Why You Need Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage

June 7th, 2010

Will you be covered if you get into a collision? If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM / UIM), chances are good that the answer is “YES.” Most attorneys and auto insurance industry experts recommend this type of insurance coverage, but many drivers do not have it. You might think that because your state requires drivers to be  insured, most people are. However, according to the Insurance Research Council, the estimated number of uninsured drivers in Florida is almost 1 out of 4 drivers.

Consider that when the economy is down, people are looking for ways to cut costs and some people let their insurance lapse.  Also consider that even if people have some insurance, the limits may be too low to cover your financial hardship after an accident.  This is why we urge all of our clients, friends, and family members to purchase this valuable coverage and ask that it be “stacked.”

What is UM or UIM Coverage?
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can pay for injuries to you and your passengers, when there is an accident and the other driver is both legally responsible for the accident and considered “uninsured” or “underinsured.”

An uninsured driver is someone who does not have any insurance, has insurance that does not meet state-mandated minimum liability requirements, or whose insurance company denied their claim or was not financially able to pay it. A hit-and-run driver also counts as uninsured as it relates to bodily injury that you may have incurred.

An underinsured driver is someone who has insurance that meets minimum legal requirements, but does not have payment limits high enough to pay for the damage caused by the accident. In these situations, UM or UIM can pay you for your damages.

“Stacking” UM or UIM coverages may allow your coverage limits to stack onto other UIM or UM policies and thereby multiplying your coverage limits. 
It’s usually relatively inexpensive to add UM / UIM coverage to your car insurance, especially considering the amount of protection it offers. It could pay your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If someone hits you or your car and is legally responsible for the damages, you won’t get any money from them if they don’t have money to give you. Especially during times when people are struggling economically, many drivers either do not have insurance or do not have enough insurance. If you have UM/UIM, you can get financial assistance even if the other driver doesn’t have enough to cover the accident.

The Myth of “Full Coverage”
Many insurance agents may claim to sell you “full coverage” insurance and as such, you may believe you are indeed “fully” covered when you are in a collision.  Do not believe these claims.  There is no such thing as “full coverage.” What “full coverage” usually means is that the agent selling you their product is selling the minimum that is required under Florida Law.    There are many insurance products out there that will give you additional and necessary protection when you are injured.  The one we feel is very important to add to your policy is the “stacked” UM/UIM coverage.
Insurance coverages and products could be made more consumer friendly but the Insurance Industry fights hard against any regulation on their products. 

We will gladly to review your automobile insurance coverages for you at no charge or obligation.  Just bring in your entire automobile insurance policy including declarations page(s) and we will explain what coverages the policy contains.  

– Chris Lindbaek

Waiting for the Verdict…

June 2nd, 2010

 

March 18, 2010 Viera, Florida

8:30 AM
There are very few things more nerve racking for Trial Attorneys than waiting for a Jury’s Verdict.  Today is that day.  The jury got the case yesterday about 3 O’clock.  Today is about waiting.  The Trial lasted 8 days.  I feel that we did a great job.  We picked a very attentive jury panel.  The jury seemed to listen to everything that was said.  Now comes the long wait.  We already packed up and shipped back the 15 file boxes and a large amount of demonstrative exhibit.  The court room is empty except for the two defense attorneys and myself.  Nobody is talking about what the jury will do, but no doubt it is all that we are thinking about.

11:30 AM
It’s almost lunch time and the Court Sheriff’s deputy is ordering the jury lunch.  I jokingly offer to pay for lunch IF the deputy tells the jury who paid for their lunch.  The two defense attorneys laugh.  Tension is lessened but its there.  One of the defense attorneys packs up and leaves for another case in another town.  We exchange pleasantries and wishes of good luck.  During trial we were enemies and had moments of open hostility but now the fight is over, and the Jury is in charge.  Our jobs are done for now.

2:00PM
It’s about 2 o’clock.  I ask the remaining defense attorney if he wants to grab a soda together down at the café.  He says he’d love to.  We discuss other cases and ideas.  We finally broach the subject of what he thinks the jury will do.  I tell him they are discussing the amount they are going to award my client.  He thinks not.  He thinks he has a Defense oriented juror who is not budging.  I tell him that the juror that he is thinking about is not the one.  She smiled at me during closing.  If he had a juror on his side it was probably someone else.   He disagreed but then again we both knew neither of us really had any clue about what the Jury was discussing.  In fact, I didn’t really know why the juror smiled at me. That is why waiting for the Verdict is so nerve racking.

3:30 PM
I have lived with this case for over 4 years.  My client is now a friend who I am openly rooting for.  The verdict is his future.  Our Firm spent nearly $100K on bringing this case to trial.  Probably a 1000 hours of our lives were in the jury’s hands.   What is going on?  Are we going to go into Day 3 of deliberations?

3:45 PM
The Judicial Assistant calls.  The Verdict is in.  Get back to the Courtroom.

3:55 PM

The Verdict is read aloud.  The Defendant was Negligent.  My Client was only 5% negligent.  Here are the damages…Big numbers…$1,378 million…Justice delivered.  The Defense attorney is stunned.  He polls the jury.  They all agree without any reservation.  The Judge thanks the jurors for their services.  My eyes are straight ahead.  The Judge thanks us for our work at trial and during the years of litigation.   I walk out with the defense attorney and he is already mentally preparing his Motion for a New Trial. 

4:30 PM to 7 PM

Cell phone is off the hook with congratulations.  Word is out.  I have a big call to make.  My client.  I congratulate him.  It is after all, his verdict.  He says he wants a copy of the verdict.  He asks what it means.  I say it means the jury agreed with you.  They took your side.  Justice prevailed.