Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Arbitration
In some car accidents, the at-fault driver does not have adequate insurance coverage to compensate the accident victim for his or her injuries. When that is the case, the accident victim’s own motor vehicle insurance carrier might step in to place and provide the necessary monetary coverage and compensation. This is done by way of an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim. These claims sometimes settle out of court. However, when they need to be litigated in the court system, they could be resolved by way of an arbitration proceeding.
If you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident that resulted from another driver’s negligence, an Orange County car accident attorney can assist you with your case. Your lawyer will be able to determine which insurance carrier or coverage will come into play and can help you file a claim that seeks monetary compensation on your behalf.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage steps into play when an at-fault driver is uninsured. Even though California motor vehicle operators are supposed to maintain insurance coverage on their vehicles, that, unfortunately, does not always happen. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance coverage, then the accident victim could turn to his or her own insurance company and file an uninsured motorist claim. The accident victim’s insurer would then step into the shoes of the at-fault driver and provide the necessary coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage may also apply in a phantom vehicle accident case. A phantom vehicle accident occurs when the at-fault driver flees the scene of the collision and does not stop to exchange contact or insurance information with the other drivers.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Accident victims can file an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim with his/her insurance company when the at-fault driver does not have adequate insurance coverage in place. This typically happens when the accident victim’s medical bills and other damages exceed the limits of insurance coverage provided by the at-fault driver’s insurer. After exhausting the full limits of the at-fault driver’s coverage, the accident victim could look to his or her own insurance company for the difference. This is done by filing an underinsured motorist claim.
The damages that an accident victim could recover in a UM/UIM claim are much the same as in any other motor vehicle accident case. While these cases typically settle out of court, the parties might not be able to agree to an adequate settlement that reasonably compensates the accident victim for his or her injuries and other damages. When that happens, the parties might consider a jury trial or some alternative dispute resolution mechanism, like arbitration.
Binding Arbitration Proceedings
Prior to a binding arbitration proceeding, the parties agree to a high number and a low number. They then present their case and introduce evidence before a neutral, third-party arbitrator who decides the outcome of the case. The arbitrator’s award must equal or fit within the established high and low limits.
In uninsured and underinsured motorist claims, arbitration proceedings are essentially the same as in any other personal injury case. In a UIM case, there may be high and low limits for the liability carrier as well as for the UIM carrier. If the limits of the liability carrier are exhausted, then the remaining funds will come from the UIM carrier.
Binding arbitration is often a good idea in car accident casesM since it guarantees that the accident victim will recover money. It also takes out some of the uncertainty associated with a jury trial.
A knowledgeable California personal injury attorney could help you decide whether binding arbitration might be a good idea for your case. If it is, your lawyer can assist you throughout the process and represent you at the binding arbitration hearing in your case.