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The insurance coverage for the at-fault driver was $100,000. State Farm Insurance refused to offer its insured’s maximum limit, making an offer below. Crissman filed suit against that party and after litigation was commenced, State Farm settled for its limits of $100,000. Fortunately, for our client, she had an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist policy that allowed her to recover up to $500,000. A claim was then made with Nationwide, her insurance carrier. It initially refused to settle for its policy limits, in which Crissman again initiated litigation against a carrier on behalf of our client. Nationwide Insurance attempted to resolve the claim by making an offer below its policy limits. Crissman refused to negotiate. Shortly thereafter, Nationwide offered the maximum amount under its policy; $500,000.
This case is a prime example as to why operators of a motor vehicle should insure themselves with sufficient Uninsured bodily injury limits. In the State of California, an owner and/or operator of a motor vehicle meets the Financial Responsibility Laws of the state by carrying liability coverage that provides bodily injury limits in the amount of $15,000 for the death or injury, per individual, and $30,000 if there are multiple deaths or injured parties. Those minimal limits were set in the 1970s and have yet to be adjusted for inflation. Many motorists in the state of California are either uninsured or carry very low limits. To protect yourself and your family, it is essential that you purchase an insurance policy that provides you with sufficient Uninsured/Underinsured limits. Many people also hesitate in using an Uninsured/Underinsured policy because they believe that it may increase their rates. This is false. When one files an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist claim with that carrier, it will not increase your rates nor will you get removed off your policy. Here, our client was able to secure an additional $400,000. above the at-fault party’s policy limits. Had she not had an Uninsured/Underinsured policy; the recovery would have been only 20 percent of what was secured.