After a car accident, you may be left with injuries and a damaged vehicle but lack the funds for medical bills and auto repairs. Even worse, you may have lost a family member in the accident. If you were hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you may be worried about how you will pay for your losses.
Thankfully, if you are a driver in the state of New York, you should have insurance that will compensate you for damage caused by an uninsured motorist (UM). You may also have supplemental underinsured motorist (SUM) insurance to cover losses caused by a driver whose insurance does not cover the full value of your losses. Because UM/SUM cases can be complex, you may wish to work with a lawyer who has experience handling similar claims.
New York Drivers Must Carry Auto Insurance
New York law requires drivers to carry certain types of auto insurance, including uninsured motorist coverage. According to the New York State Department of Financial Services, drivers must carry:
- Uninsured motorist coverage: If you are hit by an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run driver, this coverage will pay for medical care for you and anyone else who was hurt in your car. It does not cover any property damage.
- Personal injury protection: Otherwise known as no-fault insurance, this coverage will pay for medical care, lost income, and other related expenses for anyone injured in an accident in your car, regardless of who was at fault
- Liability: This coverage pays for any damage that results if you cause an accident while driving.
You can purchase SUM insurance, although you do not have to. SUM insurance pays the difference between the full value of your losses and the coverage provided by the policy of the driver who hit you.
Understanding When and How to File a UM Claim
You should file a UM claim as quickly as possible after you were in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. You must file a claim with your insurance provider, letting them know that you were involved in an accident with a driver with no insurance. They may require proof that you were in an accident, that you did not cause the accident, and that the other driver lacked insurance or fled the scene.
If your provider accepts your claim, they will offer you a settlement. You can accept the settlement, ask for more money, or take your case to arbitration.
When and How to File a SUM Claim
You should file a SUM claim as quickly as possible after your accident and your realization that the other party’s coverage does not fully cover your losses. According to the New York State Bar Association, you must also:
- Show that you have already exhausted the policy limits of the at-fault party
- Show that your bodily injury losses are greater than the policy limits of the at-fault party
- Show that you had SUM insurance at the time of the accident
- Show that the accident was truly an accident and not a staged loss or fraudulent claim.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a UM/SUM Insurance Claim?
No, you do not need a lawyer to file a UM/SUM insurance claim. You can file a claim and close your case on your own. However, filing a UM/SUM insurance claim on your own can be challenging, especially if you have never filed one before. If you make any mistakes, you risk losing your chance to recover financial compensation. You may prefer working with a personal injury lawyer who has filed many UM/SUM claims.
Our lawyer can help you by:
- Investigating your accident: We will look for evidence that the other driver’s negligence caused your accident. We will collect evidence such as pictures of the scene, traffic camera footage, police reports, toxicology reports, cell phone records, and more.
- Determining the insurance status of all parties: We will show that you had insurance at the time of the accident. We will also determine whether the other driver had no insurance or that his coverage is not enough for your losses.
- Filing an insurance claim for you: We will file the UM/SUM insurance claim on your behalf as well as submit supporting documents.
- Negotiating a settlement: We will negotiate a settlement and evaluate settlement offers from the insurance company. We will work hard to get full compensation for your losses.
The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP Can Help With Your UM/SUM Insurance Claim
Reach out to the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP today if you need help understanding UM/SUM insurance claims. Call (516) 358-6900 today for a free case consultation. Our attorneys may be able to help you recover damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. We charge no fees unless we win your case, so call now and we will get started working on your case.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information and may not be applicable in your jurisdiction.