Philadelphia Uninsured Motorist Claims Attorney
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lawyers Representing Accident Victims In Uninsured Motorist Cases
The Pennsylvania and New Jersey uninsured motorist insurance lawyers at The Levin Firm realize that being in an auto accident is stressful enough. Unfortunately, these cases can become even more stressful when people find themselves involved in accidents with uninsured drivers who do not carry any insurance. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may be able to recover compensation through your own insurance company, as long as your policy includes uninsured motorist insurance protection.
Time may be of the essence in your case. The uninsured motorist insurance lawyers at the Pennsylvania and New Jersey law firm of The Levin Firm tell all of their uninsured motorist accident clients that many insurance companies require you to file your claim within a matter of weeks, so consult an attorney as soon as possible to protect all of your legal rights.
How Uninsured Motorist Claims Work
Uninsured motorist cases start with proving that the other motorist either has no insurance or cannot be identified. This is especially true in motor vehicle accidents cases involving a hit-and-run. In addition, you must prove that the other driver was at fault. You must also prove how much the accident cost you. At The Levin Firm, we will conduct a thorough investigation into all of these matters to ensure that you recover compensation for all of the money to which you are entitled through your uninsured motorist claim.
Uninsured motorist (UM) cases are tried depending upon your insurance policy. While some uninsured motorist cases are held in a regular courtroom before your local court of common pleas, most uninsured motorist cases are not tried in court. Rather, they take place before a panel of three arbitrators: one chosen by the insurance company, one chosen by your attorney on your behalf, and a third chosen by the other two arbitrators. The attorneys at The Levin Firm have worked with many arbitrators throughout their legal careers and know how to pick the best arbitrator for your particular case. The three arbitrators listen to the evidence presented in your case and collectively reach a decision based upon that evidence.
Underinsured Motorist Claims
Claims asserted against the at-fault driver in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey motor vehicle accident case are called third-party claims. On the other hand, claims for uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits are typically referred to as first-party claims. Injured plaintiffs routinely bring these claims after car accidents. In first-party claims, injured car accident victims essentially bring claims—or file lawsuits—against their own insurance companies. Thus, the accident victim’s own insurance company is a defendant in the lawsuit, and the lawsuit is based upon a breach of contract rather than upon negligence.
Underinsured motorist coverage may apply in cases where the costs of the accident victim’s medical treatments, injuries, and damages exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits. In that case, the at-fault driver is deemed “underinsured.”
To make an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim against your own insurance company, you must first exhaust all other applicable insurance policies. For example, if the driver who caused your accident had a $30,000 liability insurance policy and you, the injured accident victim, have a UM/UIM insurance policy with a policy limit of $100,000, then you must first exhaust the$30,000 liability policy before turning to your $100,000 UM/UIM policy.
Insurance companies have many reasons for undervaluing insurance claims and for refusing to pay or defend claims. The most likely reason for this action by the insurance company is to simply keep its money. Insurance companies, generally speaking, want to pay out as little as possible. By keeping as much of their money in-house as possible, the insurance companies become even wealthier than they already are and have more money to distribute to their shareholders.
First-Party Bad Faith Claims Against Insurance Companies
A legal contract, such as an insurance policy, contains terms and conditions by which each side agrees to abide. When an individual or entity signs up for insurance coverage and signs the policy, the purpose of this coverage is to provide compensation in unexpected situations, including serious car accidents.
The common law basis for a first-party bad faith insurance claim is breach of contract. In other words, in a first party bad faith claim, the covered individual—or the injured car accident victim—alleges that the insurance company violated the insurance policy’s covenant of good faith and fair dealings when it denied coverage, refused to pay an insurance claim, or paid out less than it should have. State law also allows a claim for bad faith insurance practices.
In some circumstances—where your insurance company refuses to pay or defend a claim in bad faith, or if your insurance company unreasonably delays payment on a claim—you may have a cause of action directly against your insurance company over and above the insurance policy limits. Thus, there are no real limits on a bad faith insurance claim, even in cases where the claim’s value exceeds the UM or UIM policy’s maximum limits of liability.
If you feel that you have a bad-faith insurance claim emanating from the injuries and damages you sustained in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey car accident, the knowledgeable lawyers at The Levin Firm may assist you with your case. Our experienced lawyers are familiar with the arguments commonly raised by insurance adjusters when they deny claims or refuse to pay or defend them. Our experienced lawyers can review the facts and circumstances of your case and may challenge an insurance adjuster’s decision in your case.
Assessing Good Faith And Bad Faith When It Comes To Uninsured And Underinsured Motorist Claims
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can range from as little as $30,000 to millions of dollars. In virtually every car accident case, your insurance company has an implied duty to do the following when presented with a UM or UIM claim covered by your policy:
- Evaluate your claim in a fair and honest manner
- Settle any claims that have been filed if it can be done within the available coverage limits of the policy
- In an uninsured or underinsured motorist case, bad faith on the part of your insurance company may include one or more of the following:
- Denying a claim outright—or failing to pay or settle a claim that clearly falls within the insurance policy’s applicable limits
- Failing to assert a reasonable basis for denying or limiting coverage in a motor vehicle accident case
- Failing to take prompt action to investigate a claim for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage or benefits
- Failing to properly investigate or a defend a claim for insurance coverage
- Failing to provide a valid reason or justification for denying an insurance claim
- Using deceptive insurance practices when denying an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim
- Misrepresenting the terms of coverage or engaging in other misrepresentations, for the sole purpose of wrongfully denying an insurance claim
- Improperly undervaluing an insurance claim
- Offering a disproportionately low amount of money to settle an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, which is insufficient to compensate an accident victim for the personal injuries and damages sustained in the car accident
Contact A Pennsylvania Or New Jersey Uninsured Motorist Claim Lawyer Today For A Free Initial Consultation And Case Evaluation
Insurance companies improperly deny and refuse to pay valid insurance claims all the time. When this happens, you need experienced legal representation throughout your case.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist cases are complex and require attorneys who understand how to aggressively represent their clients. At The Levin Firm, our Pennsylvania and New Jersey personal injury attorneys investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.
When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member, or friend with an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, call The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183 or contact us online. We represent every client zealously to obtain the best results possible in each case.