Auto insurance protects consumers against certain automobile-related risks via the promise to pay for financial losses that are caused by these particular risks. The law in South Carolina requires that you not only purchase liability insurance, but also uninsured motorist, or UM, coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage is technically a liability coverage, but it protects the policyholder directly. In the event you are involved in an accident where the other driver is at fault and doesn’t have insurance, your UM coverage will apply. Your own coverage would step in and assume the role of the other party’s carrier.
Although UM is a first-party coverage, your carrier will treat you like a third party presenting a liability claim. They will do a full investigation and may even deny your claim in some instances. This is where you can benefit from the knowledge and skill of a South Carolina car accident attorney. A Rock Hill Car Accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Some victims are concerned about negotiating with their own carrier and are worried that the results of this will affect their policy and claims handling down the line. The truth is, insurance carriers have different departments who handle these types of claims. And, they have a duty to provide the coverage you pay for. If they mishandle a claim or treat you unfairly, they could be held liable in a bad faith claim.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is offered along with uninsured motorist coverage, but you are not obligated to purchase it. UIM differs from an uninsured motorist in that it only kicks in if the at-fault party’s liability insurance limit is not high enough to compensate you for your injuries.
For example, you are only obligated to carry a minimum of $25,000/$50,000 in liability coverage for injuries. $25,000 is for one person/injury while $50,000 is for all parties/injuries. If your injuries are worth more in compensation than the at-fault party possesses in liability coverage, it means you still have an outstanding claim. If you have UIM coverage on your policy, you can open a claim for benefits. Your carrier will investigate and evaluate whether or not you are entitled to additional monies.
Some cases are pretty straight forward. Imagine you have 100K in medical bills and the at-fault party only has 25K in liability coverage. If you have 25K in UIM coverage, your insurance company may just pay out the policy limits without much argument. However, if the total value of your case is much lower or you have high UIM limits, you may be met with what you consider to be a “lowball” offer. Again, this is where the experience of a Rock Hill personal injury lawyer is helpful.
Contact a Rock Hill Personal Injury Attorney
If you have questions on uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in South Carolina or need representation for your pending case, contact the Elrod Pope Law Firm. Call our office at 803-599-3080 to schedule an initial consultation.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.