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Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (“UM/UIM”): A Must For Financial Security Tips From A Personal Injury Attorney

Recently, a client sustained severe injuries in a high-speed head-on collision. The responsible party only had $100,000 in coverage. My client, a 78-year-old married man, sustained a fractured nose, fractured patella, and horrible overall bruising as he was on anti-coagulation therapy. He also suffered enlargement of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Medical bills were about $60,000 as covered by Medicare. Because my client had uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, I secured a very nice settlement for him. Otherwise, he probably would have only received a very small net recovery, my fees, and reimbursement of Medicare. I have been told as high as 70% of Californians are uninsured or have State minimum coverage of $15,000/$30,000 for personal injury claims. Thus, if seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision, you have a 70% chance of not being properly compensated for your injuries. Indeed, most of the cases I handle have injuries valued well in excess of even extremely large automobile personal injury liability coverage. The solution for this danger is to purchase UM/UIM coverage. Most people require the ability to work to manage a household. Even minor automobile collisions can preclude employment for a significant amount of time, interrupting vital income. Next, medical treatment costs and out-of-pocket expense can be extraordinary, too. You can protect against these risks by purchasing UM/UIM coverage. In general, UM/UIM coverage is insurance protection you purchase for the possibility you will be injured by someone with little or no automobile liability coverage. Like all insurance, the cost is based on many variables including your age and amount of coverage desired. UM/UIM coverage issues vary in complexity and are factually dependent. Should you have such a possible claim, you should obtain legal counsel to advise you. Generally, UM/UIM provides a means of recovery for injuries inflicted by people with insufficient insurance. I universally recommend my clients purchase the maximum UM/UIM available. The specifics should be discussed and part of a comprehensive financial plan. In a horrific collision, UM/UIM may be the greatest asset you have. UIM coverage “kicks in” in excess of insurance carried by the responsible party. Thus, if the responsible driver has $100,000 in coverage and UIM is $500,000, the Insured (you, the reader who owns the UIM) is entitled to up to $400,000 in coverage from their automobile insurer. You may also have heard of Third-Party Claims. Unlike claims against a responsible party, in Third-Party claims (where the injured party is a “third party” to the contract of insurance between responsible driver and his/her insurer), a UIM insurer owes its Insured a Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Therefore, if not treated fairly, the Insured could also sue for “Bad Faith” and recover additional funds. Because of this dynamic, insurers are much more realistic in valuing and settling UIM claims than Third Party Claims. I regularly represent victims of automobile collisions to include uninsured and underinsured motorist claims. In addition, I am available for consultation for disputes between Insureds and their insurance companies. Also referred to as coverage disputes and/or “bad faith” claims. I offer free consultations and can be reached at 925-587-9949 or [email protected] or visit In support of COVID-19 safety protocols, virtual face-to-face consultations can be arranged. The Law Office of Michael E. Gatto PC is located at 2540 Camino Diablo, Suite 200 in Walnut Creek. Advertorial This information is intended for general purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Past results not a guarantee of future outcomes. For contingency based cases, if there is no recovery, there is no fee.