Heimanson & Wolf, LLP

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Arbitration

The Coverage

When people purchase automobile insurance policies, they tend to recognize that they are purchasing insurance to protect them in the event they are involved in a car accident and cause an injury to someone else.  Liability coverage is a very important component to an automobile insurance policy.  However, there is another aspect to an auto policy that many people do not appreciate and do not obtain.   That coverage is called uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage also called UM and UIM coverage.

Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage provided protection to you as the policyholder if you are involved in an accident and you are injured as a result of the negligence of the other driver.  For example, assume you are rear ended and you end up herniating a disc in your cervical spine (your neck).  You may need surgery, possibly a discectomy or fusion surgery.  These surgeries can easily exceed $100,000.  In the event that the accident is caused by an uninsured motorist, there may be little you can do to recover against the other driver if that driver has no personal assets and was not in the course and scope of his or her employment at the time.

That is just where uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage picks up.  This coverage pays for all of your damages in the event that some other driver’s negligence was the cause of the accident.  The coverage is there to pay for the medical bills for the surgery, lost wages you may have incurred and even for your pain and suffering.

Recovery on an Uninsured or  Underinsured Motorist Policy

This coverage is there to protect you and your family members who have been injured in a car accident.  Interestingly, it typically applies even if you are a pedestrian hit by a vehicle.  You do not need to be a motorist to recovery on the policy.  However, you will need to prove that the adverse driver caused the accident, and there generally must be some contact with the other driver’s vehicle to trigger the coverage on the UM/UIM policy.  Usually, there would not be coverage if you swerve to avoid an oncoming vehicle and hit a pole.  In that case, there was no contact with the other vehicle.

When a dispute arises over the extent of your injuries and the value of the claim, the claim goes to binding arbitration in a setting known as uninsured and underinsured motorist arbitration.  Both the insured and the insurance company are entitled to conduct discovery, including asking written questions and taking depositions.  However, the process ends in an arbitration hearing before a neutral person known as an arbitrator.  Arbitrators are either retired judges or former attorneys.  The parties present evidence just like they would at trial, but there is no jury that hears the case.  The arbitrator decides all of the issues and renders an award.

Hiring an Experienced Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Arbitration Attorney in Los Angeles

It is critical to have an attorney experienced in handling uninsured and underinsured motorist arbitrations represent you in this arbitration process.  There are quite specific statutes that govern in UM/UIM arbitrations, and it is an important to retain an attorney who understands those statutes.  We at Heimanson & Wolf, LLP are Los Angeles personal injury attorneys who have extensive experience representing clients in uninsured/underinsured motorist arbitrations.   We have obtained large uninsured and underinsured motorist settlements and verdicts for our clients.