SPONSORED — Being injured in a car crash can be one of the scariest things to happen to a person. But many injured victims are surprised to learn that the most stressful part of recovery isn’t the physical pain. After a serious collision, medical bills and other expenses can stack up quickly, even for victims of relatively minor crashes.
A 2017 report from Verisk Analytics showed that the average cost per auto bodily injury claim in 2013 was $15,506. That’s the most recent year of complete data, but it’s probable that number has grown even higher over the past few years. If you’re involved in a serious crash that requires a visit to the ER, follow-up doctor’s visits, and specialized care or surgery, total costs can easily eclipse the $100,000 mark.
The minimum liability auto insurance requirement in Washington state is only $25,000. We also have one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the entire country. If you are involved in an “average” car accident, there’s a chance you’ll be covered as long as the other driver has the minimum liability coverage. If you are badly injured in a crash, that $25,000 policy likely won’t be enough to cover all of your medical bills and other losses.
Drivers Can Take Matters Into Their Own Hands
One of the biggest saving graces for car accident victims involved in serious crashes comes in the form of an additional layer of coverage that you can add to your existing insurance policy. This additional type of coverage is called Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM), and it is used to cover any bodily injury costs that may exceed the value of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage.
For example, if a driver with a $25,000 liability policy causes a crash that leaves you with extensive injuries, their insurance company will only pay that $25,000 limit to cover your costs. You could theoretically sue the driver personally, but very few people have enough personal assets to justify that kind of legal recourse. The driver could simply file bankruptcy in response to your lawsuit, and you could be left to deal with the costs on your own.
If you carry UM/UIM coverage on your own auto insurance policy, you will have an additional layer of insurance that will cover any of the costs that exceed that $25,000 limit. In cases where a victim is badly injured and requires years of rehabilitation and therapy, UM/UIM coverage can ensure that they get the immediate treatment and future care they truly need.
“We receive calls from people involved in serious accidents quite often, and I’m always surprised at how frequently people are unsure about the extent of their own insurance coverage,” says Seattle attorney Chris Davis of the Davis Law Group. “Sometimes people have uninsured motorist coverage without even realizing it, but often times they don’t have it, and they never even knew that it was an option.”
Minor Costs For Major Benefits
If you have UM/UIM coverage, an experienced car accident attorney can help you navigate the claims process and negotiate a fair settlement. If your case proceeds to trial, your attorney can ensure that all of your medical bills and other costs are presented to the jury so that they will be covered by the jury verdict. And since adding UM/UIM coverage usually only costs 5% of your annual policy premium, it’s a no-brainer when you consider the potential value down the road.
“Uninsured motorist coverage really serves as a very helpful safety net for accident victims who are injured by drivers with lower levels of liability coverage,” Davis adds. “I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times it’s made a dramatic difference in my ability to recover fair compensation for my clients, who would otherwise be facing a financial disaster.”
Davis realizes that the ins-and-outs of insurance and personal injury law can be complex and overwhelming to some. That’s why he wrote “The Ten Biggest Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Washington Accident Case,” a hard-copy book about car accidents designed to educate people about their legal rights and how the insurance claims process works. Tens of thousands of people have received free paperback copies of the book since Davis authored and published the first version in 2007, and his office still sends out free copies every day.
You can order your free copy of The Ten Biggest Mistakes, or any of the other books in the Washington Accident Books series, by visiting www.WashingtonAccidentBooks.com or calling Davis Law Group’s office in Seattle at (206) 727-4000.