First, thanks to Tori for allowing me to use his story to raise awareness about the importance of adequate uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM). Last May, Tori was injured when an elderly woman ran a stop sign, hit him as he rode his motorcycle and sent him flying airborne into a wooded area. As a result Tori sustained serious bodily injuries which resulted in multiple surgical procedures, long term medical care and treatment from a variety of physicians, countless hours of physical rehabilitation, endless amounts of lost wages and a temporary decrease in his mental and physical abilities that no young man should have to bear. As a result, as of the date of this article, Tori’s medical expenses, have reached a cumulative total of approximately $375,000.00, and he still faces at least one additional surgery and more physical rehabilitation.
As if his injuries weren’t enough, the at-fault driver had only $100,000.00 in liability insurance coverage. Far less than what would be needed to pay his outstanding bills and properly compensate him for all that he has been and will go through. While Tori had UM coverage for this very purpose, his own policy was less than the $100,000.00 liability coverage, maintained by the defendant driver, and thus he was unable to use it to supplement the existing financial shortage. Left with large medical bills and a recovery equal to a fraction of his total costs, I had my work cut out for me.
Ultimately, I was able to negotiate a one time payment of $30,000.00 as full satisfaction for the existing $375,000.00 medical claim. This allowed him to retain at least a good portion of the settlement proceeds, but what about Tori’s pain and suffering? Because of the limited insurance of both the defendant driver and Tori and because pre-litigation discovery revealed that the elderly driver had no other assets to seize, there were no other financial resources available to further compensate him for all that he had endured.
In this particular case, the other driver did have $100,000.0 in coverage, however, there are many drivers travelling the roads with minimum liability limits of $20,000/$40,000, barely enough coverage for a minor to moderate incident, let alone an accident of a more serious nature. So take this opportunity to review your policy and increase your UM coverage. This will help to ensure greater protection for yourself should the need arise. It’s always a shame when I review someone’s policy only to find that they are actually insuring the other driver better than they are insuring themselves.
Hopefully, this article will help you be proactive and correct a real wrong that may exist with respect to your UM coverage, but should you ever find yourself in any auto accident, fully covered or not, call me before you say a word to the insurance company….. or anyone for that matter. Why? Because you’ll deserve good counsel.
Thanks for reading. Please note that I am licensed to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Please feel free to learn more about my practice at www.kelseylaw.net and to seek legal advice when you feel it necessary.
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