In today’s difficult economic times, it is more important than ever to ensure that you and your family are properly insured against other drivers who fail to carry any insurance, or enough insurance. Most people do not realize that if they or their family are injured in an automobile accident, their own auto insurance policy may not afford them complete coverage for medical costs incurred from treating the resulting injuries. And oftentimes, even those who do have auto policies which provide for medical coverage, provide extremely limited coverage. Thus, if you or a family member are injured in an auto accident and the person who caused the accident fails to carry his own insurance, or doesn’t carry enough insurance, you may later be responsible for paying the medical costs you incurred in seeking treatment for your injuries, even though the accident wasn’t your fault.
Over the past ten years, the attorneys of Berman & Riedel, LLP, have been contacted by many perspective clients who sustained serious personal injuries as a result of being involved in an auto accident caused by another negligent driver. Yet unfortunately, in many of these cases, the negligent driver did not maintain sufficient limits of insurance coverage to even satisfy the medical bills that resulted from the accident, let alone pay for any pain and suffering damages. Whereas many drivers purchase auto insurance policies which only provide the minimum amount of coverage required under California law, $15,000/$30,000.00 ($15,000.00 per person up to a total of $30,000.00 per incident), if the medical expenses exceed the extent of coverage being carried by the party at fault, there may be no money left to compensate the injured client for their pain and suffering. As a result, some clients are left with no choice but to settle for far less than the true value of their case.
What can you do to protect yourself? Be sure to carry additional coverage in your auto insurance policy to safeguard yourself and your family. Such coverage is known as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and it is usually an inexpensive addition to your already-existing policy. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage acts as a back-up, to help cover medical expenses as well as compensate for pain and suffering. Given the increasing costs of medical care and treatment, we now recommend a minimum of $250,000.00 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. You may be surprised to find that you can add or increase the amount of uninsured/underinsured coverage of your auto policy with only a small increase in the amount of your premium. For more details or information about the benefits of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, we suggest you contact your auto insurance broker.