In the state of Washington, drivers are required to carry a minimum coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per “occurrence” for bodily injury. Unfortunately, costs associated with injuries resulting from car, truck, or motorcycle accidents often exceed $25,000 when hospitalization, surgery, medical equipment, and lost wages are factored into the equation. When an underinsured driver injures a motorist, the injured party can file a claim with his or her own insurer, depending on the terms of coverage purchased. All too often, however, insurers make it difficult for policyholders to recover damages under the terms of their underinsured coverage: your insurer may claim you were partially at fault, may take an unreasonable amount of time to settle your underinsured motorist claim, or deny your claim altogether. At the Law Office of Scott M. Donaldson, we make sure insurers honor the terms of your policy, and bring legal action against them when they engage in bad faith insurance practices.
If your insurer is unresponsive or has denied your underinsured motorist claim, contact personal injury lawyer Scott M. Donaldson today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.
How does Underinsured Coverage Work? Why Do I need an Attorney?
Suppose you were hit by a driver with only $25,000 in bodily injury coverage. Suppose the total cost of your injuries equals $100,000. In this case, only $25,000 of your costs would be covered by the other driver’s policy. For the sake of argument, assume you have $100,000 coverage for bodily injury under your own policy. Here, you can file a claim for $75,000 under the terms of your own policy. However, since insurance companies are in business to make money, your insurer may not relish the idea of having to pay you $75,000.
In order to reduce or deny your auto insurance claim, your insurer might investigate the accident and argue you were partially, or totally, at fault. Since Washington is a pure comparative negligence state, an injury claim can be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to an injured party. In the example above, if you are found 50% at fault, the most you could recover would be $50,000 – leaving your insurer on the hook for just $25,000, as opposed to $75,000.
PIP Waivers and Underinsured Coverage
In the state of Washington, you can sign a waiver reducing or rejecting underinsured motorist coverage. In many cases, insurers will accept an electronic signature rather than a handwritten one on a piece of paper. Under Washington state law, however, if an insurer cannot produce proof that you’ve signed a PIP waiver, they must provide coverage for you. In many cases, insurers cannot locate or provide proof that a policyholder waived underinsured coverage. As your attorney, Scott M. Donaldson can investigate the matter and require them to provide underinsured coverage for your injuries if they cannot provide proof that you waived such coverage in the first place
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