We’ve all heard of cases where someone has gotten into an accident, and the other person didn’t have insurance or had too little insurance to cover the damages. This can be devastating to those who are injured as the watch their bills pile up and their paychecks get smaller as they miss time from work.
This is where uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) comes into play. The provision is added to a person’s auto insurance and will pay them compensation for their financial losses that come from an auto accident if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or has too little insurance to cover the losses.
Cyclists and UM/UIM
Many times, cyclists are injured by a car where the driver doesn’t have insurance or maybe has fled the scene and their identity is unknown. When this happens, cyclists are sometimes unaware that they can use the UM/UIM on their own insurance policy—if they have it.
In some states, UM/UIM is required to be in every policy, but in Pennsylvania it’s not mandatory. The law only requires a person to have a minimum of $15,000 bodily injury/$30,00 for two or more persons injured and $5,000 in property damage. These are vey low minimums with today’s high health-care costs leaving many people to foot the bill not paid for by the insurance coverage.
What Triggers UM/UIM Coverage?
First, the injuries must have come from an auto accident, and cyclists often think that this doesn’t include them as they are on their bike. However, the requirement is met so long as a car was involved in the accident, and there is no requirement that both sides of the accident were operating automobiles.
Second, the at-fault driver must have no insurance or too little insurance to cover the damages. It works like this: if a cyclist is hit by a car and the cyclist has their own car insurance, if the driver doesn’t have any insurance, then the cyclist can use his or her own policy.
But let’s say the driver has the minimum insurance and damages total $50,000. Since a minimum policy in Pennsylvania is $15,000 for one person injured, this leaves a deficit of $35,000 that the cyclist can collect under their UM/UIM provision of their policy.
Do I need an Attorney?
All of this sounds great, but it can get complicated in a hurry. One trick the insurance company will use is to tell you that they will just pay the cap amount on their client’s insurance policy but require you to sign a release potentially ending your claim against the driver. Then when you go to your own insurance, that release may be used to deny you from collecting under your UM/UIM coverage.
The best thing to do is to talk to an attorney who knows the tricks of the insurance company and can help you successfully get the compensation you deserve under the law. Call The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. at (215) 557-6868 or text at 215 880 6164, and start getting someone in your corner. You can also contact us online by clicking here.