If you have been injured in a car wreck, you may have already heard the term policy limits being thrown around by the insurance adjusters and lawyers.
What does that mean, and how does it affect your claim?
Insurance is not infinite. There is a set amount designated as the most a carrier will pay out on a claim. The number varies depending on the type of coverage.The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. will be happy to assist you in figuring it out if you were injured in an accident and are trying to recover your medical expenses from an at fault driver.
Policy limits are presented as two numbers. Missouri law has set the minimum amount of liability coverage at 25/50, so let’s use that as our example. If you are hurt in an accident where the driver has opted for the minimum amount of liability insurance, then regardless of the amount of your bills, his insurance company is only obligated to pay out $25,000. This is a per person amount for bodily injury. Unless he has other assets, there may not be much else you can do to him.
The second number, 50, is per accident. So if a driver runs a red light and causes a wreck that injures 5 people, the insurance company will only pay out up to $50,000. It can be complicated trying to work this all out with the other drivers’ insurance company, which is why we recommend utilizing a car accident attorney.
What if your medical expenses totaled $50,000 and their policy limit is $25,000? Fortuantely, Missouri also has a minimum 25/50 law for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. You are allowed to file a claim against your own insurance company to make up the difference.
St. Louis Car Crashes
A smart Nodaway County motorist opted for higher uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. When he was struck by another vehicle in an intersection, the cost of his injuries exceeded the $25,000 liability policy of the other driver by $59,000. Not including the cost of his future care as a result of permanent disability. His own insurance company agreed to a $500,000 settlement amount on top of the $25,000 that had been paid by the at-fault drivers insurance company. The fact that he had the foresight to prepare for a worse case scenario not only ensured that the medical bills were paid, but that he was also compensated for future expenses. Had he not, he would have been left with a debilitating injury and a hospital bill balance of $9,000.
When considering the amount of coverage you need, consider all of your assets and make sure your policy limits equal or exceed them.
There are other options available to you besides just what a liable motorist can be forced to pay. If you sense that his insurance will be inadequate in relation to your expenses, consult with a St. Louis car crash attorney before giving up.
Injured in a car accident?
Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242
Car accident rates for people between the ages of 16 to 19 are higher than in any other age group. In the United States, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers.
A 2008 study on Missouri car accidents reports that there were 195 fatalities associated with a driver between the ages of 15 to 20. When their inexperience is coupled with distractions or road hazards, it is probable that a crash will take place. If you were injured in an accident with a minor driver bring your case to a Missouri car accident attorney. If they were reckless or negligent with their driving, you are entitled to recover the damages caused.
Lack of Skill and Experience
The most obvious factor with a teenage driver is their lack of skill. While they are tested before being granted a license to drive, those tests do very little to prepare you for real life circumstances. While you will probably not be able to file a claim based solely on inexperience, you may be able to against the owner of the car if it can be proved that they knew that the driver posed a risk to others.
The Danger of Over Confidence
Speaking of risk, teenagers love to take them, especially boys. The license gives them an over confidence and they feel compelled to take risks to test the limits. Speeding, tailgating, and making illegal turns are just a few ways in which they will do that. A 63 year old St. Louis resident was severely hurt when a teenager took the risk of making a quick left turn. Without enough time to react, the elderly man struck the vehicle causing him to sustain injuries so severe that he required hospitalization for months. The insurance carrier for the teenager settled the case for $2.15 million.
Distracted driving is another risky behavior that teenagers tend to participate in. Studies conducted just this December show that 11 deaths occur every day as a result of texting and driving. Most of which are caused by teenagers. As we close out the year 2013, there have been over 300,000 accidents and 3,000 teenage fatalities directly related to text messaging. It has replaced drunk driving as the leading cause of accident fatalities. If you have reason to believe that the teenager who caused your accident was sending text messages at the time, you should consult with a Missouri car accident attorney immediately. With a problem like this that has grown to such epidemic proportions, we need to send a zero tolerance message to those who choose to risk our lives.
Youth and inexperience should not discourage an injured individual from seeking compensation after an accident. In fact, it is a disservice to not hold a teenager liable for their actions. Keep in mind that they have years of driving ahead of them. The sooner they learn that reckless behavior has consequences, the sooner they will begin to drive in a safe manner. Consult with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C.at (314) 361-4242 if you were recently injured in a crash with a teenager. You have a right to collect compensation, and an obligation to hold them accountable.
There is no question that texting while driving puts yourself and others at risk of a car accident.
There is an abundance of information published about the risk of doing so. As a result, many states have taken action and banned texting while driving completely. Missouri is not one of them.
In 2009 the Missouri legislature focused their attention on young drivers when they banned texting while driving for anyone under 21. This means that Missouri is one of only six states to allow drivers 21 and older to text and drive legally. Some feel that banning drivers under 21 from texting and driving is sufficient. However, the reality is that adults text and drive almost as much as teens.
One study showed that 15% of younger drivers have reported seeing their parents text while driving. And while 34% of teens say they have texted while driving, 27% of adults admitted to sending or receiving text messages while behind the wheel. Clearly the issue lies, not only with young drivers, but with all drivers, young and old.
Texting and driving is not something to be taken lightly. In fact, one report claims that in 2011 23% of auto collisions, around 1.3 million, involved cell phone use. It is also reported that 5 seconds is the minimal amount of time you take your attention away from the road when you are texting. This means that if you are driving around 55 MPH, you would drive the length of a football field without looking at the road. Since texting makes a car crash almost 23 times more likely, it is advisable to never text and drive.
St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
Texting and driving is dangerous no matter what age a person is. If you have been injured in car accident because another driver was texting and driving, contactThe Hoffmann Law Firmright away. Since 1998, we have been successfully securing judgments for victims of auto accidents in Missouri. When our team takes your case, you can be certain everything will be done to protect your rights and get you the full compensation you are entitled to.
Call us today at (314) 361-4242 to schedule a free consultation.
Pedestrian accidents often injure those who are most vulnerable — school children walking to and from school, or elderly persons trying to cross busy streets. Another common type of pedestrian accident occurs when a car hits a pedestrian in the crosswalk because the driver is looking at traffic, and not at the pedestrian.
Pedestrian accidents are almost always very serious. As a result, it’s extremely important to obtain full financial compensation so the injured person can receive the medical care and rehabilitation services they will need.
Ensuring You Get Maximum Compensation for Your Injuries
To speak with an experienced trial lawyer about your pedestrian accident, call (314) 361-4242or fill out our online contact form. We offer free consultations in all personal injury cases and you never pay attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you.
It is important to be prepared before a car accident occurs.
The steps you take when you are involved in a car accident may sound very simple on paper. The reality is when you are involved in a car accident, it is very easy to panic and forget what correct steps to take. Failure to obtain the correct information could result in financial loss. Panicing and fleeing the scene could get you into legal trouble. Therefore, it is important to be prepared ahead of time, so that if you are involved in an accident, you know what to do.
Make a List It is a great idea to keep a checklist of things to do after an accident. You could write this checklist down and put it in your glove compartment or keep the list digitally on your cell phone. As previously mentioned, the steps may seem pretty straightforward, but making sure you take every necessary action will benefit you greatly in the long run.
Collect as Much Information as Possible Cell phones can be of great assitance when you are involved in an accident. Without making a big deal, it may be a good idea to use your cell phone to take a picture of the other driver’s license plate and even the driver themself. This may help in proving that you were in an accident with that car and driver.
In addition, write down details about the accident. Take note of the physcial description of the other driver and vehicle, including the vehicle’s make, model, color, and other details. Write down how the accident occurred and what damage resulted. Call the police and pass this information along to them.
Approach any witnesses who may have seen the accident and ask for their name and contact information. Accident witnesses often prove to be very valuable.
Drive Safely While car accidents are often not compeltely avoidable, you can avoid being the cause of an accident by being a safe driver. Avoiding distractions, driving the speed limit, and obeying traffic laws are just a few simple ways that you can avoid being the cause of an auto accident.
If you been involved in a car accident in Missouri, contact The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. Our St. Louis car accident lawyers have a proven track record of getting results for our clients in Missouri and Illinois.