When interviewing a new client, one of the first things I discuss is whether they have Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage on their auto insurance policy.
As many Louisiana personal injury lawyers will tell you, many clients either do not know or presume that they do not have this coverage because they intended to purchase a “liability only” policy.
Interestingly, Louisiana law has the opposite presumption regarding UM coverage. Every policy of automobile liability insurance issued in the state of Louisiana automatically includes uninsured motorist coverage. In order to remove UM coverage from a policy, a policy holder must specifically reject such coverage by properly executing the Louisiana Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage Form.
The mere intent to waive UM coverage is not sufficient to remove such coverage from one’s policy. For UM to be rejected this form must be executed in strict accordance with the law. Even if you have not paid a premium for UM coverage, you may be afforded such coverage if the rejection form has not been properly executed.
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I have had several cases recently in which clients, who believed that they had rejected UM coverage, were badly injured by the negligence of an uninsured motorist. In examining the UM rejection forms executed by these clients I was able to find that they were not executed in accordance with Louisiana Law, therefore these clients were able to find coverage and compensation where none was thought to have existed.
The moral of this story: just because you believe you have œliability only coverage does not mean you necessarily do. Louisiana public policy is strongly in favor of compensating those who have been injured on its roads through the negligence of others. If you are injured through the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured driver it is important that you consult an experienced Louisiana auto accident attorney to find every potential avenue of recovery.
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