FINDING ALL POSSIBLE INSURANCE COVERAGE AFTER PERSONAL INJURY

FINDING ALL POSSIBLE INSURANCE COVERAGE AFTER PERSONAL INJURY


 
         After an accident involving personal injury and resulting damages, it's critical to determine all possible insurance coverage.  A personal injury lawyer is usually able to look beyond what most non-lawyers know about coverage, but anyone who has been hurt should know the basics of finding coverage.  It's relatively easy in the situation a liable party causes injury and has a policy with high enough limits to pay damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain/suffering.  The tougher situation is when parties either don't have enough coverage, or in some cases neither the liable party has coverage and the hurt party doesn't have uninsured motorist coverage. These unique situations are the focus of this article.
 
        When a liable party causes a great deal of damage, but only maintains minimum limits (in South Carolina that is $25,000.00), the harmed party must look beyond the liable party's coverage.  The first place to look is the underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage available by the party with high damages.  These limits will usually be at the level of the liability limits if available.  Therefore, if a party has $25,000.00 in liability coverage the UIM coverage will be $25K.  If the damages are beyond the UIM coverage, the other potential coverage is in "stacking" UIM policies for other vehicles under the harmed parties' policy.  That allows for that additional coverage as needed.  Yes, the liable party can be sued for an amount beyond their coverage, but attempting to satisfy damages beyond coverage becomes very difficult and time-consuming.  The old saying "you can't squeeze blood from a turnip" applies in many cases, and remember there is no debtor's prison.  
 
        The same principle of coverage applies when the other driver is uninsured.  Instead of UIM coverage, it is uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, with the same ability to stack policies to satisfy damages.  Again, must better to go after insurance policies available then attempting to "squeeze blood from a turnip".
 
         The other situation that can create the need for alternative insurance coverage is in the event of an accident involving an uninsured driver and the harmed party does not have personal policy coverage (or declined UM/UIM coverage).  Another potential coverage may exist as the only alternative to having no coverage available.  If the person is a "resident relative", living in the same house with a direct family relative (like father/mother or spouse or children), and the relative has UM/UIM policy coverage, that harmed party could be covered.  The insurance company for the policy allowing coverage for a resident relative will likely conduct an investigation to ensure the relatives did live together at the time of the accident, and proof will be required.  Assuming the insurance company accepts the resident relative status, then the coverage is available to the limits of the UM/UIM policy.
 
        Again, a personal injury lawyer will be looking for these alternative types of coverage, but it's still important for everyone to understand what is available to cover damages.  It could make all the difference in the world for yourself, or more importantly for those you love.
 
Bill
 

FINDING ALL POSSIBLE INSURANCE COVERAGE AFTER PERSONAL INJURY

 
         After an accident involving personal injury and resulting damages, it's critical to determine all possible insurance coverage.  A personal injury lawyer is usually able to look beyond what most non-lawyers know about coverage, but anyone who has been hurt should know the basics of finding coverage.  It's relatively easy in the situation a liable party causes injury and has a policy with high enough limits to pay damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain/suffering.  The tougher situation is when parties either don't have enough coverage, or in some cases neither the liable party has coverage and the hurt party doesn't have uninsured motorist coverage. These unique situations are the focus of this article.
 
        When a liable party causes a great deal of damage, but only maintains minimum limits (in South Carolina that is $25,000.00), the harmed party must look beyond the liable party's coverage.  The first place to look is the underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage available by the party with high damages.  These limits will usually be at the level of the liability limits if available.  Therefore, if a party has $25,000.00 in liability coverage the UIM coverage will be $25K.  If the damages are beyond the UIM coverage, the other potential coverage is in "stacking" UIM policies for other vehicles under the harmed parties' policy.  That allows for that additional coverage as needed.  Yes, the liable party can be sued for an amount beyond their coverage, but attempting to satisfy damages beyond coverage becomes very difficult and time-consuming.  The old saying "you can't squeeze blood from a turnip" applies in many cases, and remember there is no debtor's prison.  
 
        The same principle of coverage applies when the other driver is uninsured.  Instead of UIM coverage, it is uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, with the same ability to stack policies to satisfy damages.  Again, must better to go after insurance policies available then attempting to "squeeze blood from a turnip".
 
         The other situation that can create the need for alternative insurance coverage is in the event of an accident involving an uninsured driver and the harmed party does not have personal policy coverage (or declined UM/UIM coverage).  Another potential coverage may exist as the only alternative to having no coverage available.  If the person is a "resident relative", living in the same house with a direct family relative (like father/mother or spouse or children), and the relative has UM/UIM policy coverage, that harmed party could be covered.  The insurance company for the policy allowing coverage for a resident relative will likely conduct an investigation to ensure the relatives did live together at the time of the accident, and proof will be required.  Assuming the insurance company accepts the resident relative status, then the coverage is available to the limits of the UM/UIM policy.
 
        Again, a personal injury lawyer will be looking for these alternative types of coverage, but it's still important for everyone to understand what is available to cover damages.  It could make all the difference in the world for yourself, or more importantly for those you love.
 
Bill
 

Bill Connor Orangeburg Attorney Bill Connor received his Bachelor of Arts from The Citadel in 1990, and after serving for over a decade as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army, including three deployments to the Middle East, he received his Juris Doctorate from The University of South Carolina in 2005. In 2012, Bill was honored to receive an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, the top peer rating for American lawyers. Receiving this rating at such an early point in his career is unheard of among lawyers.

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The Bill Connor Law Firm

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