Saturday, January 19, 2008
Are You Fully Covered Under Your Car Insurance Policy?
Are You Fully Covered Under Your Car Insurance Policy? While most of us have car insurance, we may not all know exactly what our policy provides in the event of a collision. If you ve been in an automobile accident, you know the cost of repairs can be very high; when there are injuries, especially serious ones, involved in those accidents, the bills can be astronomical. We assume that because we have insurance, our bills will be paid in the event of an accident with injuries. However, that is often not the case. Tragic Accident In May 2006, the Nixon family was heading home after a family trip to Florida. Bob Nixon was driving, and his 8-year-old son Travis was sleeping in the front seat next to him. Travis 5-year-old sister, Danielle, was in a child seat right behind Bob, and wife, Nancy, was seated in the back seat behind Travis. All but Bob were asleep when a drunk driver smashed head-on at 60 mph into their SUV Chevrolet Tahoe. The force of the impact caused the body of the Tahoe to shear from the bolts that held it to the truck s chassis. The impact also caused the floorboards to rise and the dashboard to come down in front of Travis, who was laying crossways in the front seat with his seat belt on. Had Travis been sitting upright, his legs would have been severed. Karen Nixon was pinned against the back of the front seat; her pelvis, thigh, leg, arms and ribs were broken, and she suffered a head injury. Travis suffered head injuries and compound fractures to both of his legs. No Coverage Just when the Nixons thought their nightmare could not get worse, it did. They soon found out the driver of the vehicle that hit them had insurance that only covered $25,000 per occurrence. The Nixons had uninsured driver s coverage, but they did not have under-insured driver s coverage. The majority of their medical bills would not be covered, and they would be left with several hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses. The man who hit them had the minimum coverage that was required in the state of Tennessee. Under-insured Motorist Coverage Under-insured motorist coverage is defined as an automobile policy option that covers one for property damage and bodily injury caused by another motorist whose coverage is insufficient to cover the damages one has suffered. This coverage compensates the injured party for the difference between the injury suffered and the liability covered by the insurance of the driver at fault. In the case of an under-insured driver, first you are compensated from the other driver s insurance company within their policy limits, and then, if there are still damages, you make a claim with your own insurance company for the balance. Uninsured Motorist Coverage Uninsured motorist coverage pays for damages caused by a driver with no insurance. The driver may have never bought car insurance, or the insurance coverage may have simply expired. Either way, having uninsured motorist coverage protects you when you are involved in an accident with a driver with no car insurance. Uninsured and under-insured coverage may put you at odds with your own insurance company, especially if you disagree on whose fault the accident was or the extent of your injuries. The company may reduce your compensation if it decides you were at fault, even in a minor way. Because the Nixons, like many families, did not know about under-insured motorist insurance, they will have the burden of financial debt for the rest of their lives. Don t let this happen to you. If you are in conflict with your insurance company following a car accident in Hartford or anywhere in Connecticut, please contact the experienced Auto Accident Lawyers at Trantolo and Trantolo, LLC today to schedule your initial consultation.