If you are injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you will likely be entitled to uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM) if you purchased it.
Your UM insurer owes you a duty of good faith and fair dealing. Jones v. Johnson, 45,847 (La. App. 2 Cir. 12/15/2010), 56 So. 3d 1016, 121. Your UM insurer will be required to pay on your UM claim once you prove:
- the uninsured or underinsured status of the owner or operator of the automobile that caused the accident;
- the fault of the owner or operator of that automobile;
- the damage resulting from such fault; and,
- the extent of those injures.
McDill v. Utica Mut. Ins. Co., 475 So. 2d 1085, 1089 (La. 1985).
Sending your UM insurer your medical records proves your damages and injuries. Once the UM insurer receives proof of your claim, it has 30 days to pay you the limits of your UM policy or make an “unconditional tender.” See Jones, supra, 56 So. 3d at 1023, citing La. R.S. 22:1892.
An unconditional tender is not a settlement or an offer to settle; rather, it is a “no-strings-attached” payment of the undisputed portion of the insurance policy owed to the accident victim. UM insurers make unconditional tenders to show good faith and avoid penalties and attorney fees under La. R.S. 22:1892 and La. 22:1973. Id. at 1022-1023.
An unconditional tender does not end your UM claim. “Unconditional” simply means that the UM insurer cannot place conditions on the money tendered, such as requiring a release or limiting the use of the funds. United Services Auto. Ass’n v. Dugas, 593 So. 2d 918 (La. App. 4 Cir. 1992).
Unconditional tenders are helpful when automobile accident victims have numerous and ongoing medical expenses. Unconditional tenders can pay for medical treatment while the victim recovers from his or her injury and awaits resolution of the entire claim, including final settlement of the UM claim. Unconditional tenders and other insurance coverage issues are best explained in person by an experienced injury attorney. Unconditional tenders are well addressed in Louisiana law and jurisprudence. See McDill v. Utica Mut. Ins. Co., supra.
If you have been injured in an auto accident and have questions about UM coverage or unconditional tenders, contact Law Office of Donald D’Aunoy Jr., LLC today for a FREE consultation: 1000 Veterans Blvd #203, Metairie, LA 70005, Phone: 504-508-6414. Speak directly with an attorney. Personal injury attorney Donald D’Aunoy Jr. offers FREE house calls to personal injury clients throughout southeast Louisiana, including Algiers, Amite, Avondale, Barataria, Belle Chasse, Bogalusa, Boutte, Bridge City, Chalmette, Covington, Crown Point, Cut Off, Destrehan, Edgard, Franklinton, Galliano, Gretna, Hammond, Harahan, Harvey, Houma, Jefferson, Kenner, Lafitte, Laplace, Lacombe, Larose, Luling, Lutcher, Madisonville, Mandeville, Marrero, Morgan City, Montegut, New Orleans, Nine Mile Point, Norco, Patterson, Pearl River, Ponchatoula, Prairieville, Raceland, River Ridge, Slidell, St. Rose, Thibodaux, Tickfaw, Waggaman, Westwego. Mr. D’Aunoy is well reviewed on sites such as Avvo and Facebook.