We were recently asked to represent a man with serious injuries he suffered in a car accident. He suffered a broken arm, two broken legs, a skull fracture and multiple broken ribs. Our client was hit while driving through an intersection with the green light by another car which ran the red light. In other words, our client was doing everything right as a law-abiding citizen when he was hurt.
Unfortunately, it turned out the other driver had only the minimum liability limits required by law: $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. This was hardly enough to cover the two days our client spent in the intensive care unit at the hospital. To add insult to injury, our client carried auto insurance himself with UM/UIM (Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage) limits of only the same amount as the driver: $15,000 and $30,000.
This means the total amount of compensation available to settle our client’s claim is $15,000—a pittance for his serious injuries—though this accident happened through no fault of his.
HOW COULD THIS INJUSTICE HAVE BEEN PREVENTED?
Actually, it is quite simple: if the client had simply bought UM/UIM insurance in a reasonable amount ($300,000 or higher), he would be able to make a claim against his own insurance company for the injuries caused by the negligent driver. UM/UIM coverage takes the place of insurance which the at-fault driver should have had to cover him for the accident. It is fairly inexpensive and any claim you make will not raise your premiums if the accident is not your fault.
Unfortunately, the persons who are careless drivers are often the same ones who either carry either no auto insurance or insurance with minimal limits which are completely inadequate to compensate the persons they injure. UM/UIM insurance is your best protection against careless drivers and we strongly recommend all of our friends and family carry liability as well as UM/UIM insurance with limits of at least $300,000. UM/UIM insurance also covers pedestrians who are hit by automobiles, which is something not everyone is aware of.
We are not trying to sell you insurance here! But we do believe that insurance serves a valuable service in situations as we’ve described.
The attorneys in Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury Practice Group fight for the rights of people who are injured or have suffered the loss of loved ones due to the carelessness of others. We use a team approach which brings all of the resources of our practice group to bear on our cases. This has allowed us to recover multi-million dollar settlements and large verdicts for our clients. We handle all types of personal injury cases throughout the Bay Area, California and other states.