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Portsmouth Personal Injury Insurance Claims Attorney

Legal Assistance with Uninsured, Underinsured, MedPay & More

After an automobile accident, it’s important that you file an insurance claim. Doing so is the first step in obtaining the just compensation you are owed for your injuries. However, filing an insurance claim can be a complex and time-consuming process. Most individuals have never had to file a claim before and are unaware of how the system works. At Burnside Law, our Portsmouth personal injury insurance claims attorneys can help you file a claim after someone else’s negligence caused you harm. We have years of experience handling even very complex claims and our team is ready to assist you every step of the way.

Looking for a personal injury insurance claims attorney in Portsmouth? Contact Burnside Law at (888) 723-4650 today to find out how we can help!

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM or UI)

In the unfortunate event that you are injured as the result of an uninsured driver’s negligence, you may have coverage for this under your own insurance policy or the policy of a loved one.

A driver can be considered uninsured if any of the following apply:

  • They didn't pay a premium for insurance (required under Ohio law but not enforced as it should be)
  • They allowed their policy to lapse and didn't realize it until they caused an accident
  • An exclusion in their policy prevented them from obtaining coverage (for example, they didn't have a valid driver's license)

Far too many attorneys overlook several different avenues of insurance. For nearly ten years, Attorney Burnside has found insurance when all hope seemed to have been lost in the most unlikely of places. For example, in 2012 alone, Attorney Burnside found over $250,000 in insurance coverage for clients who believed that there was nothing to compensate them for their injuries.

Without an attorney representing you on an uninsured motorist claim, you may be setting yourself up for several mistakes regarding other aspects of the case that could otherwise net you more money in your pocket. One of these avenues is the potential presence of Medical Payments benefits (“MedPay”), or, if you’re in Kentucky, Personal Injury Protection benefits (“PIP”). With our experience in these first-party claims (a third-party claim would be a claim against the other guy’s insurance carrier), we work to maximize your recovery by any means necessary under the law. We will leave no rock left unturned in our quest to find the compensation you are owed.

An important note: In Ohio, your insurance company cannot raise your rates for simply making a claim under this provision. Please do not allow this fear to prevent yourself or someone else who may be covered under your policy the opportunity to make a claim under this provision of this policy. After all, you want to get what you paid for, right?

Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)

This is where things begin to get tricky for someone attempting to settle their case without the assistance of an attorney. While someone who is struck by an uninsured driver would likely be best served with the assistance of an experienced attorney, in an underinsured claim, it is almost vital that you have an attorney.

A driver can be considered an underinsured motorist whenever:

  • They had an insurance policy with limits less than yours
  • They do not have enough coverage to pay your medical expenses, let alone pain and suffering

We recommend that everyone in Ohio and Kentucky carry underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) of at least $100,000. Sometimes, folks claim they have “full coverage” and just assume they have this important type of coverage. It is important that you check your insurance declarations page (this shows exactly what you’re paying for) and look for UIM coverage and make sure that you are indeed paying a premium for this coverage (not much more and worth it). In some policies, the insurance carrier will classify UIM coverage with UM coverage and just simply use the designation UM to encompass both coverages. It is important you check the language in your policy—or simply call your agent.

In a personal injury case, if the driver who caused the accident had liability coverage less than your underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, and your case is worth over the limits of liability under the third-party claim, you can make a UIM claim. These claims are usually made after you settle (or agree to settle) with the third party carrier. It is important to note that this can only be done in Ohio and Kentucky with express written permission of your insurance company (or the company that has the UIM coverage) so that you do not jeopardize their “subrogation” rights. Sometimes, your insurance company, after an asset check on the third party, will agree to forward the policy limits to you in exchange for you assigning your rights to pursue the third party to the UIM carrier. In Kentucky, we call this necessary letter to the UIM carrier a “Coots” letter.

If you have read the foregoing paragraphs, you can see just how complicated this process is—and we haven’t begun to talk about MedPay or subrogation, which has become the most complex issue in handling a personal injury case. For these reasons, it is imperative you have an attorney if you have a UIM claim.

An important note: In Ohio, your insurance company cannot raise your rates for simply making a claim under this provision. Please do not allow this fear to prevent yourself or someone else who may be covered under your policy the opportunity to make a claim under this provision of this policy. After all, you want to get what you paid for, right?

MedPay/PIP

Medical Payments Benefits (MedPay) or Personal Injury Protection benefits (PIP) are first party benefits that you have paid premiums on that are available to you for medical bills for an insured driver or passenger, regardless of fault. Having this type of coverage benefits you in many ways.

Here are some examples that apply more so in Ohio than Kentucky:

  • If you don’t have health insurance, this coverage will supplement payment for your bills
  • If you or a passenger have a serious injury as the result of a car accident, but health insurance is available, you can use these benefits to pay insurance deductibles and co-pays
  • If you or a passenger have a serious injury as the result of a car accident, sometimes payment of MedPay will not be subjected to subrogation if you run into a policy limits issue

In Kentucky, the laws for first-party benefits, or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) are much different than they are in Ohio and have their own large body of statutory code governing PIP coverage. While Ohio has similar laws regarding the same type of coverage (called MedPay in Ohio), it does not have nearly the same type of treatment that the Kentucky laws have. Just because the Ohio law is less complicated in terms of MedPay than Kentucky, however, it does not make handing these claims any easier. In fact, with subrogation laws in Ohio becoming more and more complicated (and more beneficial to the insurance industry), it is again imperative you have an attorney to help you through this process.

WARNING FOR OHIO VICTIMS: Per Ohio law, medical providers who are contracted through your health insurance carrier (Medical Mutual, Anthem, Medicaid, et al.) are required to bill your health insurance for your bills. Consequently, many providers will try to convince you that this is not true so that they can bill your MedPay carrier and not be subjected to a contractual write-off. Please consider this if you are ever told that it is the provider’s policy to always will MedPay first). One exception to this may be certain Medicare plans that require all other first-party benefits to be exhausted before they will pay.

As you can see—and again, this is a very complicated area of law (more so in Kentucky), and you should always have an experienced lawyer sort these issues out for you while you get better.

Homeowners Insurance

No, your homeowner’s insurance company cannot always be trusted. Just because you pay a valuable premium for coverage in case of injury, loss, or damage on your property, does not mean your insurance carrier will always come to your rescue.

Keep this in mind:

  • You will be assigned an insurance “adjuster” whose job it is to not only investigate claims, but to deny coverage or “adjust” value on your claim.
  • You have several exclusions in your policy—we like to think of them as “excuses” not to pay our clients’ claims.
  • If you have been victimized by arson, your insurance company many times looks for a reason to blame you.

If you have a homeowners claim, it is imperative you consult a lawyer before putting your trust in an adjuster whose loyalty is to their boss, not to you. At Burnside Law, our Portsmouth personal injury insurance claims lawyers are ready to advocate for you throughout every step of the process.

Call our office at (888) 723-4650 today to get started with a free, no-obligation consultation!