Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Settling for Policy Limits

If you are injured in an automobile collision and in negotiations with the liability insurance carrier for the person who caused your injuries, you need to also communicate with your own underinsured motorist (UIM) carrier. Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance (UM/UIM) is insurance you purchase to cover yourself when another driver injures you and either has no insurance or has inadequate insurance to compensate you for your damages. Alabama automobile drivers are required to carry liability insurance of at least $25,000 and it may not take much medical treatment to reach the liability minimum. If your damages exceed the policy limits of the driver who caused your injuries, you can make a claim with your own UIM carrier, but you need to follow the appropriate legal steps.

First, the liability carrier needs to provide you with a written offer for the policy limits and written proof of the policy limits for their insured. This is usually shown on the insured's declaration page with the liability carrier. Second, you need to seek approval from your UIM carrier before you agree to settle with the liability carrier.

Seeking approval from your UIM carrier is done by asking them to waive their subrogation rights against the liability carrier so you may settle your claim. The paperwork you received from the liability carrier, the written offer and the declaration page, will be necessary for the UIM carrier to make their decision. If your UIM carrier agrees to waive their subrogation rights, you may then settle your claim with the liability carrier. However, if the UIM carrier does not agree to waive their subrogation rights, the UIM carrier must pay you the same amount of money the liability carrier was offering. It is important to note that the UIM carrier's decision has no affect on your ability to bring a UIM claim for additional money.

In policy limit circumstances, it is important to consult an experienced attorney to navigate the negotiation process, especially when you are working with two insurance companies.

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