Hawaii Uninsured Motorists and Underinsured Motorist Attorney:
Foster Law Offices represents accident victims injured as a result of an uninsured or underinsured driver. In Hawaii, if you or a loved one has suffered an injury in an automobile accident and the person at fault for the accident does not have auto insurance or has only minimum insurance policy limits, you may be eligible for a financial settlement with your own auto insurance carrier.
This type of insurance claim is made under the Uninsured Motorist (“UM”) or Underinsured Motorist (“UIM”) protections that may be available under your auto insurance policy. You need not be a Hawaii resident or have an insurance policy issued in the State of Hawaii in order to obtain a UM or UIM settlement.
What Is The Difference Between A UM And A UIM Claim?
The difference between a UM and UIM claim is important. In a UM claim, the negligent party has no insurance. In cases where our clients are injured by an uninsured driver, we are still able to recover a settlement from the client's UM policy. Conversely, in a UIM claim, we must first reach a policy limits (or really close to policy limits) settlement with the underinsured driver's insurance carrier. We also must obtain the UIM carrier's consent to settle with the underinsured driver's insurance carrier prior to accepting a settlement. If no consent is obtained, a UIM settlement may be put in jeopardy.
For example, assume Jane Doe is injured in an accident caused by John Doe. Due to bad advice or financial constraints, John Doe's auto policy limits are only $20,000. Jane Doe's UIM policy limits are $100,000 and Jane Doe's medical expenses alone exceed $20,000. In order to protect the UIM claim Jane Doe must obtain consent of her UIM insurance company before accepting John Does $20,000 policy limits offer.
UM and UIM Claims are not Limited To Drivers and Passengers:
In addition to car accidents, the following types of accidents may also be eligible for UM or UIM benefits if the negligent party is uninsured or underinsured:
- Pedestrian/Crosswalk accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Moped accidents
UM And UIM Claims Require A Careful Review of An Auto Insurance Policy:
To find out whether you may be entitled to UM or UIM benefits in connection with a Hawaii automobile accident, you can review your policy or bring a copy of the policy to Foster Law Offices and we will advise whether UM/UIM coverage is available. If UM/UIM coverage is available, your auto insurer “stands in the shoes” of the at-fault driver. Your insurance company then becomes an adversary in the settlement process based on the fact that the insurance company makes money every time it pays less than what an injured person is entitled to under Hawaii law.
Money Damages Available In A Hawaii UM/UIM Claim:
In a UM/UIM case, the injured victim is entitled to the same “damages” under Hawaii law as an injured victim who pursues the at-fault driver's insurance company. Such “damages” include but may not be limited to:
- Medical Expenses – Past and Future
- Wage Loss – Past and Future
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Loss of Consortium
- Cosmetic Disfigurement
Bad Faith Claims Against UM/UIM Insurance Company:
In addition to damages, an injured victim whose insurance company fails to negotiate the claim in “good faith” may have an additional cause of action against the insurance company for violating the insurer's duty of good faith to its insured(s). A violation of its duty of good faith gives rise to a claim commonly referred to as “Bad Faith”. A Bad Faith claim can take many forms:
- Wrongful denial of benefits
- Failing to settle a claim within policy limits
- Unreasonable delay in the payment of a valid claim
- Failure to investigate a claim
- Misrepresentation of the policy and/or claim
Do Not Trust Your Insurance Company:
As with any matter involving an insurance company, it is not advisable to trust your insurance company to treat you fairly. Insurance companies answer only to their shareholders. Policy holders, claimants and injured victims are viewed by insurance companies only in terms of the effect the claim will have on the insurer's bottom line rather than as people in need of the financial protections they paid for when purchasing auto insurance. For more information, click here.
Contact Foster Law Offices:
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an automobile, motorcycle, moped, pedestrian or other accident in which a driver is negligent in causing an accident, please contact us today to schedule a free consultation. To schedule an appointment, please call or text (808) 348-7800 or if you prefer to submit your inquiry via email please complete the "Contact Our Firm" box to the right. We look forward to speaking with you.