Many car owners choose (or can only afford) to purchase the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by state law. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the mandatory minimum liability insurance required is $20,000 per personal injury per person, $40,000 per accident and $5,000 for property damage. Car accident attorneys normally express these figures as 20/40/5.
This means if there is an accident, and the at-fault driver has the minimum required insurance, the most the policy will pay any single victim for his or her injuries is $20,000. If there were two victims, the second victim could also be paid up to $20,000. If there are three victims, the third victim will not receive $20,000 because of the $40,000 per accident limit. There will probably be a third of $40,000 paid to each claimant assuming all had injuries of more than $20,000.
The $5,000 limit is the most the company will pay to fix the victim’s car. Obviously, this may be much less than the cost of fixing a car, but many also have comprehensive coverage on their own vehicles.
In a recent article from MyFoxBoston, there was deadly car accident in Brockton, which left one man dead, and two other victims seriously injured. The driver was already dead when first-responders arrived and the two passengers were flown by helicopter to level one trauma centers in Boston.
Authorities report firefighters had to use Jaws-of-Life to cut the victims out of the car. The car hit a utility pole as was almost entirely cut in half in the accident. The cause of the accident is still being investigated.
Boston car accident lawyers know an accident such as this will result in damages, which far exceed $40,000. If at-fault driver had state minimum insurance it will be necessary to find other sources of money from which the victim can recovery.
It is also likely a person with state minimum insurance does not have any significant assets. Most wealthy people have far more than $40,000 coverage on their vehicles so their personal assets cannot be harmed in a judgment.
One thing, which may be necessary, is for your attorney to deal with your own insurance company. Even if you were not in your own car at time of the accident, your policy will have Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage up state minimum or your actual limits, if you have additional coverage. Even if you have never heard of UIM coverage, state law requires it be provided with your liability coverage.
UIM coverage is designed to bridge the gap between amount at-fault driver’s policy will pay, and your actual damages. Even if you do not personally own a car, but live in a household with a family member who does, his or her UIM policy may pay for your damages. If you own more than one vehicle, you may be able to add UIM limits from each car together to pay for your injuries through what is known as stacking of UIM coverage.
Boston Injury Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman offers free and confidential consultations to discuss the rights and the cases of accident victims and their families. Call 877-617-5333 today to set up your free appointment today.
More Blog Entries:
Driving Dangers: Car Accident in Haverhill Lands Teen Behind Bars, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, June 11, 2012