• BETHLEHEM, PA
    140 E. Broad Street
    Northampton County
    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018
    610-866-0469
  • STROUDSBURG, PA
    45 North 7th Street
    Monroe County
    Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18360
    570-421-0893
  • PERKASIE, PA
    1282 Route 113
    P.O. Box 178
    Bucks County
    Perkasie, Pennsylvania 18944
    215-257-4842
  • ALLENTOWN, PA
    Lehigh County
    Allentown, Pennsylvania 18104
    610-432-4160
  • EASTON, PA
    Northampton County
    Easton, Pennsylvania 18042
    610-258-6470
  • LANSDALE, PA
    Montgomery County
    Lansdale, Pennsylvania 19446
    215-368-5545
  • LEHIGHTON, PA
    Carbon County
    Lehighton, Pennsylvania 18235
    610-377-2134
  • QUAKERTOWN, PA
    Bucks County
    Quakertown, Pennsylvania 18951
    215-538-5350

Speak with ME today!

1-800-980-4842

or e-mail me:
AttorneyNewell@comcast.net

UNDERINSURED MOTORIST FAQs

Pennsylvania Underinsured Motorist Claim Lawyer Links

UNDERINSURED MOTORIST RESULTS

***************************************************

UIM REPRESENTATION

Why is it essential to hire a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist attorney?

  • The underinsured motorist adjuster’s job performance is mainly evaluated on 2 criteria – settling your PA UIM claim as quickly as possible and for the LOWEST settlement amount.
  • With whom would they want to negotiate – an unrepresented victim or an attorney who has handled over 1,000 Pennsylvania personal injury claims in his career?

Why is Attorney Newell the right Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim lawyer for me?

  • EXCLUSIVITY : Attorney Newell does NOT represent insurance companies – all of his clients are PA personal injury victims.
  • SERVICE : Please see CLIENT REVIEWS to read how over 50 of his former clients describe, in their own words, his dedication to personal service.
  • EXPERIENCE : He has been representing Pennsylvania car crash victims since 1981.

How much is my Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim worth?

  • The maximum value of the UIM claim is the amount of underinsured motorist coverage you paid for and/or is available to you.
  • Factors used by the underinsured motorist claim adjuster are:
    • objective injuries sustained such as surgery, broken bones, bulging/herniated disks, stitches and/or permanent scarring.
    • litigation experience/reputation of your PA underinsured motorist attorney
    • your age, permanent disability, lost time from work and amount of your property damage.

Please CONTACT ME to have a PA underinsured motorist claim lawyer with over 30 years of experience review your Pennsylvania UIM claim.

UNDERINSURED DEFINED

What is a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim?

  • PA underinsured motorist insurance is an optional car insurance coverage.  It applies if you or a covered family member are injured by the negligence of a driver whose own insurance coverage is insufficient to pay the value of your personal injury claim.

I make a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim vs. whom?

  • You are making a PA UIM claim versus your own automobile insurance carrier thru the terms of your contract with them.
  • Some underinsured motorist clauses require litigation in the Court of Common Pleas in the County in which you reside.
  • Other insurance contracts mandate an arbitration process in front of three attorneys acting as the Arbitration Panel.

Can you give me a real-life example?

  • Let’s say you were rear-ended in a car crash on Route 309, your right knee hit under the dashboard and you needed surgery.
  • If the negligent Defendant only had the PA state minimum coverage, there would only be available $15,000.00 to pay for your knee injury, surgery and lost wages.
  • If you had paid for PA underinsured motorist coverage, your Pennsylvania UIM motorist lawyer would be able to obtain an additional settlement from your insurance carrier since the Defendant’s $15,000.00 policy would not adequately compensate you for your injuries.

Please see UNDERINSURED MOTORIST RESULTS for case settlements and UIM arbitration verdicts in PA car accidents where the injured victim makes a claim for Pennsylvania underinsured motorist benefits.

UNDERINSURED COVERAGES

In a car crash on Rt. 22 near Bethlehem, a driver with the state minimum coverage rear-ended me.  If I make a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim against my insurance company, will my insurance premium increase?

  • No.  Your insurance rates can not go up because you receive a PA underinsured motorist settlement.  Since the UIM payment was made because of the fault of the other driver, Pennsylvania Law prohibits a rate increase on your policy.

My co-worker was driving us to the job site in Stroudsburg PA when we were side-swiped on I-80.  Which insurance company pays my PA underinsured motorist claim?

  • If the Defendant’s insurance coverage is less than the value of your PA personal injury claim, then your friend’s insurance company will provide PA UIM coverage if he had paid for that benefit.
  • If your friend did not pay for underinsured motorist benefits or the value of your claim is higher than his coverage, then your Pennsylvania underinsured motorist attorney would pursue a UIM claim against your car insurance company.

I live in the Lehigh Valley.  Can I purchase Pennsylvania underinsured motorist coverage greater than the liability limits on my car insurance?

  • No.  The Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act only permits automobile owners to obtain UIM benefits up to the amount of their liability coverage limit.

Allstate claims that my daughter can not make an underinsured motorist claim on our policy due to a “household exclusion.”  Are they correct?

  • Pennsylvania Appeals Courts have upheld the denial of a UIM claim due to a household exclusion in some cases and, in others, have ruled in favor of the underinsured motorist claim.
  • It is critical that you hire a PA UIM lawyer who is experienced and stays current on the latest legal opinions regarding Pennsylvania underinsured motorist law.

Please visit CLIENT REVIEWS to see first-hand accounts of how over 50 of Attorney Newell’s former Pennsylvania personal injury clients describe his work on their behalf.

UNDERINSURED MEDICAL

I was hit by an underinsured motorist on Rt. 611 by Doylestown PA.  Does his car insurance company pay for my medical bills?

  • No.  Your insurance company pays for your medical bills regardless of who was responsible for the motor vehicle crash.

If my car insurance company pays for my medical bills after the Bucks County PA car accident, will my auto insurance premiums increase?

  • No.  Pennsylvania is a “no-fault” state.
  • PA Law prevents a car insurance company from increasing your rates after paying your medical bills.

Please see HOME for more information regarding Attorney Newell’s qualifications and experience in representing Pennsylvania underinsured motorist victims.

UIM ARBITRATION

After a car crash on I-78 near Allentown PA, we found out that the Defendant only has the state minimum coverage.  If we make a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim and can’t settle the case, where do we litigate the UIM claim?

  • The contract language of your insurance policy decides that issue.  Some policies have the UIM claim proceed to the Court of Common Pleas.  Other insurance contracts have the PA underinsured motorist claim decided in a private arbitration proceeding where three attorneys determine the value of your UIM case.

UNDERINSURED FORMS

My automobile insurance company claims that I am unable to pursue a PA underinsured motorist claim after a car accident on Rt. 309 by Quakertown.  Can a form I signed prevent me from making a UIM claim?

  • Sometimes insurance companies make mistakes.  In order for an individual to legally reduce or eliminate his/her underinsured motorist coverage, their insurance carrier must have followed the exact technical requirements of the PA Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.  Any deviation from Pennsylvania Law could result in you being able to make a UIM claim.

Please review Why Attorney Newell to read more information about the legal background of this personal injury litigator and his ability to serve as your Pennsylvania underinsured motorist lawyer.

UIM TORT OPTION

I was involved in a Bucks County PA car crash and want to make an underinsured motorist claim.  Does my choice of limited tort still apply to my UIM claim versus my car insurance?

  • Yes.  The choice the consumer makes regarding full tort or limited tort does legally control whether or not they can make a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim.

UNDERINSURED STACKING

What is underinsured stacking?

  • If you insure more than 1 vehicle under your auto policy, the “stacking” option allows you to multiply the number of vehicles times your individual coverage amount.
  • For example, if you had $25,000.00 of UIM coverage on 4 motor vehicles insured with the stacking option, you would have PA underinsured motorist claim coverage of up to $100,000.00.

UIM EXCLUSIONS

Are there times when an automobile insurance company can correctly deny or exclude Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claims?

  • In certain situations, Pennsylvania Appeals Courts have upheld UIM denials based upon a “regularly used, non-owned vehicle” exclusion.
  • Pennsylvania underinsured motorist law constantly evolves.  Your PA UIM claim lawyer needs to be fully up to date on PA law in order to make a correct decision as to whether or not the claim of an exclusion is legally correct to your fact situation.

UNDERINSURED CONSULT

Will Attorney Newell visit with me in my home to review my Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim?

  • UIM claim victims in Eastern Pennsylvania, including the Pocono Mtns., the Lehigh Valley, Bucks County PA and Montgomery County PA, have counted on Attorney Newell to aggressively represent them in their PA underinsured motorist case.
  • Whether you live in Allentown or Lehighton, Bethlehem or Easton, Bushkill or Stroudsburg, Quakertown or Doylestown, Perkasie or Lansdale, or any other city in Eastern PA, Attorney Newell will provide you with a free HOME consultation for your PA underinsured motorist claim.

I was involved in a car accident on Rt. 309 near Lansdale PA with an automobile that had minimal insurance coverage.  When should I hire an experienced Pennsylvania underinsured motorist lawyer?

  • As quickly as possible.  Your PA underinsured motorist attorney will want to promptly identify the possible insurance coverages that could compensate you for your injuries.

DISCLAIMER

Since 1981, Attorney Thomas Newell has represented Pennsylvania car accident victims.  He has handled underinsured motorist claims in Lehigh County, Northampton County, Monroe County, Pike County, Bucks County, Montgomery County and Berks County.  The content of this website is for your informational purposes only and it is not legal advice for your Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim.  PA laws regarding UIM claims change.  Please consult with an underinsured motorist attorney as soon as possible.

Injured? Need a Lawyer?

Call 1-800-980-4842 now or fill out this form and I will be in touch with you ASAP.

Name:
Phone:
Email:
Describe Your Case

Security:

  captcha

Please leave this field empty.


Pennsylvania UIM Claim
Issues & News

********************

Ambiguous Insurance Policy Equals More UIM Benefits

A November 2009 legal opinion of Judge Judith Olson of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas granted an underinsured motorist’s Motion for Summary Judgment and ordered Progressive Northern Insurance Company to provide underinsured motorist claim coverage to the car crash victim.  The woman was a passenger in a car which was involved in a collision.  She sustained extensive injuries resulting in the payment of the Defendant’s insurance policy limit, as well as the UIM limit under her father’s auto policy.

The Pennsylvania underinsured motorist then made a claim for UIM benefits under her grandfather’s car insurance coverage.  Progressive argued against the UIM claim since the injury victim didn’t own the grandfather’s car.  She did not live with him at the time of the crash and she did not qualify as an “insured person” under the auto contract.

In ruling in favor of the UIM claimant, the Allegheny County Trial Judge noted that she was specifically listed on the declaration sheet under the heading “drivers and household residents.”  Progressive admitted that they increased the insurance premiums when she was added to the policy.  Adding to the confusion was the fact that the terms “named insured” and “driver” were not defined in the insurance contract.  As a result of the ambiguities created by Progressive, all questions raised in the underinsured motorist claim were answered in the UIM victim’s favor.  Progressive Northern Insurance Company v. Lorini, C.P. Allegheny County G.D. No. 08-021545 (Nov. 23, 2009 J. Olson)

********************

UIM Jurisdiction in UIM Victim’s County

The Pennsylvania Superior Court issued a ruling in November of 2009 which rejected an attempt by a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist to litigate her UIM claim in Philadelphia County.  The victim lived in Delaware County and was injured in a Delaware County motor vehicle accident.  After she received the Defendant’s policy limit, First Liberty Insurance Co. denied her PA underinsured motorist claim.  Her UIM attorney filed a lawsuit in Philadelphia County alleging breach of contract and loss of consortium.

The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas sustained the Defendant’s preliminary objections and transferred the case to Delaware County.  The Trial Court followed the forum selection clause contained in the underinsured motorist section of the auto insurance policy which required that UIM litigation take place in the County in which the UIM victim lived at the time of the auto accident.  The PA Superior Court rejected the Plaintiff’s arguments that the contract conflicted with Pennsylvania law and/or is against public policy.  O’Hara v. First Liberty Insurance Corp., 984 A.2d 938 (Pa. Super. 2009)

********************

Incomplete UIM Rejection Form Results in Higher UIM Coverage

A November 2009 decision of President Judge Motto of the Lawrence County PA Court of Common Pleas permitted a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim victim to make a UIM claim up to $300,000.00.  The car accident victim had signed an application for insurance which specifically listed liability coverage of $300,000.00 and UM/UIM coverage of $35,000.00.

After his client had been involved in a car crash, the Pennsylvania underinsured motorist attorney demanded UIM coverage of $300,000.00.  The insurance company and the UIM claim victim both filed Motions for Summary Judgment requesting that the Lawrence County Judge rule in their favor.  President Judge Motto noted that the UM/UIM increase limits rejection form did not specifically list the lower UM/UIM limit of $35,000.00.

The failure of the insurance company to list the specific UM/UIM limits was held to be a violation of Section 1734 of the PA Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.  Therefore, the judge ruled that the underinsured motorist limits should be amended to equal the liability limits of $300,000.00.  United Financial Casualty Company v. Fornataro, 11791 of 2008 (Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas) P. J. Motto

********************

Defendant Driver Gets Benefit of Victim’s UIM Recovery

In a stunning decision, a September 2009 ruling of the Pennsylvania Superior Court diminished the rights of injured victims making PA uninsured motorist claims.  A woman was driving in Jefferson County PA when she was hit by a negligent driver.  At the time of the crash, she was insured by State Farm Insurance Company.

The car accident victim sued the defendant in the Court of Common Pleas of Jefferson County.  Just prior to trial she settled her separate Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim with State Farm for $75,000.00.  At trial, the jury awarded her $100,000.00.

The defendant’s attorney filed a motion to mold the jury verdict to reflect the $75,000.00 UIM payment and reduce his client’s responsibility to $25,000.00.  Even though the car crash victim paid for the optional underinsured motorist coverage out of her own pocket, the court agreed and gave the benefit of the UIM payout to the negligent defendant.  Pusl v. Means, 982 A.2d 550 (PA Super 2009)

********************

UIM Claim Denied Due to Household Exclusion

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s 2009 legal Opinion upheld the household exclusion in an Erie Insurance Company car insurance policy resulting in a denial of an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim.  There was a motor vehicle collision in Allegheny County PA.  The injured victim received the negligent driver’s insurance policy limit, as well as the underinsured motorist coverage limit for the vehicle he was driving.

His PA underinsured motorist attorney also made a UIM claim against an Erie policy covering 3 other vehicles he owned.  Erie refused to make an underinsured motorist payment because of the language which excluded UIM coverage if he was hurt while occupying a vehicle he owned that was not insured under that Erie policy.  The Allegheny County Court, the PA Superior Court and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania all ruled in Erie’s favor and denied the additional underinsured motorist claim.  Erie Ins. Exchange v. Baker, 972 A.2d 507 (PA 2009)

********************

UIM and Bad Faith Claims Can Be Litigated Together

A 2009 PA Superior Court written opinion permitted a car accident victim to continue her lawsuit against the Hartford Insurance Company for a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist (UIM) claim, as well as a bad-faith claim.  The young woman was hit by a negligent driver and settled that personal injury case for $85,000.00.  Her PA underinsured motorist attorney gave the Hartford a $100,000.00 credit for the tortfeasor’s policy limit and demanded payment of her $100,000.00 UIM coverage limit.

When the parties couldn’t settle the UIM claim, the Pennsylvania underinsured motorist lawyer filed a suit v. Hartford.  He first alleged breach of contract due to their failure to offer the UIM policy limit.  A separate legal claim of bad faith was alleged over the insurance company’s handling of the underinsured motorist claim.  The Hartford’s attorneys filed a motion to separate the 2 claims and to put the bad faith claim on hold until after a decision was reached on the value of the underinsured motorist case.

The Allegheny County Trial Judge ruled that discovery and litigation on both claims should move forward.  The PA Superior Court agreed with the lower court that the best use of judicial resources would occur if the same judge presided over both the underinsured motorist jury trial and the non-jury bad faith trial that could potentially follow.  Gunn v. Auto Ins. Co. Hartford Conn., 971 A.2d 505 (Pa. Super 2009)

********************

UIM Victim Able to Use “Rescue Doctrine”

A 2009 decision by the PA Superior Court permitted a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claimant to have a full hearing before a UIM Arbitration Panel.  A motor vehicle accident was caused by a speeding motorist who was driving too fast for conditions and hydroplaned in a severe rainstorm.  A volunteer fireman sustained severe injuries in a car accident while driving to the scene of the car crash.

The negligent driver’s automobile policy coverage was less than the value of the PA personal injury claim.  Therefore, the victim made a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim against his own car insurance company.  The attorneys representing Erie argued that the fireman was responsible for his own car accident and was unable to receive PA UIM benefits.  The Pennsylvania underinsured motorist Arbitration Panel agreed and dismissed the UIM claim.

The Pennsylvania underinsured motorist attorney filed an appeal.  The PA Superior Court ruled that the fireman was actively engaged in a rescue at the time of the crash.  It ordered a new underinsured motorist Arbitration Hearing and granted the injured UIM victim the right to use the legal principle known as the “rescue doctrine.”  Bole v. Erie Ins. Exchange, 967 A.2d 1017 (Pa. Super. 2009)

********************

Husband’s Signature on UIM Rejection Form Negates Wife’s UIM Claim

A  2009 opinion of the PA Superior Court reversed a trial court’s favorable decision for a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim victim.  A husband and wife purchased car insurance from Donegal Insurance Company which included underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.  After adding a teenager to their policy, they looked for ways to reduce their premium.  The husband told the insurance agent to eliminate UIM coverage.  He signed the underinsured motorist rejection form for both him and his wife.

The wife was then involved in a car accident in which she suffered significant injuries.  After obtaining the negligent defendant’s policy limit, she made an underinsured motorist claim vs. Donegal.  Her Pennsylvania underinsured motorist attorney claimed that she was entitled to UIM benefits because she didn’t sign the UIM rejection form.  The Westmoreland County Trial Judge agreed and ordered Donegal to provide underinsured motorist benefits.

Donegal appealed and the PA Superior Court overruled the Trial Court.  Once the insurance company received a PA underinsured motorist coverage rejection form bearing both signatures, the burden of proof shifted to the wife.  She had to prove that not only was her signature a forgery, but that her husband placed it there without her knowledge and consent.  Since she did not present evidence proving that she did not willingly waive underinsured motorist coverage, her UIM claim was denied.  Toth v. Donegal Companies, 964 A.2d 413 (Pa. Super. 2009)

********************

Officer’s UIM Claim Denied Due to Receipt of W. C. Benefits

A 2008 ruling by the PA Commonwealth Court limited the ability of PA car accident victims to pursue certain Pennsylvania underinsured motorist (UIM) claims after a workplace collision.  A police officer was hurt in a PA car crash while on duty.  The negligent Defendant’s insurance company paid its policy limit.  His medical bills and 2/3 of his lost income were paid by Worker’s Compensation.

His Pennsylvania underinsured motorist lawyer made UIM claims against the police officer’s own car insurance company and his employer’s automobile insurance carrier.  The Venago County Trial Judge dismissed the PA underinsured motorist claim against the borough since there was a UIM exclusion for those who received Worker’s Compensation benefits.

The Appeals Court stated that the insurance contract language did not violate the PA Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act or public policy.  The only Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim that the PA car accident victim could make was against his own car insurance company.  Heller v. League of Cities and Municipalities, 950 A.2d 362 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2008)

********************

Regularly Used Non-Owned Vehicle Exclusion Upheld

An October 2008 PA Superior Court decision clarifies when an insurance company can legally use the regularly used non-owned vehicle exclusion in an auto policy to deny a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim.  A man from Pittsburgh was driving a taxi he leased from a cab company when he was hit by a negligent driver.  The defendant’s insurance company paid its policy limit.

The PA underinsured motorist attorney then filed a UIM claim against the taxi driver’s own private car insurance company – Nationwide.  The Pennsylvania underinsured motorist case was denied based upon exclusions regarding “regularly used, non-owned vehicle” and “use for hire”.

The Allegheny Trial Court Judge ruled in Nationwide’s favor, as did the PA Superior Court.  Since Nationwide did not insure the taxicab and that vehicle was being operated for the purpose of carrying passengers for compensation, the Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim was properly denied.  Nationwide v. Easley, 960 A.2d 843 (Pa. Super. 2008)

********************

Ambiguous Exclusion Language Results in UIM Recovery

A 2008 opinion of the PA Superior Court increased the options for those making a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist (UIM) claim.  A young girl was injured in a car crash while a passenger in her mother’s automobile.  The personal injury victim received the full policy limit from her mother’s insurance company.

Her Pennsylvania underinsured motorist lawyer filed a PA UIM claim against her father’s insurance company.  Erie denied the claim based on the policy’s regularly used non-owned vehicle exclusion.  The trial judge agreed with Erie and dismissed the Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim.

The PA Superior Court accepted the legal theories of the Pennsylvania underinsured motorist attorney and overturned the lower court’s decision.  The Appeals Court ruled that the word “using” was ambiguous.  If Erie meant to include all people in the car, it should have used the word “occupying.”  Since it didn’t, the passenger was able to make a Pennsylvania underinsured motorist claim.  Erie v. Loury, 941 A.2d 1270 (Pa. Super. 2008)