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Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer

Underinsured Motorist coverage exists to protect insured motorists from those whose insurance will not fully recover damages in an accident. If an insured motorist sustains injury and damages from an accident with an underinsured motorist, it is simply unfair for that insured individual to be left without sufficient compensation because the other party lacked enough insurance.

UIM coverage is not mandatory in Missouri, which means that if you do not elect to purchase it, you may be left without much hope for full compensation if you are involved in an accident with an underinsured motorist.

The insurance policy defines how UIM coverage will operate and when it can be used:

"[UIM] will pay damages which an insured is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an underinsured motor vehicle because of bodily injury. Underinsured motor vehicle means a vehicle to which a policy applies at the time of the accident but its limit for bodily injury liability is less than the limit of liability for this coverage. Leland Dempsey & Thomas Davis, "Settlement with the Tort-feasor in the UIM Situation."

—50 J.Mo.B. 133 (1994) cited in Rodriguez v. General Accident Ins. Co. of Am., 808 S.W.2d 379, 381 (Mo. banc 1991).

UIM Coverage

Ultimately, the UIM insurer must give permission for the tort-feasor to offer his or her limits of liability coverage. This can become a frustrating challenge if the tort-feasor is willing and ready to make an offer, but his or her insurance provider holds back.

However, the courts have been known to overlook this technicality in some situations where the liable party and injured party were able to make an agreement together. Furthermore, the courts will generally forbid an insurer from withholding permission for unreasonable or unfair reasons.

One frustrating part of practicing law is when we represent a client who is badly injured, and the tort-feasor's insurance coverage is insufficient to cover the damages. That is when UIM ideally will kick in. Unfortunately, sometimes an injured person may have very limited UIM coverage of their own.

In a case like that, settlement can be more difficult and a lawsuit against the tort-feasor may be required to obtain a judgment for the full amount of damages. Even then, full monetary recovery can be dubious because the person you sue may simply not have funds beyond what their insurance coverage provides.

Contact our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.

Pursuing compensation for an accident with an underinsured motorist can be complicated and difficult to understand. With the help of our Kansas City personal injury attorneys, you stand the best chance at walking away with the compensation you deserve. We can help you understand your legal options and fight on your behalf.

Contact Martin & Wallentine today for a free consultation regarding your injury claim involving an underinsured motorist.

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