The Importance of Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage in Arizona

Based upon numerous recent personal injury settlements for clients of mine, it is clear that adequate underinsurance (UIM) coverage is critical for those seriously injured by negligent motorists.

Underinsurance motorist (UIM) coverage may apply when the other responsible driver has insurance, but your injury claim has a greater value than the amount of the other’s driver’s insurance limits.

For example, the value of your injury case may be $100,000.00, the other party may only have $15,000.00 in coverage. Your underinsurance coverage, if you have it, may apply and you may be able to receive additional compensation.

Unfortunately, many Arizonans don’t have any UIM coverage, or enough UIM coverage when they are seriously injured, and the other party’s insurance coverage is not adequate to cover his or her claims for injuries, medical bills, and lost income. Sometimes the injured person does not know that there may be available UIM coverage.

Examples of situations where UIM coverage has helped my clients, include the following:

• I represented a minor, a bicyclist, who was hit by a work vehicle while in a crosswalk in Scottsdale. Serious injuries resulted, a settlement was reached obtaining the limits of the other driver’s company’s policy. Thereafter, a settlement was obtained with my client’s parents’ car insurance, which paid the underinsurance policy limits.

• In a Pinetop motorcycle wrongful death case, the other driver’s insurance carrier paid its liability limits, then the decedent’s insurance carrier paid the additional underinsurance coverage limits to his surviving wife.

• A client was on the job, his work vehicle was rear ended, the negligent driver’s insurance company paid its liability limits. The underinsurance coverage for the employer’s vehicle that my client was driving paid an additional underinsurance settlement.

• A client’s vehicle was rear ended, the other insurance company paid the minimum limits of $15,000.00 and his UIM coverage paid $100,000.00, for his back and shoulder injuries.

• A motorcyclist was injured by another driver at Tatum and Lincoln Drive in Paradise Valley. My client collected from the other driver’s insurance, and since she was a resident of her parents’ and siblings’ household she also collected under their respective UIM coverages.

When a person is injured due to a motor vehicle collision all applicable policies need to be evaluated to see what liability and UIM coverages and amounts of coverages may apply.