Underinsurance Coverage

Date: July 6, 2011
Posted In: DLP Law

            Carol and Dave had just finished a wonderful dinner in Hawley and were traveling on Route 590 back to their home in the Hamlin area. Jim and Sue, who had accompanied Carol and Dave for dinner, were in the back seat. It was approximately 9:30 PM. It was dark but the road was dry. From what seemed out of nowhere, a car came through a stop sign quite violently striking Carol and Dave\’s car broadside. Unfortunately all four occupants of Carol and Dave\’s car suffered serious injuries.

            As it turned out, the car that struck Carol and Dave\’s vehicle had minimum insurance with only $15,000.00 in coverage. That amount would have been grossly inadequate to cover the injuries of any one of the victims let alone all four. It was also unfortunate that neither Carol and Dave nor Jim and Sue had underinsurance on their own vehicles. Thus the four injured victims would have to split up the $15,000.00.

ISSUE:          How will the money be split?

ANSWER:     The insurance company for the negligent driver will simply pay the money into court and allow the court to divide up the money. Unfortunately, no matter how the division occurs, none of the four victims will be compensated even closely for the amount of damages that they sustained physically and economically. Every insured driver should make sure they have adequate underinsurance coverage on their policy and carry at least $100,000.00 in coverage.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.