Uninsured Motorists/Underinsured Motorists
Unfortunately, in Kansas, many motor vehicle collisions are due to the negligence of a motorist who is uninsured. Kansas laws require every motor vehicle insurance policy to contain coverage, in the event you are injured as a result of a collision with one of these uninsured motorists. YOUR OWN INSURANCE PROVIDES COVERAGE TO YOU IN THE EVENT THE NEGLIGENT MOTORIST HAS NO INSURANCE. Your insurance steps into the shoes of the negligent motorist and pays you for the same damages, as if you were suing the person at fault. Your insurance covers you, in addition to the benefits previously paid by the No Fault Personal Injury Protection benefits, and pays your past and future medical expenses, past and future wage loss and other economic losses, and noneconomic losses, past and future, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, disfigurement, loss of time, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium and loss of spousal services.
Most insurance policies cover not only the named insured in the policy, but also any relative that resides in the insured’s household. You can pick the highest policy of insurance on any vehicle owned by a relative in your household!
Some cases require an investigation into where you “reside”. Residence consists of two elements: 1) where you physically stay, and 2) where you intend your residence to be. As an example, when children leave to go attend school, despite staying at the school, their residence is still with their parents such that the parent’s auto insurance still covers the student for uninsured motorist coverage. Talking to the insurance company prior to talking to an attorney can lead to problems with the residence issue. Filling out insurance forms prior to getting a consultation with an attorney can also lead to problems.
Uninsured motorist coverage covers a negligent motorist that hits you, is identifiable, but fails to maintain insurance. It also covers hit and run collisions, even when the negligent motorist cannot be located or identified. It also covers phantom motor vehicle operators when the negligent motorist never even makes contact with your vehicle, but causes the collision, and leaves the accident scene, as long as there is independent evidence confirming the facts of the collision.
Underinsured motorist coverage works in a similar fashion when the negligent motorist has insurance, but the amount of insurance is insufficient. As long as your coverage, or the coverage through your relative, that you reside with, is higher than the person at fault, you have an underinsured motorist claim against your own insurer, up to your own coverage limits. It is very wise to purchase HIGH UM/UIM coverage through your own policy to protect yourself and your family from negligent motorists with no coverage or little coverage! One of the most common mistakes attorneys make in auto accident cases is to fail to fully investigate the underinsured motorist coverages. If the case is settled with the negligent party’s insurer without following the strict requirements of Kansas laws contained in K.S.A. 40-284(f), the underinsured motorist case can be lost. This law requires the insurance company that provides the underinsured motorist coverage to get a certified letter with both medical and employment authorizations, along with a description of the claim. The insurance company must take action within 60 days or the injured party is free to move forward with the settlement. The insurance company has the option to pay the liability coverage limits, and by doing so, they can go after the negligent motorist personally to recoup their funds. These issues can get complex and an experienced attorney is necessary to handle these cases correctly. Call us and we can help! THE INITIAL CONSULTATION WITH THE TWO BRIANS AT THE ORIGINAL PISTOTNIK LAW OFFICES IS ALWAYS FREE AND WE CHARGE NOTHING UP FRONT. NO RECOVERY, NO CHARGE TO YOUR WHATSOEVER!