Imagine, if you will, the disappointment of Beverly Bemiss, who owned a $100,000 automobile insurance policy, but later learned that she was unable to collect on any of it when she was seriously injured in a chain collision, even though the other cars that hit hers only carried minimal insurance.

The reason? Since she didn't force the insurers of the other vehicles to tender the full value of their respective insurance policies (or obtain her own insurer's written consent to settle her claims with the other vehicles' insurers), she forfeited her right to pursue a claim against her own auto insurer, which in insurance terminology, is called a Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (SUM/UM) claim. If this doesn't sound like a big deal to you, consider this: the plaintiff's seemingly "harmless" error cost her over $70,000.

The moral of the story is clear: before you settle any auto claim, make sure that you ascertain all of the coverage particulars - and requirements - for all of the vehicles involved in the accident.
Jonathan Cooper
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Non-Compete, Trade Secret and School Negligence Lawyer
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