Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Attorneys in Las Vegas, Nevada
Posted by: Mark Albright on Thu, May 02, 2013Share this post
While being involved in an auto accident caused by another driver is difficult, being the victim in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist can and often will add a layer of complexity and grief to your claim experience. However, it is important to know that victims of auto accidents caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver may be able to be compensated by their own insurance company if they have purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). An insurance carrier in the State of Nevada must offer you UM/UIM coverage equal to the amount of your liability coverage. If they do not, and you are involved in a non-at-fault accident, they must provide you with UM/UIM coverage up to the amount of your bodily injury liability limit.
Some injuries are so severe, the other driver’s insurance is not enough to cover all of your losses because of the accident. Even though underinsured driver insurance isn’t required by law, it is still available with most policies and will help cover costs associated with your medical bills, lost wages, or repair costs in the event of an auto accident with an underinsured or uninsured motorist.
In other words, even when the other motorist does have insurance, it is often not enough to pay for exorbitant medical bills and other costs and losses associated with a serious or catastrophic injury, such as a head and brain injury, an orthopedic injury, a spinal cord injury or a burn. Motorcyclists, for example, often carry lower insurance than other drivers do, and when they cause accidents, serious injuries can cause great hardship to occupants of the other vehicle. That is why you purchase uninsured coverage and underinsured coverage.
What if you are injured by an Uninsured Driver?
Many drivers in Nevada do not carry the $15,000/$30,000 minimum amount of auto insurance. Alarmingly, some drivers simply choose not to carry any insurance at all. What do you do if you are injured in an auto accident caused by an underinsured or uninsured motorist? You should call Albright Stoddard Warnick & Albright to discuss all of your available options. According to most sources, approximately 10% to 12% of Nevada motorists are uninsured. The majority of Nevada motorists carry low limits of bodily injury coverage. You can protect yourself from the losses and costs associated with injuries caused by other motorists by purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of your automobile insurance policy. This coverage is commonly known as UM/UIM coverage.
Free Consultation ▪ No Attorney Fees Unless You Win
We are the Las Vegas Uninsured and Underinsured Attorneys. For more than four decades, our firm has been helping car accident injury victims fight for a fair settlement or jury award, including from their own insurance policies. If you have been in an accident, you should bring us a copy of your policy and declaration page. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, if you acquired it, may provide you with compensation in the event an uninsured driver injures you. Additionally, it can help you pay medical bills if you are severely injured and the other driver has less coverage than you do or no coverage at all.
If you or a close family member suffered injuries in a traffic accident and the other motorist does not have adequate insurance, you will greatly benefit from the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Even if you have UIM coverage, it does not mean it will be as easy to recover your claim. It doesn’t seem fair, but your own insurance company may treat you as a hostile claimant when you need to file a UIM claim. Unfortunately, many companies will fight just as hard against paying their own policyholder a fair settlement on a UIM claim as they will against a third party.
Remember that your insurance company does not retain counsel under your IM/UIM coverage for you when you file suit against them on a UM/UIM coverage dispute.
Insurance Policy Language
Bodily injury liability coverage is designated on your auto policy by numbers which indicate the limits of your coverage. Typically, these numbers are $15,000/$30,000, $25,000/$50,000, $50,000/$100,000, etc. Sometimes the coverage is abbreviated as 15/30, 25/50, 50/100, etc. (Some policies have single limit bodily injury (BI) coverage with limits of $300,000, or $500,000 or $1,000,000.)
The first number represents the “per person” liability limits of your coverage. In other words, if you have 15/30 liability bodily injury coverage, an injured person can receive a maximum of $15,000, even if their damages greatly exceed $15,000.
The second number is the “per accident” limits. This is the amount that your insurance company will pay for any one accident, no matter how many individuals are injured. For example, if you have a 15/30 liability policy, and three (3) people are injured and their claims are worth $10,000 each, your insurance company will pay out $30,000 on these claims. If each of the three (3) individuals injured have damages in excess of $10,000 each, your auto insurance will still only pay a maximum of $30,000. In a single limits BI coverage policy, the maximum paid “per accident” is the amount of the policy limits.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Accidents Lawyer in Clark County, Nevada
Contact us at 702-384-7111 to discuss your accident, the injuries involved, and the insurance coverage which may be available to help compensate you for your injuries. We offer a free consultation and handle all uninsured and underinsured driver claims on a contingency fee basis. This means that if we can’t help you recover money damages, you pay no attorney’s fees. There are also other types of insurance, such as umbrella coverage, which may apply in accident cases. During your free initial consultation, our attorneys will review your insurance policies and help maximize any and all coverage available to you. Increasing your own insurance coverage with your agent before an accident occurs, including your liability coverage, is the best way to ensure that you are fully protected in the event of an accident causing serious injuries.
Stacking of Insurance Policies
If you own more than one vehicle that is insured with UM/UIM coverage, it is possible you may be able to stack the multiple coverages, but it is unlikely. Generally speaking, most insurance companies in Nevada comply with the requirements of NRS 687B.145 and avoid stacking of UM/UIM coverage by expressly providing in their insurance policies exclusionary language which is clear, and predominately displayed, as required by law. They also reduce your premium as a third requirement to prevent stacking of UM/UIM coverage.
Although some carriers do allow stacking, you will likely pay a slightly higher premium for such stacked coverage. However, in the event you have two (2) vehicles insured with 50/100 UM/UIM coverage, you can, if necessary, stack this coverage, and the end result is 100/200 UM/UIM coverage.
An insurance carrier in the State of Nevada must offer you UM/UIM coverage equal to the amount of your liability coverage. If they do not, and you are involved in a non-at-fault accident, they must provide UM/UIM coverage up to your bodily injury liability limit.
Remember that UM/UIM is fault-based coverage. If the other driver is not at fault for the accident, UM/UIM coverage does not apply.
Another point on UM/UIM coverage is that Nevada Requires physical contact between your vehicle and another vehicle for your UM/UIM coverage to apply. If you try to avoid another vehicle and go off of the road and hit a light pole, UM/UIM coverage won’t be applicable because you did not have physical contact with another vehicle. The rationale for the physical contact requirement is to prevent fraudulent claims.
If you are in an accident with someone who has little or no coverage, don’t give up! We will explore with you every possible avenue to collect damages, including your own policies of insurance. Call us today! We represent clients in all types of injury and wrongful death claims involving an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy, including:
- Car accidents
- Hit and run accidents
- Pedestrian and bike accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- ATV, boat and recreational vehicle accidents
If you were injured because of someone else’s negligence, you have a right to fight for full and fair compensation, even from your own insurance company. Let us help you file a claim against your own policy. Contact one of our experienced attorney’s today! Call 702-384-7111.
About the Authors: The law firm of Albright, Stoddard, Warnick & Albright is an A-V Rated Nevada-based full-service law firm having attorneys licensed in Nevada, California and Utah. Our firm’s practice includes a strong emphasis on personal injury accidents. Call us at 702-384-7111.
Note: This article, and any other information you obtain at this website, is not offered as legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as such, nor is it a solicitation for legal services. Only a licensed attorney can advise you with respect to your specific legal needs. We welcome your contacting our firm to discuss such representation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.