Underinsured Motorist Claims Require First that the Applicable Bodily Injury Liability Policies be “Exhausted.”

Los Angeles Uninsured Motorist Attorney, Barry P. Goldberg, observes that Underinsured Motorist claims are always “exhausting!” Underinsured motorist coverage requires exhaustion of the tortfeasor’s policy limits and submission of proof of payment to the insurer. (Wedemeyer v. Safeco Ins. Co. of America (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 1297, 1303) In California, auto insurance policies must provide coverage for insureds where the…


Anatomy of a Good Personal Injury Case Final Chapter—Part 4

Anatomy of a Good Personal Injury Case Final Chapter—Part 4 Woodland Hills Personal Injury Attorney Barry P. Goldberg was recently hired to represent an 18 year old traffic collision victim who was violently rear ended on the freeway—A very serious accident to be sure. During the initial interview, discussion about expectations with the victim and her family, it…


Underinsured Motorist Bill AB 862 Moves Forward and Deserves to Become Law.

Los Angeles Uninsured Motorist Attorney Barry P. Goldberg has been advocating passage of California Assembly Bill AB 862 for over one year. That Bill has now moved from the Insurance Committee one step closer to becoming the law. That bill would finally authorize an insurer to offer a separately rated underinsured motorist policy where the maximum liability…


Do You Know the Statute of Limitations in an Underinsured Motorist Case?

Los Angeles Uninsured Motorist attorney Barry P. Goldberg is regularly asked this question because his article “Effectively Preserving the Statute Of Limitations in Uninsured Motorist Cases“)

The reason for the difference is that the insurer has subrogation rights on Uninsured Motorist cases and the insurer has no subrogation rights on Underinsured Motorist cases.

All this being said, there are some limitation periods to be aware of when handling anUnderinsured Motorist Claim. After “bodily injury liability policies have been exhausted by payment of judgments or settlements and proof thereof provided to the insurer” a claimant must act “reasonably” prompt. The most common defense in the Underinsured Motorist cases that have been around for a while is “Laches.” An unreasonable delay in demanding arbitration may “waive” or “forfeit” the insured’s right to arbitration and thus bar his or her Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist claim. (See, e.g., Allstate Ins. Co. v. Gonzalez (1995) 38 Cal.App4th 783.)

What is an “unreasonable delay” anyhow? Consider that an insured must effectively demand arbitration after providing the necessary proof of the settlement of the underlying bodily injury limits. Most lawyers forget this step. The statutes and case law do not account for this little problem. The statute of limitations on proceedings to compel arbitration does not expire until 4 years after either party refuses to arbitrate. (Spear v. California State Auto. Ass’n (1992) 2 Cal.4th 1035, 1044.)

Most often the problem is not that an insurer refuses to arbitrate, the problem is that arbitration has never been effectively demanded. The insurers are generally content to negotiate, ask for additional information and avoid the topic of arbitration. This could go on for months and even years. In the Gonzalez case referenced above, the insured’s 3–year delay in demanding arbitration “waived” his right to arbitrate and thus barred his claim even though the statute of limitations had not run because the insurer had not refused to arbitrate. There is a lesson here.

Of course, just securing arbitration by agreement after a demand or even after timely compelling arbitration, is not the end of the limitations story. There is a five year rule which bars any case which is not arbitrated within five years after arbitration is instituted. (See,Ins. Code. § 11580.2(i)(1)(C); and Santangelo v. Allstate Ins. Co. (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 804, 812.)

My advice to lawyers and to the public is to act very promptly in both Uninsured andUnderinsured Motorist cases. The statutes were designed to provide prompt and relatively inexpensive resolution of these claims. By delaying even in the slightest, an injured insured defeats the very purpose of the statutes which were designed for his or her benefit. Perhaps more importantly, securing an early arbitration date by “effectively” demanding arbitration at the outset does more to favorably settle claims than any other action. Of course, the side benefit is that you will never have problems with any statutes of limitation or Laches defenses.

For more information about the article author and attorney Barry Goldberg’s uninsured and underinsured motorist expertise, please visit his web page, Los Angeles Uninsured Motorist Attorneywww.barrypgoldberg.com/

For a free consultation, Please call Barry P. Goldberg at (818)222-6994

Should You Rely on Your Insurance Agent or Read Your Insurance Policy?

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The Single Biggest Mistake Lawyers Make on Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claims

Los Angeles Uninsured Motorist Attorney, Barry P. Goldberg, has studied and re-studied the statutes, case law and treatises concerning Uninsured and Underinsured motorist. In addition, Mr. Goldberg has authored some of the most popular articles on Uninsured (“UM”) and Underinsured (“UIM”) motorist claims and has written countless blog posts on the subject. Mr. Goldberg regularly fields calls from other…


Most Auto Accidents Are Excluded From Homeowners Coverage

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How Much Uninsured Motorist Insurance Should I Buy? Ask a Lawyer Not an Insurance Salesman!

Los Angeles Uninsured Motorist attorney, Barry P. Goldberg, is asked this question all the time. In fact, month in and month out, “How much Uninsured Motorist Insurance Should I Buy?” is by far the most visitedpage on my website. As an author and frequent blogger on the subject, I have a unique and practical viewpoint on the topic.…


Is it Fair to Go Through Your Own Insurance Company if You Were Not At Fault an Uninsured Motorist Accident?

Los Angeles Uninsured Motorist attorney Barry P. Goldberg, answers the question “Why should I go through my own insurance company when I was not at fault for the accident?” Most clients hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist are outraged when they learn that they must make a claim with their own insurance company. Many accident…