At the Harrington Law Firm, we spend a great deal of our time fighting with insurance companies in order to compensate our clients for legitimate damages resulting from car, big truck, and motorcycle wrecks.
Because of that, it may seem a bit odd that we are recommending to our clients and other drivers to buy more insurance. On its face, it may look as if we are trying to help out the very same companies that we are fighting. What we are actually doing is urging all drivers to protect themselves and their families by purchasing Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage as part of their automobile policy.
It probably won’t come as a surprise to many reading this to learn that statistics show that over 1 in 10 drivers on our Louisiana highways are driving with absolutely no insurance coverage. Of the drivers who do have insurance in non-commercial vehicles, more than half have “minimum limits” liability coverage. (Under Louisiana Law, non-commercial drivers are required to carry a minimum of $15,000/$30,000 in liability coverage.)
What this means is that when someone has minimum limits coverage and the driver negligently causes an accident resulting in injuries and damages to another person, the most that the insurance company will have to pay is $15,000 for a single injured party and a cumulative total of $30,000 for all injuries and damages to all parties, no matter how many there are and no matter how much the injuries and damages are.
These limits include damages for pain and suffering, medical bills, lost income, disability, etc., etc.
In other words, if a person sustains serious injuries in an automobile accident as a result of another person’s negligence with huge medical bills, loss of income, etc., and if that person only had minimal limits insurance the most that claimant will be able to collect is $15,000.
Of course, even worse, if the driver negligently causing the accident has no insurance, then there is no one to collect from and party or parties are, simply put, out of luck!
One might think you could simply sue the person who caused the accident individually and make them pay. While that is true that person would be individually liable for the damages he or she caused, our experience at the Harrington Law Office is that in situations where the driver causing the accident is uninsured or has minimum limits, it would be extremely rare that they would have the personal financial assets or income to compensate the injured party. Even if you sued them personally and got a judgment, in most cases they could simply file bankruptcy and get out of it.
So as Louisiana drivers, how can we protect ourselves and our families against these potentially devastating results? The answer is simple. Make Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage a part of your automobile policy.
Louisiana Law requires that when a person purchases a policy of automobile insurance, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage will be a part of the policy unless the purchaser rejects that coverage. In other words, when you buy car insurance, you must sign or initial your application rejecting that type of coverage, or you will automatically have it.
Unfortunately, because of high insurance costs, many people simply tell their agents they want the cheapest coverage possible and end up rejecting Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. Thereby, they are leaving themselves vulnerable to those Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists who are traveling our highways.
PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOU FAMILY AGAINST THOSE DRIVERS! Make certain that your automobile policy includes Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage! It is relatively inexpensive and could help you avoid a catastrophic financial loss should you or someone you love be injured or damaged by an Uninsured/Underinsured driver. Also, do not try to save a few dollars by purchasing “Economic Only” Uninsured/Underinsured coverage. This would only compensate the injured party for medical bills and lost income but not for pain and suffering, which often can be substantial.
Again, the difference in cost between regular Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist and “Economic Only – UM,” is fairly insignificant.
In conclusion, while it may seem strange for us, Personal Injury Attorneys, to recommend that you help the insurance companies by buying more insurance, what we are really doing is recommending that you protect yourselves, and the only way to do so is making sure that you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage.
The main office of the Harrington Law Firm is located at 459 Jefferson Street in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and partners, Rodney and Eddie Harrington represent clients all over Louisiana in all types of injury cases including automobile accidents, slip and fall, and medical malpractice. They also handle bankruptcy and debt negotiation, Social Security claims, and successions. For a free appointment, call 318-352-5900.