Cedar Rapids Personal Injury Lawyer Discusses Important Types of Car Insurance Coverage: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
I am a Cedar Rapids personal injury lawyer and our law firm receives a number of inquiries every week regarding potential personal injury cases. Often times, people call thinking that while they have a strong case with strong damages, they wonder whether there is enough insurance coverage to cover their claims. Our Cedar Rapids personal injury law firm has specialized in personal injury and class action law for over 20 years which has enabled us to know where to look to potentially find additional sources of insurance that may apply to a given accident.
When you are in an accident and you suffer a personal injury caused by another, we expect that the person who caused the accident will have insurance. But what if the at-fault driver has no insurance or has such low insurance coverage that it is doubtful that their insurance will cover your damages?
Below is a list of some—but not all—of the types of additional insurance coverages that might apply to a given personal injury accident. You should contact an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to determine whether the coverages listed below (or any other coverages not listed here) apply to the particular facts of your accident as do-it-yourselfers and lawyers inexperienced in personal injury law may inadvertently void such potential insurance sources because they did not follow the proper preconditions, steps, and procedures required by law before trying to obtain such additional insurance coverages.
- Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage. You have this type of insurance coverage in your policy if you paid for this coverage (it’s typically relatively cheap coverage so you should make sure you have it). Most policies with this type of coverage will pay for your bodily damage if you are involved in an accident with an at-fault driver who has no insurance or insurance limits that are too low to cover your damages. Remember, this type of coverage covers bodily injury whether or not you are in a car at the time of the accident. For example, if you have this type of coverage on your own car insurance policy and you are out walking, running, riding a bike, etc. and someone driving a car hits you (even a hit and run driver), your own uninsured/underinsured coverage should cover your bodily injury caused by an at-fault driver. If you have this type of coverage, your own insurance company will probably never inform you that you have this type of coverage (remember, they only make money if they charge more for insurance premiums than they pay out in claims) so if you are unsure, it is important that you check with a knowledgeable and experienced Cedar Rapids personal injury lawyer who does not charge for an initial consultation to determine whether you have this type of coverage or not. Click this link to learn “How to Find the Best Cedar Rapids Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case in Three Quick Steps.”
A word of caution: There are many preconditions and steps one must satisfy in the correct order to enable one to obtain damages under their Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance coverage and any other insurance coverage when there are multiple policies and/or multiple coverages under a policy which may apply to a given accident. This is one of the areas of the law where failing to perform all precondition steps—or failing to perform all steps in the correct order—will allow the insurance company to void this type of coverage which means you will not be able to collect this type of coverage. Sadly, our office is contacted a number of times every year by people who went to an inexperienced lawyer who did not know about satisfying all the steps and preconditions in the correct order which resulted in uninsured/underinsured coverage (or other types of coverages or policies) being voided.
It’s good to be a do-it-yourselfer if you are changing windshield wipers on your car, but you probably should leave rebuilding the transmission of your car to an expert. Similarly, serious personal injury cases are highly technical as they should not be entrusted to lawyers who do not specialize in this area and they certainly should not be tackled by a do-it-yourselfer. Cedar Rapids personal injury lawyers that specialize in serious injury cases like our firm will not take a case you can handle yourself so if in doubt, contact us for your free initial consultation by clicking here.
- Stacking Coverage. Under Iowa law, if a driver owns and insures two or more cars, they can purchase (for typically a very low fee) something called stacking coverage from most insurance companies. In its purest form, stacking coverage allows the owner of two or more cars to pay a typically small additional premium to get this coverage which allows them to “stack” policy limits from two or more cars on top of each other. While the specifics of which specific insurance coverages are “stacked” may vary from policy to policy (which requires a careful reading of each policy by an experienced Cedar Rapids personal injury lawyer), this can potentially dramatically increase the amount of insurance coverage available to a person injured in an accident whether it doubles (or triples or more—depending on the number of cars owned) the at-fault driver’s limits or your own uninsured/underinsured limits, for example. While it is important to have these types of coverages yourself, when you suffer a serious personal injury, it is even more important that you deal with an experienced and knowledgeable Cedar Rapids personal injury lawyer that can determine whether your insurance coverage and the at-fault driver’s insurance have stacking coverage. Remember, even your own insurance agent will typically not inform you that you have this coverage and in fact, many insurance company use a single letter code (which they know and you do not) to denote what types of coverage (including stacking coverage) you or the at-fault driver may have.
If you have learned nothing else form this blog, please understand that even your own insurance company will not help you if you are involved in an accident as they are building a case against you despite being friendly with you. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to contact our Cedar Rapids personal injury law firm for a free consultation to determine your rights and whether you wish to proceed on your own or with a lawyer.
- Umbrella Coverage. Under Iowa law, an insured can purchase so-called “umbrella” policies that apply to their home insurance coverage, farm insurance coverage, business/commercial insurance coverage, or auto insurance coverage among others. For example, if an at-fault driver’s bodily/personal injury car insurance does not cover your damages, they may have additional umbrella coverage to cover damages which exceed their car insurance bodily injury limits. Again, these types of coverages vary amongst insurance companies and because the preconditions and “legalese” language of the policy control, you should obtain the advice of an experienced Cedar Rapids personal injury lawyer to determine whether an umbrella policy applies to the specific facts of your particular personal injury case before you make a costly mistake.
Click this link to learn about “10 Costly Mistakes to Avoid Following a Car Accident” so that you do not make costly errors that so many others have made following their personal injury accident.
- Business Insurance Coverage: If an at-fault driver was working at the time of the accident (or if, among other things, they were driving a business/company vehicle at the time of the coverage), there may very well be Business/Commercial Insurance Coverage on the vehicle which can, if all preconditions are met, potentially add additional coverage to the accident. Again—like the other coverages noted in this blog—there are a number of steps which all must be followed in the correct order to enable these policies to potentially apply to a given accident. Moreover, as with the other types of insurance coverages mentioned in this blog, there is often confusing language as to which policy is primary and which ones are secondary or supplemental. In other words, there is a “pecking” order of which policy applies first, which policy applies second (after the first policy’s limits are exhausted), which policy applies third (after the first and second policy limits are all exhausted) and so on. As you can imagine, the policy language from one policy may conflict with the language of the others (for example, not every policy can be secondary despite each insurance policy claiming their coverage is “excess”—one of the policies have to be primary, etc.), and accordingly, you should consult an experienced and knowledgeable Cedar Rapids personal injury lawyer.
At Sam Sheronick Law Firm, P.C., there is no fee for an initial consultation and we do not charge an attorney fee unless you win or settle your case. Click here to talk to an attorney now.
Disclaimer: The information contained here and throughout our website, and in our printed or other materials, are for general informational purposes only as this information should not be considered to be legal advice concerning your specific case. You should consult an experienced and knowledgeable attorney in this area of law to determine whether the information given in our videos, website, and other materials applies to your specific case as the failure to do so could do significant harm to your case. Please realize there are many more pitfalls to avoid than those listed here, but we have listed some of the more common pitfalls we’ve seen here. Please remember that our firm does not represent you unless or until we enter into a written fee agreement signed by both you and our firm. Click here for additional disclaimer information.
© 2016 Sam Sheronick Law Firm, P.C. All Rights Reserved.