case are different, and you should speak with your attorney about your particular situation.

Contact the Winston-Salem car accident attorneys at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

DUI charges filed in deadly 5-car crash, August 8, 2014, WYFF4 News
More Blog Entries:

Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. v. MMG Insurance Co.: UM/UIM Coverage for Passengers, August 22, 2014, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

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