What is UM/UIM Insurance?

The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that 11.7 percent of drivers in Louisiana are uninsured, meaning that there is a roughly one in 10 chance that the person you are involved in a motor vehicle accident with will have the necessary automobile insurance to cover any damages. You always want to contact an experienced New Orleans car accident attorney after any car crash, especially if the other driver was uninsured. 


While Louisiana does not require drivers to maintain uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, it does require insurers to include uninsured motorist coverage in insurance packages unless the coverage is explicitly rejected in writing by the buyer. While UM and UIM are optional, they are often recommended for your own protection and you should still seek the help of a lawyer when dealing with a UM or UIM claim, even when you did have either form of coverage.


Defining UM and UIM Coverage

Uninsured motorist or UM claims arise in Louisiana car accidents when at-fault drivers have no coverage or cannot be identified, such as when an at-fault motorist flees the scene of a crash (commonly known as a hit and run). A Louisiana State Police (LSP) crash report should contain the name, address, and driver’s license or permit number of all drivers involved, registration numbers and license plate numbers of any vehicles involved, and all relevant insurance information for all of the drivers involved.


Underinsured motorist or UIM claims arise in Louisiana crashes when the at-fault motorist does not have a sufficient amount of insurance coverage. This may mean that the injuries or damages from an accident are more than the amount of coverage available, and a UIM claim could be filed to pursue the damages that may include medical bills, pain and suffering, or other damages that cannot be recovered from the at-fault motorist.


UM and UIM Claims

While you might believe that simply having UM or UIM insurance will be sufficient in ensuring you can recover all of the money you need and deserve, you really should not place that much faith in an insurance company, even your own. In an uninsured motorist scenario, there will be a conflict of interest between you and the insurance company, making legal representation critical.


The result for many people can be exceptional challenges just in getting approval for basic claims. The entire process can be extremely distressing for individuals who have been paying monthly premiums on time and being good customers, but insurers often take adversarial roles because they are always trying to limit expenditures for their companies.


One of the most common reasons insurance companies reject claims is because of missed deadlines, which makes it critical for you to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. If you delay too long, you could end up forfeiting your right to recover any compensation.


Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a New Orleans Car Accident Attorney

Have you been involved in a car crash caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver in the greater New Orleans area? Egenberg Trial Lawyers can work to help you recover all of the financial compensation that you are entitled to.


Our firm can immediately step in and take control of your case so you will not have to worry about dealing with any insurance company or negotiating a settlement on your own. You can call (504) 229-3117 or contact us online for a free consultation that will allow us to take a long look at the details of your case and provide advice about what you can do next to take the steps toward a complete recovery.

4 Car Insurance Tactics Designed to Get you to Settle for Less

Insurance companies have numerous time-honored tricks that you can expect anytime that you are dealing with them. These companies are for-profit businesses, and their goal is to earn as much money as they can. The less they pay out in settlements, the more of their premiums they can keep invested in the stock market and earning money. Here are some of the things that they can do to make your life more difficult, to wear you down, and take their low offer.


Dragging Out Your Claim

Insurance companies know that you are in a desperate financial situation in the aftermath of the accident. They have the one thing that you need; money. They will try to make it as hard as possible for you to get it. The longer they can drag out your claims process, the more of a tough situation that you will face because your bills are coming due. This could make you more likely to settle at a point where the insurance company is offering less than you deserve.

They may take more time to review your claim and handle your case more slowly. They could sit on your demand letter before giving you a response. An insurance company may even request more and more documentation, so they can lengthen the process. They know that you may be missing work with bill collectors calling you, and they try to take full advantage of it. They are in no hurry when you are because you need money. There is definitely a disparity in bargaining positions, and they try to take full advantage of it because time is on their side far more than yours.


Making Initial Low Offers

One of the ways that an insurance company hurts you is by starting very low on their settlement offers. This means that you will need to exchange multiple rounds of figures before you even get into the right ballpark for settlement. By that time, your financial situation may become far worse, and you will grow increasingly desperate.

You can never assume that you are going to get an initial offer from the insurance company that is worth anywhere near the value of your claim. They view this as a negotiation, and they never make their best offer first. Their initial very low offer may be psychologically conditioning you to view getting even slightly more money as a big victory that you will rush to claim. When they appear to begrudgingly concede to pay you more, they really know that they have far more room than that. In the meantime, the insurance company would be figuratively laughing all the way to the bank. This is all part of a negotiation game that they play. Having an attorney would make you wise to this tactic because lawyers see it all the time.


Taking Advantage of Better Information

The truth is that insurance companies know the value of your claim down to the exact dollar. They have armies of adjusters and statisticians that study claims from both your area and across the country. They are betting on the fact that you do not know the true worth of your claim and that you will settle for less. In many cases, they win that bet because some claimants do not take their own steps to get better information. You cannot effectively negotiate with someone else who has far superior information because they will take advantage of it every time.

The way that you can level the playing field is to hire an attorney who also knows the value of your claim. Lawyers work with car accident claims every day, and they can properly value all of the elements. This way, when the insurance company is trying to make you a low offer, your lawyer will be able to tell you that the offer does not fully compensate you and recommend an amount with which you can counter.


Try to Undercut Your Claim

Insurance companies will try to get any information from you that they can to use against you. This includes things that could undercut the merits of your claim (on liability) and the damages that you have suffered.

The first thing that they will try is to try to catch you saying something that contradicts your own story. For example, they may try to call you and get you to make admissions about the accident. This could cut your recovery by putting you in a position where you are judged contributorily negligent. All it takes is one question that catches you unaware, and they have information on the record that they can use. Insurance companies are known for taking simple information out of context to get out of paying.

Then, they may try to gather information that could contradict your claim for damages. This may include checking your social media to see if there are any posts that tell a different story than you. They may even call you and ask you how you are doing. If the answer is “fine,” they could dispute your lost wages and pain and suffering claims. They are looking for any arguments that they can make that your damages are less than claimed as an excuse to pay you less.


Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a New Orleans Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, do not fall prey to the insurance company and its games. You can hire someone to fight on your behalf against these businesses that seek to deny your legal rights. Contact the experienced attorneys at Egenburg Trial Lawyers online or call us at (504) 229-5700 to schedule your free initial consultation. We have a track record of delivering results for injured clients who depend on their accident compensation. Without an aggressive attorney on your side, you could end up settling your case for far less than it is worth, if you are even able to receive a settlement at all.