How Much Can I Get From an Uninsured Motorist Claim?

A woman calling for help after a driver that hit her car left the scene without exchanging insurance information.Utah law requires all drivers to have both third-party liability insurance as well as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. The first is standard across all states, while the second is meant to provide quick and streamlined compensation when accidents occur.

This normally means regardless of who is at fault, your policy will cover your injuries as well as those of any passengers in your vehicle before you can seek compensation elsewhere. And for the most part, this works regardless of whether any other party in the accident was uninsured.

But there are times when medical expenses pile up high enough, or injuries sustained are so severe that you have to step outside the no-fault PIP system to recover your costs. When that happens, uninsured motorists can pose problems.

You might still have other options to get aid. While Utah doesn’t require uninsured motorist (UM) insurance, most insurance providers do offer it as extra protection for drivers who want to be ready for situations just like these.

What Is the Average Uninsured Motorist Settlement?

While the value of claims varies wildly per case, data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides a general view of trends every three years. The 2019/2020 report reveals Utah has rather generous UM claims compared to the rest of the US.

Taking the data from the report, the average uninsured/underinsured motorist claims (bodily injury) in Utah in 2017, 2018, and 2019 were worth about $40,339.55, $42,161.38, and $44,311.35, respectively.

This brings the average uninsured motorist claim in the state to roughly $42,270.76 over a three-year period. By comparison, the nationwide average value for UM and UIM claims paid out over the same three-year period was worth about $34,175.55.

Payouts for property damage in UM claims in Utah are often far lower than bodily injury. In 2017, 2018, and 2019, the average claims per year were worth around $2,071.99, $2283.50, and 2502.25.

Again taking the average over a three-year period in Utah, we find insurance companies paid out $2,285.91. When we compare this to the  $1,870.80 national average, we find that, just as with bodily injury UM claims, Utah pays out roughly 20% more than average.

What Difference Can a Car Accident Lawyer Make For My UM Claim?

Surveys suggest that working together with a car accident lawyer can drastically improve both the odds of making a successful claim and of increasing the value of the claim.

About 91% of claimants who work with lawyers get a payout. By contrast, only 51% of claimants who file on their own get any kind of compensation at all.

Furthermore, the same survey estimates that claimants make up to three times as much from a claim when working with a lawyer, even after having deducted contingency fees, compared to those who pursue insurance claims on their own.

How Does a Lawyer Maximize My UM Claim?

How lawyers achieve these payouts for their clients depends on a multitude of factors. Some of these factors are unique to certain cases and may not be present in others, but for the most part, expert attorneys offer a consistent list of advantages to maximize UM claims.

  • Legal Expertise: Lawyers spend three years in law school and at least another three in practice for them to master specific niches in the legal system. This means they can navigate it faster than clients (who, understandably, do not have the same grasp of thousands of pages of legal doctrine), as well as advise clients on the best actions to take given any circumstance.
  • Practical Experience: Expert lawyers know what to look for when building a strong case and how to present the case to an insurer. From gathering evidence to the valuation of damages to arguing why certain expenses and costs qualify under the policyholder’s plan, an attorney has their technique streamlined and refined from years of experience in practice.
  • Representation in Legal Proceedings: Your lawyer is authorized to represent you in both insurance negotiations as well as in court should the need arise. This means they can speak for you in your presence, yes, but also that if you cannot be present because of appointments with doctors, for example, you know that your interests remain well taken care of.
  • Contingency Fees: While lawyers working for a large insurance firm make hourly, personal injury lawyers only get paid when they win your case. As previously mentioned, the total amount remaining after deducting a lawyer’s contingency fee is usually far greater than a client could have gotten without the help of an attorney.

How Do You Make an Uninsured Motorist Claim?

If you want to be able to make a UM claim in Utah, you first have to exhaust the coverage of your PIP policy. If you have the minimum required PIP coverage of $3,000, you need to have accrued at least that same amount in medical expenses to file for bodily injury (UMBI).

You can also step outside the no-fault system if you pass certain injury thresholds. If the accident led to dismemberment, permanent disfigurement, impairment, or disability, you may pursue other claims even without expending your PIP policy.

If your UM policy covers property damage as well (UMPD), you can file for damage to your car and any personal property damaged by the accident. Unlike UMBI, you can make a UMPD claim regardless of whether or not you have exhausted your PIP coverage.

Once you have ensured you meet these qualifications, you can take the following steps to file your UM claim.

  1. Gather Relevant Information: You don’t want to make a UM claim without first having the evidence to support your claim. Gather all evidence, including photographs, video recordings, receipts, medical reports, and police reports, and compile them.
  2. Contact Your Insurer: It’s generally advisable to contact your insurance company as soon as you have all relevant information ready. You will have to provide them with what you’ve gathered and file the necessary forms before they approve or deny your claim.
  3. Cooperate With the Investigation: Your insurer will send an adjuster to investigate your claim. This specially trained agent will value any damage you made a claim for and come up with an initial offer of settlement.
  4. Negotiate With the Insurance Adjuster: Accepting the insurance provider’s first offer will, on average, result in about $31,000 less than if you negotiate (according to the same survey from This is where a personal injury lawyer can come in handy because adjusters are difficult to negotiate with when they can present solid arguments for their offer (you might not be able to defend your claim to the same extent a lawyer can).
  5. File Appeals and/or Lawsuits: If you fail to come to a settlement, your lawyer can suggest you file an appeal or a lawsuit. The threat of a lawsuit can be sufficient to increase the adjuster’s offer (on average, by 97%) without having to ever set foot in a courtroom, but even if your case reaches trial, you will be well-represented.

What If I Do Not Have UM Coverage?

Unfortunately, UM claims require that you have purchased a UM policy in the first place. The same is true for underinsured motorist (UIM) claims as well.

If you do not have the necessary coverage, you need other means of seeking compensation. If no other insurance policy you have applies, the next legal option you have would be a lawsuit against the uninsured driver.

Other options are available, but with the caveat that they might have their own limitations compared to a lawsuit. We’ll talk about these below, including the option of filing a case against another party.

  • Personal Injury Lawsuit: Even if the other driver is uninsured, you can still file a lawsuit against them to get compensation. Winning a lawsuit against an uninsured driver usually means they have to pay out of pocket or that they turn over certain assets to you (the process of how they pay is usually left to the parties to negotiate)
  • Out-of-pocket payment: While technically a valid option, this is also the choice you ideally want to avoid since the reason you have an insurance plan in place is so that you can cover expenses without having to pay out of pocket. You will rarely have to pay entirely out of pocket thanks to PIP coverage, but this is a last resort.
  • Medicaid and/or Medicare: Medicaid (for low-income households) and Medicare (for those aged 65 or older) can offer generous benefits if you qualify for them. These programs can net accident victims doctor’s visits, hospital treatments, medication, and recovery services.

Maximize Your Uninsured Motorist Claim With Valley Law

If you’re looking for compensation after a car accident with an uninsured motorist, turn to the expert attorneys at Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers.

At Valley Law, lead attorney Brigham Richards brings ten years of experience in the field of personal injury law to the table in order to fight for your fair UM claim. From gathering evidence to confronting the insurance adjuster to filing a lawsuit, we are at your side.

Call Valley Law today at 801-810-9999 or contact us via our online form by clicking this link. We offer no-cost, no-obligation case evaluations, and we only get paid when your case is won.

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