How Inadequate Auto Insurance Leaves Drivers Financially Vulnerable
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on May 24th, 2013
Let’s say that you’re driving along and minding your own business when suddenly your vehicle is struck broadside by another vehicle that ran a red light.
The police are summoned as you sit there assessing your injuries and pains, but at least, you think, you have adequate insurance coverage that will take care of your medical care, personal needs and your recovery.
The problem with that scenario, though, becomes very real if the other driver has no insurance, or even worse, has inadequate coverage.
That’s one of the biggest dangers on our roads today – drivers who have only state-minimum coverage or no insurance at all.
I just heard an anecdote about a civil servant in his 40s in the Philadelphia metropolitan area who was in a store parking lot, simply minding his own business and walking back to his car recently.
At the same time, another driver in the parking lot apparently mistakenly hit her vehicle’s gas pedal instead of the brake while backing her car out of a parking place. Her car backed into the man, pinning him between the two now-smashed vehicles.
The victim suffered two broken legs and other serious injuries and had to endure the surgical installation of pins to repair bones in his legs. His medical treatment is probably going to total several hundred thousand dollars, and he will most likely not ever be able to return to his former job due to his severe, life-changing injuries.
The other driver did have insurance, but she only carried the minimum $15,000 of liability coverage that is required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. That means that all the man can recover from the woman’s insurance company for his serious injuries is $15,000, which is a far cry from his actual losses. And that, of course, leaves nothing for him to recover from the other driver’s insurer for his pain and suffering, income losses and other related damages.
And worse for this man, he didn’t have any Underinsured Motorist (UIM) or Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage under his own vehicle insurance policy, leaving him very vulnerable.
Yes, his additional medical expenses and recovery expenses will be covered under the health insurance he receives through his employer, but his options under his auto policy appear to be very limited.
This didn’t have to happen, however.
The problem is that many drivers are operating their vehicles on public roadways while not even realizing that they probably have inadequate insurance coverage to guard against UM and UIM incidents.
The minimum $15,000 liability requirement in Pennsylvania was set some 30 years ago and has not been changed since then, which is absurd. It’s a travesty of justice for working people who drive around thinking that they have adequate insurance coverage and then find out how wrong those assumptions can be when the unthinkable happens and they are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
It was a whole different world 30 years ago when the $15,000 minimum coverage limit was established, and unbelievably, no provisions were ever created to increase that figure annually for inflation and for changing times.
Another coverage area where drivers often find they are underinsured is for medical expenses in the event of a crash. The minimum amount for coverage in Pennsylvania is $5,000, and that miniscule, inadequate amount is what most people carry to help keep their insurance premiums lower.
So what can drivers do to better protect themselves?
You need to carefully review your vehicle insurance policies on your own and with your insurance agent to find out what coverage you actually have, and then find out how much it would cost to better protect yourself and your loved ones when you are in your vehicles. Often, higher coverage limits are not as expensive as people might think, especially when that’s compared to not having adequate coverage.
Having adequate insurance coverage to protect yourself from the irresponsible actions of other drivers is critical. It’s a necessity for peace of mind and for the long-term safety and financial security of your family.
You don’t want to find out after you have been seriously injured that your insurance is inadequate and that your future is now more clouded and uncertain due to perceived savings of a few bucks on your vehicle coverage.
These kinds of incidents and injuries happen every day when innocent victims are hurt in vehicle accidents through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others.
That’s where having a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award is key.
We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.
Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-(866) 352-4572 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.
When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.