3 Things You Must Know About AUTO INSURANCE

Posted By: Tony Baratta | July 4th, 2020

I’m Tony Baratta. And today, I want to talk to you about car insurance and its importance to a person who suffers a traumatic brain injury.


We can protect ourselves

When we’re out on the road, driving our cars, we can’t control the conduct of everybody else. But we can protect ourselves if we buy adequate insurance coverage. After all, when you buy auto insurance, you’re also protecting your medical bills. And you’re protecting yourself from the consequences of a lifetime of income loss or other devastating consequences.


A client story

Let me tell you the story of a young man who was T-boned by a drunk driver while driving his fiance home from the movies. It turned out that the drunk driver had minimal insurance coverage and the bar that he had been drinking at had no liquor liability insurance.

This young man suffered a traumatic brain injury and, as a result, he lost his fiance. He lost the home that he and she were buying at the time. And ultimately, many years later, due to his great depression, he tragically took his own life. It’s one of the cases that haunts me to this day.


This could have ended differently

This could have ended differently if he had purchased the right amount of auto insurance coverage. The first key thing to think about when you buy auto insurance is the amount of your medical coverage. In Pennsylvania, to drive legally, you only have to buy $5,000 in medical coverage, but that is not enough.


Enough medical coverage

An ambulance ride to the hospital and an MRI study is going to cost more than $5,000. But you actually can buy up to $1,000,000 in insurance in Pennsylvania to pay for your medical expenses, and it doesn’t cost that much. This is something that everyone should explore and pay a lot of attention to when they buy their auto insurance.


Underinsured motorist coverage

The second thing to pay attention to is the underinsured motorist coverage. That’s because you only need $15,000 in coverage in Pennsylvania to be a legal driver. That means that someone could be drunk and cross the centerline of the road and smash into you, and have only $15,000 in coverage.

So in order to get full and fair compensation for the significant injuries that the drunk driver who crossed the centerline of the road has caused, you should have underinsured motorist coverage. In fact, you should buy as much underinsured motorist coverage as you possibly can.


How your liability coverage is connected

Now, you can’t have more underinsured motorist coverage than you have in liability coverage, so your liability coverage should be high as well. And that’s not because you’re concerned about hurting somebody else or keeping your house. You’re concerned about being hurt by some other reckless person, and you need to have sufficient underinsured motorist coverage.


Be sure to use stacking

There is a third type of insurance coverage that you need to make sure you have and that is to stack your underinsured motorist coverage. Here’s what stacking means. Let’s say you have four vehicles in your house and you’ve purchased $300,000 in underinsured motorist coverage because you have $300,000 in liability coverage.

Now you can multiply that underinsured motorist coverage by four. That means that now you have $1.2M in underinsured motorist coverage to protect you because you have stacked it. My name is Tony Baratta, and I hope this discussion has been helpful to you.


About the Author

Anthony J. Baratta (Tony) is a trial attorney. He has tried more than 50 cases to Juries in State and Federal Courts and has litigated thousands of personal injury and medical malpractice cases in his 30-year career. Tony is the founding partner of Baratta, Russell, & Baratta and an active board member of the Pennsylvania Brain Injury Association (BPIA). Tony is also on the board for the Philadelphia VIP and performs pro bono work for the Laurel House, a non-profit for victims of domestic abuse. In addition, Tony is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for trial attorneys, voted one of Philadelphia’s Super Lawyers for the past 14 years, and a 2018 recipient of the First Judicial District Pro Bono Award for the Civil Trial Division.

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