How Much Insurance

How Much Insurance

Scott Pryor Law Firm specializes in personal injury cases, resulting from tragic auto, tractor trailer, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents. If you could be a fly on the wall in Scott's office, you might be shocked and appalled by some of the stories you would hear. The following are four examples that demonstrate the magnitude of the cases this law firm handles.

A lady was texting on her phone when she pulled out in front of another car. The gentlemen, without time to react, t-boned her vehicle. She had $50,000 in coverage and his policy limit was $25,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance; however, his original medical bills alone totaled around $90,000. This figure does not include specialist visits, follow-up care, lost wages, pain and suffering, or medication. At the end of the day, the total amount of insurance money available to him was $75,000.

A little girl was struck by a large SUV on a day that happened to fall between policies for a motorist switching his insurance coverage. The girl's family had an uninsured/underinsured policy amount of $25,000. The young girl had multiple surgeries with bills that mounted to be immensely greater than the insurance coverage available.

A driver crashed into a young motorcyclist, and both the man and his bike were slammed viciously into a guardrail, mangling his arm and leg. The driver carried $100,000 in coverage, which is far more than most people carry, and the motorcyclist's policy covered an additional, meager $25,000. To his dismay, the cyclist's original medical bills topped $700,000. Plus, the young man will need additional surgeries and treatment. He is not working and is trying to learn how to walk again. Recently, his employer released him, and his health benefits are now gone.

In 2010, a wife and mother of two was killed when a commercial vehicle came speeding through a red light. Her twelve-year-old daughter was in the car and tried to wake her mom after the crash, but her efforts were futile. Scott represented the family against the trucking company and set a record of the highest settlement for a case in that county. While not even policy limits will replace the loss of life, Scott travels all across the United States to represent families who have been affected by wrongful death cases involving at-fault commercial vehicles.

No possible way could exist to completely repair the damage and loss caused by these types of accidents, but the financial repercussions in all of these situations could have been softened if the parties involved had been properly insured. Every one of these clients said the same thing: "I never thought it would happen to me."

On a regular basis, about 98 percent of the people with whom Scott crosses paths are underinsured, and the worst part is that they have no idea. When clients come to him with exorbitant medical bills, he is forced to explain that their $25,000 insurance policy combined with the at-fault party's $25,000 policy will barely scratch the surface. Baffled and devastated, he or she may ask, "Why didn't my insurance company explain this to me?" Scott Pryor Law Firm's job is to collect insurance monies and then negotiate down the massive medical bills while trying to get the injured person some compensation for his or her damages. This is challenging, but Scott and his staff love to help their clients who become like extended family members. The job of explaining insurance coverage often falls on Scott also, so the following is an outline of how car insurance actually works:

THE REALITIES TO UNDERSTAND

"Full coverage" does not mean that you are fully covered. If you are hurt in an accident, you first turn to the party at fault. If his or her insurance policy does not fully cover the expenses, you then go to your own insurance policy to tap into your uninsured/underinsured coverage, if you have it. You can also access another relative's insurance if he or she is living with you and has a separate policy. If those funds are insufficient and expenses still remain, your only option is to go after the personal assets of the at-fault driver; however, if there are no assets, the remaining costs fall squarely on your shoulders. One important thing to note is that you may not go after both someone's insurance and their personal assets. You must choose, but the choice is usually made for you based on the coverage available.

Many people seem to think that there is a big, magic pot of money and that if insurance does not cover everything, they simply sue or dip into this fund. However, insurance is usually the only source to cover the costs of an accident because people who carry insufficient insurance do not typically have a lot of assets to go after. If they did, they would have protected them. The flip side is that if you are carrying the minimum coverage and you hurt someone, you open yourself up to being sued. Most people do not understand that they are not protected, and most insurance companies do not clearly explain this to their customers.

Are you carrying a $25,000 policy, believing you are truly, fully covered?

WHAT TO DO RIGHT NOW?

First, understand your policy by finding your declarations page, which shows your coverage. Call and ask your insurance company to explain the details of this page to you and what the numbers mean. If you find that 25/50 is listed on your “dec” page, this is not a good sign!

Second, get maximum coverage in case you hurt someone. Also, obtain maximum uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If someone with little to no insurance hits and injures you and you do not carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, there is very little, if anything, we can do to get you the money you need.

Third, get medical payments coverage added to your policy. Medical payments coverage will provide you with funds to pay medical expenses for yourself and, should you be at fault and injure a passenger, the other person as well. Medpay is inexpensive and, no matter if you are at fault or not, will pay out automatically for medical bills. Most states require people to carry this; unfortunately, Georgia does not have this requirement.

Fourth, add an umbrella policy. This is additional coverage that can be obtained for a relatively small amount of money, and it picks up where your insurance leaves off. For instance, if the aforementioned, injured motorcyclist had an umbrella policy for one million dollars, that would have been added to the at-fault driver's policy of $100,000 as well as his uninsured/underinsured coverage of $25,000. This would have paid for his remaining surgeries and helped with his lost wages and follow-up care. Some umbrella policies cost less than $50 a month.

WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT?

First, always call the police to file a report. Exchanging insurance information is good but does not determine fault and other critical factors. You may not be given accurate insurance information, and many times people do not report the accident to their insurance company. A police report allows you to establish a record of the accident and the parties involved. The police will also verify that the other driver has insurance and obtain the necessary details for that policy.

Second, get checked out by an appropriate medical provider immediately following the accident. Keep in mind that your adrenaline will be pumping, you might be in shock, and many times you may not even realize the full extent of your injuries. Commonly, symptoms from an accident can show up a week, two, or even longer after the event. When talking to your medical provider, make a thorough inventory of all the problems you are experiencing. Have a close friend or family member help you recall all of your symptoms. You will be under a lot of stress from the accident, and many times your memory will be foggy from it all. Most insurance companies comb over medical record intakes, and if you failed to mention a certain injury, they can use that as an excuse not to pay for the legitimate treatment of the injury.

Third, if you are injured through no fault of your own, seek legal help immediately. Handling the insurance companies on your own is not easy because they make their money by paying you as little as possible, if nothing at all, so they will try to build a case against you from the beginning. At Scott Pryor Law Firm, your biggest job is to get better; we are a firm dedicated to our clients, handling the insurance logistics for them. Program Scott's cell number into your iPhone today (770.560.3101.)

On a special note, if you are injured by a tractor trailer, semi-truck, box truck, or commercial vehicle, a different set of laws and rules apply. These are special cases that are extremely time sensitive. Scott may need to get an accident reconstructionist on the scene immediately in order to preserve the much needed evidence, so immediate contact is vital. It is important to retain an attorney that specializes in personal injury because handling insurance companies is tricky and the laws are always changing. Scott Pryor Law Firm handles these types of cases regularly.

Settlements are sometimes heartbreaking when we cannot obtain for clients as much as they need. For this reason, we take the time to inform clients now that carrying the proper insurance could really help to lessen the financial hardships they could encounter in the event that they or their loved ones are hurt in an accident. The phone call to increase your insurance policy limits should not wait until the "tomorrow" that never comes.

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