The number one thing we hear when we meet a new client is, “I never expected to be here.” No one ever expects to be a victim, and we pray you never are, but we live by the mantra: pray for the best, plan for the worst. Should the time come when our services are needed, we want to make sure you are prepared. That is why we have compiled this List of Top Must Do’s we hope will educate folks so as to eliminate the more common mistakes we see.
The first Must-Do is arguably the least followed, and results in the saddest of outcomes. Here is the far too common scenario: we meet with a new client about a recent car wreck, and learn how the clear negligence of someone else has catastrophically injured the client or a loved one. After investigating the case and gathering all the relevant insurance information, we learn there is not enough insurance to cover the costs of their injuries and damages. Making matters worse, the individual or entity that caused the personal injury lacks the necessary resources to pay for the claim.
In car wreck cases, we examine two key types of automobile insurance policies. The first policy we examine is the negligent driver’s policy, specifically the portion called “liability insurance.” Generally, for a person in Georgia, the law requires a driver to maintain a minimum of $25,000. Far too often, $25,000 is the total amount of liability insurance available in the catastrophic cases. When that happens, we will next turn to our client’s insurance to examine the portion of their policy most commonly referred to as the “Uninsured/Underinsured” or “UM” portion of the policy. The UM portion of the policy is designed to protect you when someone hurts you in a wreck and either (1) has no insurance or (2) does not have enough insurance to cover the extent of your injuries. Unlike liability insurance, which provides coverage for other people, UM insurance is designed to be the coverage safety net for you. With UM coverage, you have the ability to control how much protection you and your family will have should the unforeseeable happen.
Far too often, however, we meet with new clients who have elected to “reject” the UM coverage because it saved them a few dollars in their monthly premium. While we sympathize with the desire to save money where possible, the minimal savings gained by rejecting UM coverage are greatly outweighed by the pain we see when a family has medical bills in the six-figures and the negligent driver only has $25,000 of insurance to cover them.
Bottom line, do not let other people decide how much protection you and/or your family will need. Make sure you protect yourself and your family by having UM coverage. The cost is often significantly cheaper than liability insurance, even for limits as high as $100,000 or $250,000.