Archive for December, 2010

DEMAND EQUAL PROTECTION

December 22, 2010

By: Dennis R. Stout

Equal protection is a clever and timely catch phrase and legal issue in these times of gay rights and mandatory health care. The issue also arises in the purchase and maintenance of UM/UIM (uninsured and underinsured) motorist coverage in the State of California.

 Following up on the prior blog re: UM/UIM coverage, automobile liability insurance or proof of financial responsibility is required on any vehicle operated in the State of California. Minimum requirements are $15,000.00 for injury/death to one person; $30,000.00 for injury/death to more than one person; and $5,000.00 for damage to property. By purchasing the minimum coverage or any greater insurance coverage limits, the driver/owner is protecting the interest of others, should they sustained injury or damage. But what about equally protecting yourself?

Uninsured motorist/underinsured coverage is not mandated. If you are injured in an automobile accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver, are you protected? You must have the proper coverage and the proper limits of coverage to equally protect yourself.

To purchase automobile liability insurance coverage only, a waiver is required of UM/UIM coverage. If you carry greater liability coverage than the minimum limits requirements in California (15/30/5) you definitely need UM/UIM coverage. With liability limits in larger amounts, to carry UM/UIM coverage in less than limits of $30,000.00 per person/ $60,000.00 per event, another waiver is required.

To make a long and complicated story short, drivers of vehicles in the State of California need to protect themselves equally by acquiring UM/UIM coverage in limits equal to the liability coverage limits they purchase to protect others. Waivers can be complicated in insurance purchases but, insurance claims, litigation for personal injuries and damages, and not having the proper insurance coverage and limits of coverage can be an even more complicated process.

Protect yourself with equal coverage and limits that you protect others! Check your automobile insurance policy(s) with your agent. All automobile liability issues, insurance claims, and other injury matters can be handled by competent legal counsel. Heiting & Irwin in Riverside, CA can and will handle all your insurance and injury claims to conclusion. Contact us at any time you are in need of assistance.

PROTECTING YOURSELF WITH UM/UIM COVERAGE

December 7, 2010

By Sara B. Morgan, Esq.

California requires all motor vehicle operators to maintain liability insurance with limits of at least $15,000. What happens if your injuries in an auto accident exceed that coverage?

Uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policies may help. They provide coverage for you, in case you are in an accident caused by a driver with no or little liability insurance. If the other driver has no insurance, and is thus “uninsured,” your insurance company compensates you for your bodily injuries and property damage, up to an including the amount of your policy.

An underinsured policy applies where the other driver has very little liability insurance, but your bodily injuries and property damage exceed that amount. Perhaps the other driver only has the state-mandated minimum of $15,000, but your injuries exceed $50,000. In this case, the other driver is “underinsured,” meaning he/she does not have enough insurance coverage to compensate you. Here, your insurance company would compensate you for your injuries that exceed the other driver’s insurance coverage, up to and including the amount of your policy.

With the increases in the general cost of living, and especially in medical services, the minimum liability requirement of $15,000 seems woefully inadequate to fully compensate those involved in anything other than minor motor vehicle accidents. One way to protect yourself against incurring these losses is through uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance, with limits appropriate for your particular circumstances.

Another way to protect yourself is to seek the assistance of an experienced, competent personal injury attorney. The law firm of Heiting & Irwin has for over 30 years represented clients in successfully bringing all types of personal injury lawsuits, including navigating the waters of insurance claims, and we are readily available to provide you with assistance. Please call us today if you need help.