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Bicycle v. Auto - Underinsured Motorist Claim

While participating in a bicycle event, our client was struck by a vehicle which was traveling behind him, knocking him off his bike and running him over. He suffered a serious shoulder injury which required surgery. After receiving successful surgery, he sought only property damage recovery from the negligent driver’s insurance company. However, the insurer refused to pay the fair value of his destroyed bicycle and related equipment and clothing.

Upon receiving the denial, the client sought legal counsel from Attorney Michele Kennedy at Swartz & Kennedy, who evaluated his case and determined all his available legal options. While our client focused on taking the necessary steps to make a successful recovery, our Monterey personal injury lawyer proceeded the with legal aspects of the case. After determining the full extent of our client’s personal injuries, Attorney Kennedy demanded and recovered the policy limit of the driver. Since the driver’s policy limit was below the value of our client’s damages, Ms. Kennedy then made a claim for the additional value of the client’s damages to the client’s own insurance company.

Fortunately, the client carried uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) in the event of situations where a car accident injury was caused by someone who either had low policy limits or no insurance whatsoever. Unfortunately, the client’s insurance company undervalued his damages and made a “nuisance” offered a few thousand dollars to close the case.

Attorney Kennedy believed that our client’s insurer made an unreasonable, low-ball offer hoping our client would not pursue a claim for the fair value of his damages. Our Monterey personal injury lawyer accused the client’s insurance provider of acting in bad faith towards their own insured by offering a low settlement despite the seriousness of the injury and underlying accident. When the low offer was rejected, Attorney Kennedy demanded that the case proceed to arbitration. During arbitration, she would have the opportunity to present evidence of the terrible nature of the accident and subsequent injuries. She believed an independent arbitrator who would award fair compensation to the client, unlike his insurance company.

Once litigation proceedings began and the case was ready to be set for the arbitration hearing, Attorney Kennedy was able to negotiate and secure a fair settlement offer that was far in excess of the original unfair low-ball offer.

This case is a clear example of a situation where an injured party’s own insurance company makes an unfair low settlement offer hoping it’s insured will not seek legal counsel to learn the true value of his/her damages. This injured party is often someone that has paid its insurance premiums for years and never made a claim. The first claim may be a situation where the negligent party’s policy limit is less than the value of the damages it's insured suffered. Adding insult to injury, the insured’s insurance company refuses to offer its own insured, the injured party, fair compensation for his/her injuries.

The most important thing to understand is that insurance companies—even your own—are never looking out for your best interests. Rather, they are only interested in protecting their own bottom line and making profits from your premiums—doing whatever it takes to reduce your claim or deny it entirely.

At Swartz & Kennedy, our experienced legal team is committed to protecting your rights and best interests throughout the legal process. With more than eight decades of combined legal experience, we understand what it takes to help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve.

For more information about uninsured and underinsured motorist claims, contact us and schedule a free consultation today.