The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Thursday, July 21, 2016

New Jersey Woman Prevails in Uninsured Motorist Claim

Do I need uninsured motorist coverage in New Jersey?

In April 2013, a Hackensack woman was seriously injured in an accident at Bergen Community College. While driving a Toyota Rav4 she was rear-ended by an Englewood man who was driving a Honda Accord. The woman's attorneys claimed she suffered permanent damage to her neck and spine, but the driver of the Honda was uninsured.

However, the woman was recently awarded $1.2 million after she filed a lawsuit against her own insurance company, Allstate. The insurer initially offered to settle the claim for $50,000, which the driver made because she had uninsured motorist coverage.

What is uninsured motorist coverage?

In an accident where an insured driver is hit by a uninsured driver who is deemed to be at fault, the insured drive can make a claim against his or her insurance company, provided uninsured motorist coverage is in place. Generally, there are two types of uninsured motorist coverage uninsured motorist bodily injury insurance (UMBI), and uninsured property damage (UMPD).

UMBI will cover injuries to the insured motorist and other occupants in the car, in an accident with an uninsured driver. The amount of benefits is limited to the amount of the personal liability coverage. UMPD will cover damage to the car from an accident involving an uninsured driver who is at fault, but if collision coverage is in place, UMPD may not be needed.

In this case, the driver of the Toyota refused to accept Allstate's original offer and the case went to trial, where the insured motorist was eventually awarded the $1.2 million. This case illustrates how an uninsured claim is similar to a typical car accident insurance claim in that insurers will make a settlement offer for far less than what the claim is worth.

Ultimately, insurance companies do not have the best interests of their insurance clients in mind, and are motivated by profits. Insurers also employ highly-skilled attorneys who give the company an advantage over the injured. If you are injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist who is deemed to be at fault, you should not speak to an accept any offer before you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.

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