Archive for Personal Injury – Page 2

UM/UIM Coverage is SUPER IMPORTANT!

We were recently retained to represent a very nice lady that was catastrophically injured in a car wreck caused by a drunk driver.  We sent letters of representation to the tortfeasor’s insurance carrier and our client’s automobile liability insurance carrier.  We have just been informed by the liability insurance carrier that our client allegedly rejected UM/UIM insurance.  Make sure you understand the ramifications of being catastrophically injured by a driver with no insurance or not enough insurance.

No one wakes up in the morning expecting to get seriously injured in a car wreck.  Worse yet, those that get hurt in an automobile accident expect that the other driver will have adequate liability insurance.  Unfortunately, this is often not the case.  Protect yourself by carrying $250,000.00 in UM/UIM coverage on each of your vehicles.  If you cannot do that, make sure your UM/UIM limits match or exceed the liability coverage that you carry on your car.  Do not wait until it is too late!

Winter Tire Safety

With the recent freezing temperatures it is time to think about tire safety. Did you know that winter weather can cause your tires to lose air pressure?

According to TireRack.com the air in your tires and expand when heated and contract when cooled.  As the temperature gets colder your tires’ inflation pressure is going down.  The rule of thumb is for every 10° Fahrenheit change in air temperature, your tire’s inflation pressure will change by about 1 psi (up with higher temperatures and down with lower).

Several vehicle manufacturer’s recommend operating winter tires several psi (3-5) higher in the winter to adjust for the cold temperature fluctuation.  Have you checked your tire pressure since the recent drop in temperature?  Now is a good time to do so.  Just a 5 psi drop in pressure can affect your vehicle’s handling.

Let’s play it safe and remember to check your tires’ air pressure regularly.

What is a Safe Stopping Distance?

Have you ever wondered how far behind the car in front of you should stop?  A good rule of thumb is one car length.  In visual terms when you stop behind another vehicle you should see both of their back tires on the pavement and a little bit of the pavement in front of those tires.

How many times have you heard that someone was rear-ended causing them to rear-end the car in front them?  Probably quite a few.  The reason for this is that most people stop approximately three to four feet behind the car in front of them.  If they get rear-ended that lack of space causes them to rear-end the car in front of them.

If you leave that one car length space between you and the car in front of you that space is approximately fourteen feet.  This eliminates the chance of you rear-ending the vehicle in front you.  The benefit is two-fold, because having this fourteen feet between you and the car in front of you also gives you the ability to go around the car in front of you should that vehicle suddenly have a problem.  This way you won’t be stuck in traffic.

A report released in June by the American Association for Justice uncovers a number of preventable safety hazards that contribute to truck accidents. According to the report the problems are driven by an economic model that is fundamentally unsound. “Truck drivers – compensated by miles driven, not hours worked – are pushed to ignore safety measures, delay repairs and drive in a fatigued state,” it said.

In addition, the report notes that artificially low insurance limits prevent unsafe trucking carriers from ever being held accountable for the damages they cause. While a fatal truck crash today can result in approximately $4.3 million in damages, the insurance minimum for cargo trucks has remained frozen at $750,000 since 1980. U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania recently introduced the Safe Haul Act (H.R. 2730) to raise the required insurance minimum for motor carriers. (Rep. Cartwright discusses the issue here.)

Tips for Avoiding Car-Truck Accidents

  • Know that large trucks maneuver differently from cars and be extra-cautious as you approach.
  • One-third of all crashes between large trucks and cars involve blind spots. If you can’t see a truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you.
  • Do not pass a truck on the right while the truck is turning right. The rear wheels follow a shorter path than the front wheels, so trucks must swing wide to the left to safely negotiate right turns.
  • Large vehicles require a much longer distance to stop than cars. Cutting in front of a truck or bus could result in a serious or fatal accident.
  • To properly pass a large truck or bus on the highway, accelerate slightly and maintain a consistent speed. Wait until you can see the entire cab in your rearview mirror before you signal and pull in.
  • If a truck appears to be starting a left turn, check which way the driver is signaling before passing on the right.
  • Give trucks at least four to six seconds of space in wet conditions and at highway speeds.
  • If you witness unsafe driving, report it to the authorities

Find more here, including tips for truck drivers.

Which car seat is right for my child?

Infant Car Seat

Infant car seats generally face the rear of the car and are only for babies up to 22-35 lbs (depending on manufacturer’s specifications) and 29-32 inches tall.  If your child is above the maximum weight or height limit for your infant car seat, it is time for you to move to the convertible car seat.

Convertible Car Seat

Convertible car seats still face the rear of the car at first, but then can be made to face forward as the child gets bigger.  The maximum weight limits for these types of car seats ranges from 40-80 lbs depending on the manufacturer’s specifications and up to 50 inches.  Another type of convertible car seat is the “3-in-1” or “All-in-One” car seat.  This seat is a combination of the convertible car seat with the booster seat.  This type of car seat can be economical because you are only buying one car seat instead of two or three, but bear in mind that most 3-in-1 car seats are not designed for infants.

Booster Seat

As your child continues to get older, your child will graduate from the car seat and be ready for the Booster Seat.  A booster seat is forward facing and its main purpose is to ensure that the seat belt properly protects your child.  Generally children are not large enough for the general seat belt to protect them properly in the result of a wreck.  The booster seat essentially raises your child’s seat and places them in a position where the seatbelt properly protects them by laying across their shoulder as intended.  In a crash, children who use a booster seat rather than the regular seat lessen their chance of injury by 45%.

What is Medical Payments Coverage?

This article is part of a series designed to Let America Know more about their insurance coverage and insurance coverage options.  We have already discussed the benefits of Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage and why everyone should have it.  We have also discussed Gap Insurance and Liability Insurance.  This month, we will discuss the benefits of medical payments coverage.

Medical payment coverage is an option for car insurance policies that protects the insured, their family, and permissive users of the covered automobile from medical bills that result from a car accident. Regardless of who is at fault in the car accident, medical payment coverage will cover the insured and their family for the policy amount in regards to medical bills. Medical payment coverage also covers the insured and their family in the event of being struck by a vehicle while walking, jogging, and running, etc. Medical payment coverage can be a useful policy option, but do you really need it?

Medical bills can be costly and medical payment coverage can help with those bills.  Medical payment coverage covers any medical payments up to the insurance policy limit for injury or funeral expenses that are related to an auto accident.  However, it is important to note that if you have health insurance, this medical payment coverage can be excess coverage that is unnecessary except in the most dire of circumstances.  Health insurance providers often cover a majority of medical expenses, therefore it is important for you to review your current healthcare coverage before purchasing medical payment coverage.  Medical payment coverage is most cost effective when you do not have health insurance.  However, it can still be beneficial if you do have health insurance because it can be used to cover co-pays that your health insurance does not cover for you.  In the event you are in an accident and have both health insurance and medpay coverage, the key is to make sure your health insurance pays its share of the bills first which then allows your medpay coverage to cover your co-pays rather than the medical bills that would have been paid by your health insurance.  This method will allow you to get the most out of your insurance coverage and not have to spend money out of your pocket on co-pays.

In short, medical payment coverage is a useful tool in the right circumstances.  In comparison to UM/UIM coverage, medical payment coverage is not nearly as important, especially if you have health insurance.  Hopefully this article lets you know a little bit more about your insurance coverage.