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Complaint 1 of 1 in "Uninsured or Hit & Run Driver"
Insurance Carrier: Progressive
I was rear-ended in a hit and run accident in January. I sustained back and neck injuries and a bad foot injury. I just received a settlement offer from the insurance company and it's extremely low. They're stating that they refuse to pay for any injuries past the first two months, yet I still have problems especially with my foot. They are also trying to settle with my passenger for the exact same amount even though I have the extra foot injury as well as the fact that I dealt with the police, the insurance companies, the body shop and the rental car. My car is still not completely fixed and it's been three months since the accident. I definitely feel that my offer should be substantially higher.
Insurance Expert Answer:
I assume we are talking about a hit-and-run driver who has not been found, and will address the personal injury claim first. Your own insurance company is obligated to pay you under the Uninsured Motorist insurance (UM or sometimes UMBI) portion of your policy. The UM covers medical expenses for bodily injury, pain and suffering, and lost wages, for the driver and the driver's passengers, if the injuries result from an accident caused by an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run driver. When you bought your auto policy you selected the amount of UM coverage you bought, although to save premium dollars, most drivers opt for the lowest level of UM and do not pay the few extra bucks needed to significantly increase the Uninsured Motorists coverage -- which can be very valuable. (Especially as with the recession more drivers are forced to lapse their own liability coverage, but don't stop driving.) Just as the other driver's insurance company would not be liable for damages beyond the amount of liability insurance their driver bought, your insurance company is not liable to you beyond the amount of UM you bought. I have no idea how much UM you had as part of the policy, but if you had a very low limit (as most people do) it is possible that you are at the limit and so your carrier will not pay more. You do have the same right to go after your company as if it were the other driver or its insurance company, and in that case it usually makes sense to retain an auto accident lawyer to advise you, and if needed, to fight for you. The same is true on UM claims with a major exception to the "usual" -- where you have a low limit of UM. Even the world's best UM lawyer is unable to get you more than the UM limit you bought from your company. But if you find you have a UM limit that is significantly higher than what you have been offered, I urge you to get a lawyer. [Our affiliate www.AttorneyPages.com lists many top insurance and auto accident lawyers in Orange County.] Now let's consider the property damage to your car. If you have collision insurance, you're covered for the cost of repairs less the deductible. If not you may have Uninsured Motorists Property Damage Insurance (assuming your carrier offered it in California). In that case it could cover the costs of repairs.