The Importance of Adequate Uninsured / Underinsured Motorists Coverage
I don’t sell insurance so I don’t get a commission when someone buys an insurance policy or increases their coverage. I do, however, represent people who have been injured due another person’s negligence. All too often after these clients come to my office we learn that the negligent party had no or inadequate insurance. In fact the mandatory minimum for auto insurance in Connecticut is only $20,000. In New York it is $25,000.
In other words if a loved one is killed or paralyzed in an automobile collision there may only be $20,000 to $25,000 in insurance coverage available to compensate them. That’s right if you or a loved one is killed, paralyzed, blinded, lose a limb, or hospitalized for months the most you will be able to recover from the at fault driver may only be $20,000 to $25,000. And there’s nothing illegal about that. In those situations the other driver will tender to your their insurance limits of $20,000 to $25,000. Then your lawyer will deduct a one-third fee plus any costs incurred and you will get the difference.
This is exactly what happened in Cincinnati, Ohio recently when Melinda Woodall a drug addict driving with no license, no insurance, and high on 10 different drugs killed cyclist Michael Prater. Prater, a 42 year old father of 2 young children was killed when Woodall ran him over and left the scene of the collision. Prater’s head crashed through Woodall’s windshield and his hair was found in her car. When she was apprehended 3 pill bottles were found in Woodall’s bra, and in her car was found 5 syringes with residue, a metal spoon, and a tourniquet that she admitted using for heroin, according to police.
Because Woodall had no insurance the only available coverage for Prater and his family was $100,000 in uninsured motorists insurance available under Prater’s automobile policy.
That’s right a 42 year old married father of 2 gets killed by a drug addict and his family gets $100,000, less attorney fees and costs.
That’s why you need uninsured motorist limits equal to your liability limits.
A person who carries $500,000 to $1,000,000 in liability insurance would have $500,000 to $1,000,000 available to compensate a person injured in an accident. With uninsured limits equal to their liability limits, that person would have $1,000,000 available to protect themselves and their family in the event of a collision with the likes of Melinda Woodall.
Kudos to my law school classmate Steve Magas, the Ohio Bile Lawyer, who handled this case, recovered the maximum available for the Prater family, and even reduced his fee and set up trusts for Mr. Prater’s children.