They Think They're Invincible

The mindset that allows a young man at war to jump out of a foxhole and charge a machine gunner blazing away, is the certainty that no harm or injury can come to him. He is invincible, and the "bad things" always happen to the other guy (or girl), but never to him/her. This same mindset is what allows young people to party with friends and then get behind the wheel of a car, leading to a disproportionate number of DWI related car accidents among young people, and, tragically, deaths.

A recent car accident in Gainesville, Wyoming County, appears to prove this point again. According to an article in a Rochester, New York newspaper (, alcohol and speed were factors that led to a one car crash which injured the driver, Erin Tetreault, and sent her three young passengers to area hospitals. As a father of three teenage boys, these stories always make me worry that my kids might someday be a passenger in such a crash, or perhaps even be the driver (although I talk about the dangers of drinking and driving with them incessantly).

Sadly, in cases where a large number of people are injured in a single accident, like the recent crash in Wyoming County, more often than not there is not enough insurance money to go around to fairly compensate the victims. Think of the available dollars insuring the car involved in the accident, as a pie. More injured folks sharing in the pie, less pie available for each person.

But all need not be lost. As an injury attorney for nearly twenty years, I have learned to always check to see if there is another insurance "pie" available that may provide coverage for car accident victims when there is insufficient coverage on the auto that was involved in the crash. This special insurance is called "SUM" insurance, and it can be the difference between an injured parent being able to keep the rent or mortgage paid and food on the table, and being homeless and hungry.

Hopefully, the passengers injured in the Gainesville auto accident had a good insurance man sell them SUM insurance. More importantly, let's hope that they recover from their injuries in short order, and that they (and other young folks) learn that they are indeed mortal, rather than invincible.