DISCLAMER: The information you obtain at this site is not and it, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Consult an attorney for advice for your legal problem. Contacting our law office does not automatically create attorney-client relationship.
Q: Can my car insurance tell me where to repair my vehicle after the car accident?
No. You control where you will repair the vehicle. Your insurance company has to pay for your loss. However, many insurance policies contain the language allowing the insurance companies to estimate your repairs by using the cost of the used parts. You need to carefully review the estimate with an independent repair facility to see if you are getting reimbursed for your repairs. See also WAC 284-30-390 for helpful information on what acts or practices are considered unfair in the settlement of motor vehicle claims.
Q: My car is a total loss but I am not getting a fair market value from my insurance company.
This is an ongoing problem that we see often. If you are having issues with you insurance company, contact us asap. Washington State has regulations on (i) methods and standards of practice for settlement of total loss vehicle claims, see WAC 284-30-391 and (ii) what information must be included in your insurer's total loss vehicle valuation report, see WAC 284-30-392.
Q: The PIP is not paying my bills timely.
You need to review bills and Explanation of Benefits (EOB) you receive. If your insurance does not pay the bill within 30 days, your insurance must explain the delays, see WAC 284-30-370. If you cannot get a coherent explanation from your insurance timely, contact us to see if we can help you.
Q: Do I need the PIP or Medical Coverage insurance though my auto insurance?
In Washington State, insurance companies are required to offer personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Generally, the PIP becomes primary insurance for the payment of medical bills as a result of the car accident but the PIP has a number of conditions/restrictions before its benefits apply (see your PIP policy). Some people do not want PIP and they need to sign the PIP waiver. However, if your insurance company did not timely provide you with the PIP waiver to sign and you later got into the car accident and now want the PIP, you can go back and get the PIP retroactively to be covered. It is often a good idea to have the PIP coverage. For example, your health insurance may have limitations on the use of medical providers, procedures or treatments (e.g., chiropractic and/or massage therapy) where as PIP does not normally have these restriction (see your PIP policy).
Q: Do I need the UIM insurance?
It is a good idea to have the uninsured motorist coverage (UIM). For example, if your car gets hit by vehicle which is uninsured and the driver there is also uninsured, you will look to your UIM to cover for your damages and injuries. Another example would be if the fault party has only 25K in Bodily Injury coverage where as your damages are 75K, thus 75K-25K=50K need to be paid. You need to consider going after against the individuals personally but if you have a UIM coverage, you may also go after your UIM to the extent of your damages, provided you have adequate UIM coverage. It could be easier to go after one's own insurance company UIM than after a tortfeasor. If you are facing this issue, you may have a complex case and it is a good idea to contact an attorney.