Many car accident lawyers in Surprise, AZ will decline cases involving uninsured/underinsured motorists. These are more difficult than the typical insurance claims and involve higher risks. The best way to understand why that happens is to review Arizona laws on the subject. We will do that in the following lines.
Arizona Law on Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Crashes and What It Means for a Surprise Car Accident Lawyer
As you may already know, all drivers in Arizona need to carry liability insurance. The minimum coverage is $15,000/person and $30,000/event for personal injuries and $10,000/event for property damage. What happens when the driver at fault has no or lower coverage?
Their victims have several options:
- Seek compensation from their own insurer. This option is available only to those carrying uninsured/underinsured coverage. Most Arizona insurers include this coverage in their package, so unless the driver rejected it, they probably had it. When available, this is the favorite solution of most Surprise car accident attorneys,
- File a civil lawsuit against the party at fault. This solution is only viable if the party at fault has sufficient income or assets to cover the compensation claim. Otherwise, they may file for bankruptcy and postpone or avoid their obligations.
- Seek the available compensation from the insurer of the party at fault and find another way to recover the difference. This alternative is only available when the party at fault is underinsured. The Surprise car accident lawyer will claim the available coverage from the insurer. If necessary, they will claim the rest from their client’s insurer or in civil court.
Obviously, for the accident victim, the best solution is to seek compensation from their own insurer. What are the legal requirements in such cases? The most important of them are subject to AZ Statutes Section 12-555.
According to it, claimants have three years to notify their insurer of their intention to seek compensation.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage Claims
The countdown begins on the date of the earliest of the following circumstances:
- The claimant learns that their tortfeasor is uninsured
- The claimant learns that the tortfeasor’s insurer denied their claim
- Also, the claimant finds out that their tortfeasor’s insurer is in insolvency
Underinsured Motorist Coverage Claims
The countdown begins on the accident date or when the claimant files their claim against their tortfeasor’s insurer. Sometimes, the difference between the two dates is considerable. In such cases, the countdown begins on the date when the claimant should have known of their tortfeasor’s insufficient coverage.
The Insurer’s Response
The insurer has two years to respond to their client’s uninsured/underinsured motorist claim. Claims handled by experienced Surprise auto accident lawyers usually receive faster responses. Presented with compelling evidence, insurers have no way but to accept the claim and try to settle.
What happens when the insurer does not make a settlement offer?
- The insurer notifies the claimant to seek arbitration or file a lawsuit. They have to send their notice in writing, within two years from receiving the notice of claim.
- The claimant has three years from receiving the notice to request arbitration or sue the insurer. If they fail to do it in due time, they lose their right to recovery.
When presented with a valid claim, most insurers prefer to settle as a solution to reduce their losses. If they deny the claim or fail to offer a settlement, they probably believe they can save money. The claimant has the right to appeal the insurer’s decision if they feel it is unjust.
However, appeals can be time-consuming, stressful, and costly. It makes more sense to work with a Surprise auto accident lawyer from the beginning. The latter will gather the necessary evidence to support the claim and secure a favorable verdict.
Claimants wanting to make sure they will win should focus on finding a car accident lawyers that accepts contingency agreements. These agreements stipulate that the attorney will only get paid if they win. Their fee usually represents a percentage of the compensation amount. Most lawyers working on a contingency fee also offer free preliminary consultations.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Warnock MacKinlay Law Auto Accident Lawyer in Surprise, AZ
Our Surprise car accident lawyers provide free case reviews on a regular basis. This means you can get their opinion on your case without paying. It is your chance to find out how much your claim is worth and receive guidance on proving it. Call our law offices now at 623-299-2747 and let us help with your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage claim!