I honor Halloween with tales of horror from the highway. We don’t like to think about it but our life and health, and the future of our family, can be jeopardized by the mistake someone else makes on the highway. Drunken, distracted, reckless and angry drivers are out there every day. The one and only protection against this random mayhem is ensuring that you are properly insured.
Here is a Scary but true example:
Sara and Tom (not their real names) both suffered significant brain injuries in a motor vehicle accident on different dates in 2015. Both are unrelated to each other, both were driving separate cars on separate dates, and on different roads, but both were severely injured when an uninsured driver veered into their lanes of travel causing head on collisions. Sara and Tom were victims of the same type of accident, suffering the same type of injury. Our desire for fairness should call for Sara and Tom to be able to recover equally for their devastating harms and losses. But this is real life, which we all know makes no “fairness guarantees.”
Sara, because she carried $1 million dollars in uninsured motorist benefits, has been able to maintain her home, to pay her bills and get the necessary medical care she needs. Tom, unfortunately, carried no uninsured motorist benefits. His home went into foreclosure, he had to file bankruptcy because of unpaid medical costs, was required to move his family into his brother’s house, and he remains unable to get the necessary medical care to maximize his physical recovery.
This is not an insurance commercial, though. Auto insurance companies will do what they can to avoid paying claims. One way to avoid paying is to avoid having to pay expensive claims. So, the less coverage you have, the less they have to pay if you are involved in a serious accident. Auto insurance companies ultimately make money, not only by selling policies, but by avoiding paying claims on those policies.
Did you know that your car insurance is what you would look to for medical coverage if injured as a pedestrian when struck by a vehicle? Or that it is your auto policy you look to for your lost wages? And if that reckless driver had only minimal coverage ($15,000, presently in Pennsylvania), you look to your own insurance coverage (called underinsured motorist coverage) for harms and losses that exceed $15,000.
Here’s another true example:
Mark (not his real name), was waiting within a bus shelter for a bus to take him home after work, where he had planned to spend the night watching Game of Thrones with his wife and kids, their usual Sunday night ritual. It was 8 pm and dark. A drunk driver drove into the shelter, striking Mark, dragging him for 100 yards, ripping his right leg from his body. He bled to death, in front of a crowd of strangers. Mark’s son, who lived with him, owned a car. Mark, as a resident relative, was covered under his son’s policy. But it was a minimal policy, with no underinsured motorist coverage. The drunken driver carried a minimal $15,000 in coverage. Unless another entity could be blamed for causing this horrible, random and lonely death, Mark’s family would be limited to recovering $15,000 for the loss of its patriarch.
Please go to my website to learn fully about auto insurance coverage by going to this link about auto coverage http://www.barattarussell.com/our-expertise/personal-injury-litigation/automobile-accidents-and-insurance-issues/. Many people have taken me up on my offer to review their auto insurance declarations page to evaluate their coverage. Please do me the privilege of trying to help you and your family by doing this before you need me following an auto accident. After all, it may be too late then.
Tony Baratta is a trial attorney in Huntingdon Valley, PA who represents clients who have been seriously injured including due to medical mistakes. Tony is the founding partner of Baratta, Russell, & Baratta and on the board for the Philadelphia VIP. Tony is a Nationally Certified Civil Trial Advocate, AV Rated Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbel and a member of the Pennsylvania Brain Injury Association (BPIA). He is also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for trial attorneys and voted one of Philadelphia’s Super Lawyers 2008-2015.