Firm Settles Rear-End Collision Case and is Reminded of the Importance of UM and UIM Insurance
If you do a quick search of the Internet, you will have no problem finding personal injury law firms touting the size of the recovery they received for the client. Today, we want to do something a little different and tout a recovery received for a client but not because of the size of the recovery. In fact, the recovery was very small. The small recovery was the maximum that could be received by our client and highlights the importance of having the right insurance coverage. We recently settled an auto collision personal injury case where our client, a 31-year-old husband and father of two children, was violently struck from behind. The impact of the collision was so severe that it pushed our client's truck across the shoulder and onto the grass embankment in Washington Township. The driver of the other car admitted to the police on the scene that he “was searching for paper work” in his vehicle at the time when he struck our client. The other driver was originally charged with careless driving and ultimately pled guilty to an amended charge of Unsafe Operation of a Vehicle (N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.2). The 100% liability of the other driver was not contested by his insurance company. Upon being struck from behind, our client immediately experienced severe pain throughout his body including his head, neck, ankle and jaw. His injuries were severe enough to require an ambulance to take him to the emergency room at the local hospital. His injuries were ultimately diagnosed as a concussion, fractured nose, and a cervical sprain and strain. The medical bills for the ambulance, emergency room treatment, and x-rays exceeded $8,000.00. After being discharged from the emergency room, our client underwent extensive orthopedic and therapeutic treatment. The injuries had a substantial impact on his daily living. Before the injuries, our client enjoyed playing in a men's baseball league and regularly working out at the gym. With his family, he was previously able to go to amusement parks and ride the amusements with his children. Since he was injured in the collision, he has not been able to play in his baseball league or go to the gym. Enjoying amusement park rides with his children is now off limits as well. In short, he had suffered significant injuries and had endured extensive pain and suffering. Our firm was retained to make sure that he was fairly compensated for his pain and suffering. We did an extensive investigation of the accident. We collected all of our clients medical records including the x-rays and MRIs. We then organized this information and presented it to the other driver's insurance company for a fair and just pre-suit settlement. Unfortunately, and this happens all too often, the responsible driver had the New Jersey state minimum insurance coverage. After reviewing the settlement demand letter that we had forwarded, the insurance company offered the full limits of the insurance policy. This represented the maximum recovery available to our client. The $15,000 policy limits that the other driver held could not come close to fully compensating our client. This case is a great example of the importance of having UIM and UM coverage on your auto insurance policy. UIM is an acronym for underinsured motorist coverage and UM is an acronym for uninsured motorist coverage. UM coverage is for when a driver who negligently causes an injury has no insurance coverage. UIM coverage is for when a driver who negligently causes an injury has less coverage than your UIM limit. Your maximum UIM and UM coverage limits are the liability limits that you have on your auto policy. For example, if you have a single limit insurance coverage of $300,000 then you are entitled to have UIM and UM coverage up to $300,000. Having UIM coverage of $300,000 means that if a motorist has a minimum policy of $15,000 and they negligently injure you in a car crash your total recovery can be as much is $300,000. You would be entitled to the policy limits of $15,000 from the driver whose negligence injured you and an additional $285,000 from your own insurance company based on your UIM coverage. Obviously, your injuries would need to warrant a recovery up to $300,000. We strongly recommend everyone to maintain the maximum amount of UIM and UM coverage that is afforded under their policy. In New Jersey the premium for this coverage is very inexpensive. The premium you pay for auto liability insurance covers those who you may injure and the UIM and UM premium covers those who may injure you or your family members. In many respects, it's the most important insurance coverage you can provide for your family. If you are unsure about your automobile insurance policy and whether you have the maximum amount of UIM and UM coverage, help is but a phone call away. Our firm provides a free auto insurance policy checkup. We are more than happy to sit down with our clients and friends and review their auto insurance policies with them. There is no cost and no obligation for this service. To arrange a free auto insurance review or personal injury consultation with DeMichele & DeMichele, please click here to contact us online today or call (856) 546-1350 to speak with one of our personal injury attorneys.