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Types of Injuries
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I know I have said it many times before, but it bears repeating… Be sure to have Uninsured Motorist Coverage AND Under-insured Motorist Coverage (referred to as UM and UIM) on your auto insurance policy, and the auto insurance of your loved ones. Here’s why…
You are struck by a vehicle, and they are at-fault. You could have moderate or severe injuries, as well as your passengers. The at-fault driver…
1. …is an Under-insured Motorist: More often these days I have seen that these at-fault drivers in these scenarios have the minimum auto insurance required by law (see below for California’s minimum required liability insurance amounts). After a trip to the ER in the ambulance and a few X-rays and doctor’s appointments, you have most likely already exhausted just the injury amount. By having UIM coverage on your own policy, you can offset the shortcomings of the at-fault driver’s exhausted insurance amount. For example, if the combined medical costs for the injuries sustained by you total $50,000, (not to mention wage-loss, pain and suffering, etc.), and the at-fault driver’s insurance only covers $15,000 of that amount, your UIM coverage would offset the remaining $35,000 amount and should not increase your future insurance rates (check with your insurance carrier to verify rates and terms). UIM coverage typically provides protection for you in your car AND when you are in someone else’s car.
2. …is an Un-insured Motorist: Very often our law firm sees clients who have been seriously injured, and they assume they won’t have trouble settling their claim with their insurance company. That is, until the police report reveals that the at-fault driver had provided authorities with an expired insurance card or false information. Often times when this happens, it is discovered the at-fault driver was un-insured. By having UM coverage, you would turn to your own insurance company to cover the costs of medical bills and provable wage loss. For example, if your medical costs were $16,000, your insurance company should cover the costs incurred by the accident. Without UM coverage, you would most likely have no way to recover the costs from the accident, and be on the hook to personally pay your medical bills.
3. …fled the scene: The only way you can recoup any money to pay for your medical expenses or damage to your vehicle is through your uninsured motorist coverage part of your insurance policy (and collision coverage). Without the UM coverage in this situation, you would most likely be held personally responsible for any costs involved in the car accident. The coverage may also assist your passengers as well.
4. …caused catastrophic injury, or death to you or your passenger(s): Depending on all the details and investigation of the scene, if the motor vehicle accident caused catastrophic injury to you and/or your passenger(s), or worse, death, and the at-fault driver was un-insured or under-insured, you will be facing an extreme financial burden, at the very least, for years to come.
UIM and UM are important not only for you, but also for your family members. This coverage often extends to the policyholder’s family members and covers them during other vehicle-related personal injury cases, such as hit and runs, automobile versus pedestrians, and automobile versus bicycle accidents. In California as of 2012, 14% of car accidents were caused by uninsured motorists, and approximately 16.1% of California drivers are uninsured. A staggering 40% of vehicles 15 years or older are uninsured. California ranks 3rd out of the top 6 states with the highest percent of uninsured motorists. 21% of uninsured drivers don’t have insurance because the they can’t afford to buy insurance.
The following information was obtained from the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ website:
What Are the Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements for Private Passenger Vehicles (California Insurance Code §11580.1b)?
· $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
· $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
· $5,000 for damage to property.
Liability insurance compensates a person other than the policy holder for personal injury or property damage. Comprehensive or collision insurance does not meet vehicle financial responsibility requirements.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Tragic news out of San Bernardino County. A horrific tour bus accident that has already claimed the lives of 8 people, and injured over 30 people on California Highway 38, a road my family and I travel often to visit the Big Bear Lake area.
As reported in LA Times, the bus driver (chartered by InterBus Tours & Charters) allegedly lost control of the vehicle near the town of Yucaipa as he descended down the mountain. The bus passengers were returning from a day trip to the mountain town. Other vehicles in this deadly motor vehicle accident included a small Saturn sedan, and an oncoming Ford pickup truck.
The LA Times article speculates there may have been mechanical issues with the bus, that may have played a role in the accident, as “Federal transportation records show that the bus involved in the crash had been cited as recently as October, when inspectors found a damaged windshield and noted that there was no properly installed fire extinguisher. In July, they found a faulty axle and brakes. An inspection in May revealed loose or missing wheel fasteners.”
A more recent LA Times report states that, indeed, “Maintenance citations of the tour buses owned by Scapadas Magicas of National City were numerous and serious enough that the company was placed on a federal watch list that flagged its buses for increased roadside inspections. Bald tires, defective or missing axle parts, and insufficient brake linings were among 59 maintenance violations inspectors found on the firm’s buses in the last two years, U.S. Department of Transportation safety records show.”
Our hearts go out to those involved in this gruesome crash, the victims and their families and friends.
While many accidents cannot be prevented, there are (as in this case) many injury accidents that have foreseeable dangers. Please consider checking the safety records of the bus fleet company if you plan on traveling on a tour bus. These following links can help you do your own research:
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