It might be natural to think that it’s easy enough to file your own claim to recover damages if you’re not the at fault driver. The insurance company commercials certainly make it seem that way, that all you need to do is call and they show up, happy to help, like any good neighbor would. Especially one that you’re paying thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a driver. However, insurers are notoriously adept at finding ways to not pay you, like this video spoof of the insurance claim process shows. One of the tricks they might employ is the Hamilton Rule.
I talk about this rule on my YouTube Channel, Bill Coats Law, so click the link if you’d like to take a few minutes to watch and learn about how the Hamilton Rule may affect your uninsured or underinsured motorist protection claim. Here’s the gist of it:
If you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t carry enough coverage to pay for all your damages and injuries, you may be able to recoup your financial losses by filing a claim with your own insurance company through your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist protection. But if you do this, you must first disclose your intention to your insurance company before you file the claim. This is because they have the right to go after the assets of the at-fault driver by suing them. It’s almost unheard of that an insurance company is going to turn around and try to sue this person, but still, it is their right.
The trick is that if you don’t let them know and go ahead with filing the claim with your insurance company, they could potentially come back and say they’re not paying you a dime – just because you did not give them the chance to sue the at-fault driver before you filed. Can you imagine what it would do to your finances after a serious accident with thousands of dollars of injuries that the at-fault driver didn’t have enough coverage to pay for? I hope you don’t ever have to.
Little procedural rules and fine print like this is exactly why it’s critical to have a personal injury attorney take a look at what you’re signing off on before you do. Insurance law is incredibly complex – the insurance companies have employed many attorneys and lobbyists through the years to ensure they have a lot of leeway in paying out claims. Don’t be on the hook for devastatingly high expenses over a technicality. Know your rights, and talk to a personal injury attorney today. My consultations are free, and I’m happy to help because I’m passionate about finding justice in the form of financial compensation for those who go against unfair insurance company policies. Read some case studies on how I’ve gone about doing this here.
Here’s a post from Allstate Insurance that offers good advice on what to consider when choosing your uninsured/underinsured motorist protection.