Here We Go Again

A new client was recently injured after being struck by a car while walking through a parking lot in Monroe County. The driver of the car fled the scene, but was later apprehended by police authorities. The good news is that the accident was caught on security cameras in the parking lot. The bad news is that the car was only insured with the minimum required liability insurance in New York of $25,000/$50,000. Hopefully regular readers of this newsletter will know that means all any one person injured in an accident can collect is $25,000, while the total payable to all persons injured in the accident is $50,000.

After meeting with the new client, I asked if it would be okay if I reviewed the declarations page of his auto policy, as I was hopeful that perhaps he had Supplemental Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage (SUM) adequate to compensate him for his damages over and above the $25,000 available under the driver's insurance. Yes, even pedestrians can make a claim for SUM coverage on their own auto policy.

Fortunately, the client had purchased at least a little bit of SUM coverage, which will provide him with an extra $25,000 of insurance if his injuries warrant it. We don't yet know the value of the client's case because his injuries have not had a chance to heal, also known as "maximum medical improvement" in lawyerspeak. For those of you who have not yet purchased SUM coverage, make the call to your insurance agent today, and buy as much as they will sell you. You will have to increase your liability coverage to get appropriate SUM coverage, as your SUM insurance cannot exceed your liability coverage, but it's worth it. Don't let yourself get caught in a situation where you have $500,000 worth of damages when injured by someone with the minimum liability coverage, because $25,000 is all you will get.