Our last post in our Las Vegas injury and accident blog introduced the concept of uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage for automobile insurance. The general points were these: UM/UIM coverage protects automobile passengers from Nevada motor vehicle accidents caused by a driver who failed to carry appropriate liability coverage; UM/UIM coverage is so important that insurers are required to offer it explicitly and in some cases drivers who did not know that UM/UIM coverage was an option can claim coverage for it because they would have opted for it if it had been offered. In this second part of our two-part series, we will look at a few common conflicts involving UM/UIM insurance and discuss how a knowledgeable Nevada automobile accident lawyer can help her clients collect what they are entitled to.
Insurance companies make their money in two ways: first, by offering protection against risk at a price that is greater than the actuarial value of the risk. In other words, if there is a one percent chance that you will suffer a spinal cord injury that prevents you from working for a year at your $100,000/year job, the statistical cost of that accident to you is $1,000. An insurance company will charge you more than $1,000 to insure against this risk, but you get the piece of mind of knowing that you are covered. Now, the second way that an insurance company profits is a bit messier — in those cases when their clients are the victims of some kind of personal injury, the insurer will typically fight hard to avoid paying out what it promised based on one or another technicality. That’s just the way it works.
One such technicality has actually been struck down on various occasions by the Nevada Supreme Court. The Court has held that any provision in a UM/UIM insurance policy that attempts to narrow the coverage for the insured’s injuries because she was using a friend’s car, or riding a motorcycle, or was a pedestrian is void. Unfortunately, many insurance companies attempt to break the law by telling unaware policyholders that they are not covered; in these cases, it takes legal action and an experienced Nevada auto insurance lawyer to get the coverage that you deserve. Other common tricks insurers will pull include trying to play other parties and companies off of each other to escape responsibility for payment, even if it leaves the person who has been paying premiums stuck with the bill. This commonly happens when a driver and passenger both have UM/UIM coverage and they are hit by an uninsured driver. Insurers will claim that municipal or corporate vehicles cannot be involved in UM/UIM cases (even though they sometimes ought to be), and they will attempt to force injured clients to spend up all their benefits from auto-related medical coverage before claiming against the UM/UIM policy.
All these details are academic until you or a loved one is involved in a major automobile accident. If you have been affected by a car crash and need a Nevada automobile insurance attorney, call us today for a free consultation. We will help you understand what benefits your insurance company is responsible for paying and help guide you through the process of recovery and compensation.