What is the value of my uninsured motorist claim?

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The value of your uninsured motorist claim is determined by the severity of your injury and your medical bills

The nature and extent of your injury are major factors in valuing your claim. You must objectively evaluate your injury claim, which starts with understanding the nature of your injury. A short-term minor injury has a modest settlement value, while a severe permanent injury has significant value.

The primary considerations for an uninsured motorist injury payment – pain and suffering:

  • Permanent versus temporary – a permanent injury can double or triple your claim value.
  • Single body part versus multiple body parts – multiple injuries can greatly increase your injury claim value.
  • Disabling versus annoying – an injury that truly disables or limits you increases the claim value.
  • Painful versus annoying – provable pain increases the value of your claim.
  • Disfiguring versus “invisible” – visible injuries such as scarring or burns increase case value.

UM Claim Example

For example, you have a back injury. A back sprain is worth less than a herniated disc. A back sprain is not as painful, disabling, or expensive to treat as a herniated disc and typically heals within months. A typical herniated disc can be excruciatingly painful, with pain shooting down your legs; it can render you bedridden and may take years to heal if it ever heals. The usual back sprain requires modest treatment, and medical bills include an emergency room visit, follow-up with an internist, and physical therapy or chiropractic. A herniated disc will require a visit with a specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon, an MRI or CT Scan, and extensive therapy, injections, and maybe surgery.

  • Your medical expenses (and income loss)

Medical Bills are the Other Big Factor in Evaluating Your Injury Claim

Insurance companies know that an arbitrator will typically compensate for economic damages. Therefore, the insurance adjuster is inclined to include your medical expenses in the settlement offer. Once upon a time, the concept existed that a case should settle for three times the amount of your medical bills. This is no longer true. However, it is still true that insurers will use your medical bills as a primary basis for their offer.

Pain, disability, and disfigurement, the“non-economic damages”

Your pain, disability, and disfigurement should be significant factors in evaluating the worth of your UM claim. How do we evaluate these items? Think about frequency, severity, and effects. For example, was your pain constant or occasional, mild or severe, and something that prohibited you from normal activities, or was it just an annoyance? Be prepared to prove these things to persuade the insurer.

Insurance Payment Not a Priority for Insurers

Insurance companies want to settle claims for the lowest amount possible. Their business strategy is to advertise extensively and then collect insurance premiums. Paying your uninsured motorist claim is not a priority for insurers, as paying claims reduces insurance company profitability.

Know that your claim value evaluation is likely higher than the insurer’s. You will be better able to mentally handle the process if you are prepared for a low offer. We have heard time and time again from clients who were unprepared for the harsh treatment they have received from insurers.

Video: How to Collect an Underinsured Motorist Claim

Where Will Your Case Be Decided?

In Illinois, uninsured driver claims are heard in arbitration if not settled by negotiation. The hearing can be in front of a three-arbitrator panel or front of a single arbitrator. You need to know who is hearing your case. Certain arbitrators tend to be more open-minded about injury case value and awarding damages. Some arbitrators are more conservative or restricted in their view of injury claims. You would do well to know.

Who are You as a Person?

If you look and sound like a believable person who was injured, the arbitrator will be more inclined to award you the proper compensation.  You will be penalized with an insufficient award if you are evasive, shifty, slovenly, or untruthful. Tell the truth. Dress well. Look the arbitrator in the eye. If you had an old back injury aggravated in this incident, you must tell the doctors and the insurance company. If your back healed from the old incident, tell them that, and you will have more credibility. In sum, if you look and sound likable and believable, you increase your chance of obtaining fair compensation for your uninsured motorist claim.

Your Insurance Policy Limits

Your claim may be worth $1,000,000, but if you only purchased $100,000 in uninsured motorist coverage, your maximum recovery is $100,000. In 25 years of handling uninsured driver claims, we have seen far too many clients with inadequate uninsured motorist coverage. Buying a low policy of limits of $20,000 to $100,000 can save money but may end up hurting you if you need medical treatment. An overnight stay at the hospital can cost $20,000. Increased coverage limits do not cost as much as you may think. Many uninsured motorist attorneys and insurance professionals believe people should have at least $500,000 in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

Ask your agent about the costs of increased coverage. Increased coverage is not proportionately more expensive. For example, if a policy with $100,000 in coverage limits costs $1,000 annually, a policy with $250,000 in coverage limits might cost just another $100. In the event of a serious injury with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, that is extremely well-spent protection.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage Settlement Claim

When a negligent driver causes an accident but lacks adequate insurance, underinsured motorist coverage can help bridge the gap between their liability limits and the compensation they deserve. Settling an underinsured motorist claim requires understanding complex insurance regulations and legal nuances.

Our Chicago injury attorneys have decades of experience negotiating maximized settlements from underinsured motorist policies after car accidents. We thoroughly investigate crashes, prove negligence and damages, and leverage every available coverage to get clients fair compensation. We are aggressive yet strategic negotiators, backed by our willingness to take underinsured motorist pain and suffering to trial when needed. Our firm has recovered millions for injury victims by tapping underinsured motorist coverage their own policies provide. Trust us to fight for your full entitlements.

Understanding the Timeline for Settling an Uninsured Motorist Claim

The duration of settling an uninsured motorist claim can vary greatly depending on several factors. Here’s what you need to know about the process and what can affect the timeline:

  1. Initial Claim and Investigation: Once you file an uninsured motorist claim, the insurance company will begin an investigation. This includes reviewing the accident report, medical records, and other relevant documentation. The complexity of your case can affect how long this stage takes.
  2. Negotiation Process: The negotiation process starts if your claim is approved after the investigation. This involves discussions between you (or your attorney) and the insurance company to reach a settlement amount. The clarity of fault can influence the length of negotiations in the accident and the compensation you seek.
  3. Settlement Offer and Acceptance: If negotiations are successful, the insurance company will offer a settlement. You have the right to accept this offer, reject it, or make a counteroffer. The duration of this stage depends on how many rounds of negotiation are needed to reach an agreement satisfactory to both parties.
  4. Legal Factors: If the settlement offered is unsatisfactory, you may decide to take legal action, which can significantly extend the timeline. The court schedule, the complexity of the legal arguments, and the availability of all parties involved can contribute to delays.
  5. Extenuating Circumstances: Each case is unique, and certain circumstances can speed up or slow down the process. These can include the severity of the injuries, the cooperation level of all parties involved, and the specific policies of the insurance company handling the claim.

While some claims can be settled in weeks or months, others may take years, especially if they involve severe injuries or complex legal issues. It’s important to have realistic expectations and to stay in close communication with your attorney, who can provide guidance based on the specifics of your case.

Patience and Persistence: Settling an uninsured motorist claim requires patience and persistence. Working with a knowledgeable attorney can help streamline the process, ensuring that you have the best chance of receiving fair compensation in a timely manner.

If you need assistance or have questions about your uninsured motorist claim, the Blumenshine Law Group is here to provide expert guidance at every step. Contact us for a comprehensive review of your situation and personalized advice on moving forward with your claim.

Scott Blumenshine: A Trailblazer in UM/UIM Law and Advocate for Client Protection

Scott Blumenshine is a distinguished attorney known for his expertise in Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) cases. He has significantly contributed to Illinois’s UM/UIM case law and actively engages in legislative advocacy to enhance client protection. Blumenshine also dedicates himself to legal education, writing articles, and providing Continuing Legal Education (CLE) resources. A respected speaker at CLE seminars, he shares practical advice on UM/UIM cases. His track record includes numerous successful settlements and awards, establishing him as a tenacious advocate in the legal field.

We Can Help You With Your Case

Every case is unique, and your case must be evaluated independently based on the facts of your case and applicable law. I certainly hope the article contains some useful information. If you have questions and are in Illinois, I would gladly take the time to speak with you.

If your insurer is not paying you what you think you deserve, let us review your case. Call or text us at (312) 766-1000 or email us at [email protected], and an uninsured motorist attorney will answer your questions. This is a free, no-obligation consultation.

FAQs

how long does it take to settle an underinsured motorist claim

The time it takes to settle an underinsured motorist claim can vary greatly. Some claims may be settled within weeks or months, while others could take longer, especially if they involve severe injuries or complex legal issues

How does a UIM demand work in uninsured motorist claims?

A UIM demand in the context of an uninsured motorist claim involves formally requesting that your insurance company provide compensation under your UIM coverage. This is part of the negotiation process to settle claims for fair compensation based on your policy limits and the extent of your injuries and damages.

Can you explain the difference between UIM and UM coverage?

UIM (Underinsured Motorist) coverage applies when the at-fault driver has insurance, but it’s insufficient to cover all your damages. On the other hand, UM (Uninsured Motorist) coverage protects you when the at-fault driver has no insurance. Both coverages are crucial for comprehensive protection on the road.

What constitutes a UM claim in the insurance process?

A UM, or Uninsured Motorist, claim is filed when you seek compensation from your own insurance policy under the UM coverage for accidents where the other party is at fault and does not have insurance. It’s a claim for reimbursement from your insurer for injuries and damages for which the other driver is legally liable

In legal terms, UM stands for Uninsured Motorist coverage, part of auto insurance designed to provide payment when the person who caused the accident does not have insurance to cover the damages.

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