13 Apr. 2017

What to Do After an Accident with an Underinsured Driver

Posted By Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C.

Being involved in an auto accident can be an overwhelming experience, especially when you suffer injuries. Thankfully, victims who suffer harm in car wrecks caused by the negligence of another have the legal right to file personal injury lawsuits against the at-fault party and seek financial compensation for their damages, including their medical expenses, lost income from missing work, emotional injuries, and pain and suffering, among other damages.

While the legal pathways to compensation following a preventable accident are in place, they are not easy to navigate – especially when complications arise. In most auto accident cases, personal injury lawsuits are filed against the at-fault party responsible for causing a crash (for example, a driver). Because the law requires a driver to have auto insurance coverage, the lawsuit is often defended by the driver’s insurance provider, as they will be the party on the hook for compensating a victim harmed by their policy holder.

In many car accident cases handled by our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C., we have been able to effectively level the playing field between our clients and the large and powerful insurance companies that want to pay them as little as possible, and fight for the maximum compensation possible. Unfortunately, the maximum compensation possible may not always be enough to meet the needs of injured victims.

If you or someone you love have been injured in a car accident, an underinsured driver can make for added complications and concerns in your personal injury case. Here are few important things you should know:

  • Understand insurance coverage – While personal injury claims are hinged on establishing fault and liability, insurance coverage is also one of the most important elements of a case. In order to recover the compensation you need to cover all of the damages incurred as a result of your injury, the driver who caused your accident needs to have enough insurance coverage. When they do not – such as when drivers only carry minimum insurance policies under law and your damages exceed their coverage policy limits – the driver is considered underinsured and it places you at risk of not recovering the full amount of compensation you need.
  • Your options – Even though an underinsured driver puts you at risk, you may have options to pursue additional compensation through other means, depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident. For example, victims harmed by underinsured motorists may have the option to pursue compensation from another party involved in the wreck, if more than one driver can be found to have contributed to your crash. You may also be able to pursue compensation through product liability if the wreck was caused by the negligence of manufacturer who produced a defective product. Other options for additional compensation may include vicarious liability (which can occur when the crash happened during the scope of the driver’s employment or when a different party owned the vehicle) or dram shop liability (which occurs when a business or individual over serves a visibly intoxicated person who later injures someone as a result of their compensation. Dram shop liability typically applies to cases involving drunk driving accidents. There may also be other avenues for pursuing compensation based on the facts surrounding the accident, and a lawyer can help you evaluate any possible sources of compensation based on your unique case.
  • UIM coverage – If you have underinsured / uninsured motorist coverage as part of your insurance policy, you can make up for an at-fault driver’s lack of insurance coverage by filing a claim with your own insurance company under your UIM coverage. Doing so can allow you to recover the difference between the at-fault motorist’s policy limits and your UIM policy limits. It is important to note that not everyone has this coverage, however, and you should review your policy and consider purchasing this additional coverage if you do not. It can make all the difference when you are involved in a wreck with an underinsured driver, or even a driver who has no insurance whatsoever.
  • Speak with a lawyer – The best thing you can do after being injured in a car wreck, especially one involve insurance coverage issues, is to bring your case to the attention of an experienced personal injury lawyer. At Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C., our attorneys work diligently to look beyond the driver’s seat for all possible options for additional compensation, and will pursue the maximum compensation possible from any and all parties. By delivering personalized attention and closely reviewing all facts surrounding an accident, we can search for any possible sources of additional compensation, and pursue them zealously when they are available.

Accidents involving underinsured drivers can be frightening and difficult legal battles, but they can be effectively handled in certain situations and with the help of seasoned attorneys. However, every case is unique and underinsured driver cases demand the attention and personalized review of an attorney. Due to the difficult nature of these cases, it also becomes important to reach out for legal assistance as soon as possible after your wreck.

If you have questions about your legal rights, insurance coverage, and an accident involving an underinsured driver anywhere in Eastern Pennsylvania, our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C. are available to help. We have recovered millions in compensation for the injured and the wronged, and are prepared to leverage our extensive experience in your case. Contact us today for a FREE consultation.

Categories: Car Accidents
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