First-Party Insurance Claims and Uninsured Defendants

February 14, 2019

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to the fault of another driver, then you may have a right of action against the defendant-driver for damages.  Unfortunately, many drivers in Pennsylvania do not have insurance coverage to pay for the damages suffered by the victims of their negligence, and even if they do have insurance coverage, if may be insufficient.

Moving Forward With a UM/UIM Claim

Uninsured and underinsured drivers are a serious problem for car accident plaintiffs.  If the defendant cannot cover your losses, then you may have to seek out alternative avenues for recovery.  One strategy is to identify other possible defendants — for example, if the driver was operating their vehicle in the course and scope of their employment, then you might be able to seek recompense from their employer.

In cases where there are no other defendants, however, you might be forced to pursue recovery through your own insurance coverage.  If you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM coverage), then you may be able to secure compensation by filing a claim with your insurer.

Possible Issues

There are a number of problems that tend to crop up when plaintiffs file a first-party claim with their insurer.

Insurers Are Not on Your Side

The insurer’s goal is to pay out the least amount possible.  As such, it’s important that you consult an attorney so that they can guide you and serve as your “point of contact” in all communications with the insurer.  Without an attorney guiding you, the insurer will attempt to have you disclose information that could be used to undermine your claim.  For example, the insurer might try to have you disclose information about how you were distracted at the time of the accident — this could then be used to paint you as contributorily negligent, which could justify the denial or minimization of your claim.

Bad Faith

If your insurer denies your UM/UIM claim without reasonable justification, or if they otherwise mishandle your claim (i.e., delay the processing of the claim excessively), then you could be entitled to bring an action against them for bad faith.  If you succeed in litigating a bad faith claim, then you may be able to recover damages for the emotional distress associated with their misconduct, as well as the benefits you’re owed under the policy.  You might also be awarded punitive damages in, particularly egregious cases.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Easton Car Accident Lawyer at DHD Law

Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC is a boutique personal injury firm serving plaintiffs throughout Pennsylvania.  Our team of attorneys has decades of experience representing the interests of injured plaintiffs in a variety of lawsuits, including car accident disputes.  Over the years, we have developed key insights into what it takes to successfully navigate complex car accident litigation, and how best to maximize the compensation available to our clients.

We believe that effective legal representation — in the car accident context and otherwise — must be personalized to the needs of each client.  We develop a highly-communicative relationship with our clients and spend a great deal of time and resources learning about their cases.  This ensures that we have the information we need to tailor our representation to suit their particular goals and limitations.

Ready to speak to a skilled Easton car accident lawyer about your claims?  Call 610-433-3910 or send us a case evaluation form online to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.  We look forward to helping you move forward with your case.