May UM Combine Multiple Liability Limits in Determining Underinsured Status?

I represent a passenger injured in a vehicle that has $25,000 liability and $25,000 UM. Client also has own UM policy with a different company for $25,000. The other vehicle in the wreck has $100,000 liability. The client’s own UM is claiming that it owes nothing until damages exceed $125,000, the combined limits of the two liability policies. 


Answer: I think the insurance company is wrong and may be in bad faith. Your case is Everaard v. Hartford, 842 F.2d 1186. I believe it holds that the UM carrier must treat each of the two potential tort-feasors separately and pay if either is underinsured. Read the opinion and see if you don’t agree.