Don’t risk it: Insure yourself to protect yourself

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An auto accident can be a traumatic experience for any driver, but sometimes the aftermath is just as devastating. If you cause an accident, imagine realizing you don’t have adequate insurance to cover bills for injured parties and damages. What if you or a family member was injured because of someone else’s negligence?

Imagine discovering the driver who caused the accident doesn’t have adequate coverage or is uninsured, which includes 13.9 percent of Louisiana motorists, according to pewtrusts.org.

These are the scenarios Rodney and Eddie Harrington often face when clients come to the Harrington Law Firm for legal assistance after being involved in a wreck.

“Don’t assume that everyone else on the highway even has insurance,” said Rodney. “Insurance serves a very important purpose and too many people assume if they have the minimum coverage required by Louisiana law, they’re protected. People say ‘I have full coverage,’ but I can tell you from experience that as high as medical bills are these days it doesn’t take long to get to the $15,000 minimum. Anything above that the driver is liable for.”

All too often car owners place less importance on their auto insurance than they do on buying the car itself. An expensive policy with inadequate coverage does a driver no good when an insurance company can’t cover a claim because it’s beyond the policy holder’s coverage limits.

A Natchitoches Insurance Agent said motorists should view insurance as a way to protect themselves.

Minimum liability insurance covers $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 in property damage. But there are other components to auto insurance that most people don’t consider. These include medical payments, comprehensive and collision and uninsured motorist coverage.

While these minimum amounts may be considered “full coverage” they can’t always cover even the most minor of medical bills.

“It’s important in a state where liability is so low to have adequate coverage,” said Brown. “Louisiana is known for its liability claims. It’s one of the highest ranked states in the nation. Doubling your coverage won’t double your premiums. It won’t cost you much more per month to protect yourself.”

Protection is the key, said Harrington. The average person can’t pay $100,000 and it’s not unusual to see damages in excess of this. The only way to protect against uninsured or underinsured motorists is to buy the right kind of coverage and enough of it.

“I spend much of my time fighting insurance companies to get what my clients deserve”, he laughed, “Now here I am telling people to buy more!”

The case of Jeff S., one of the Harrington Law Firm’s clients, graphically illustrates this point.

Jeff was horrifically injured in a motorcycle accident in 2015. The person causing the accident only had $15,000 in insurance. Rodney had advised Jeff to get Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage a few years before the accident. Thankfully, he took the advice.

“The insurance company didn’t pay readily,” said Jeff. “Rodney sued them and made them pay the full $300,000 of my Uninsured Motorist coverage. If it wasn’t for him, I would have never gotten the coverage in the first place and I’m sure I could have never made them pay.”

While Jeff is an actual client, results may vary.

“I’ve seen many heart breaking situations where people who sustained serious injuries in a wreck find out the other party has no insurance or just the bare minimum,” said Rodney.

“They could have protected themselves by spending just a few more dollars and getting adequate Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage,” he continued, “I spend a lot of my time fighting for the compensation my clients are entitled to when they’ve been injured and advising my clients about the type of coverage they need to make sure they are fully protected.”

Harrington concluded by saying that anyone who is not certain about the type of coverage they have or whether they have adequate coverage should pull out their policies and double check. He said that anyone having questions on the types and amounts of coverage they need could call The Harrington Law Firm for a free appointment and that he or Eddie would be happy to visit with them.

“Certainly if anyone has been involved in an automobile accident and wants to know his or her rights or is having a dispute with an insurance company, we would be happy to visit with them about it.”

For more information go online to www.theharringtonlawfirm.com.

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