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The Stealey Law Firm Blog

Monday, February 25, 2013

Tire Safety Hazards

5 Tire Safety Hazards

Proper maintenance of your vehicle is an important step toward ensuring your safety on the road. Tire failures at high speeds can result in vehicle rollovers, serious injuries and death. Below are five safety hazards to watch out for; the presence of any of these conditions can indicate that your tires should be repaired or replaced – before it is too late.

Tires Not Inflated to the Proper Air Pressure: Incorrect tire pressure compromises both the comfort and safety of your ride. Improper pressure affects braking, cornering, stability, mileage and tire life. Furthermore, tires that are not inflated to the proper pressure face a higher risk of catastrophic failure resulting in a serious accident. Low tire pressure causes increased friction and can overheat the tire, causing tread separation. The recommended tire pressure is always less than the maximum allowable pressure stated on the tire itself. Your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure can be found in the owner’s manual, or the label on the car’s driver’s side door, glove compartment or gas tank door.

Worn Tread: If the tread on your tires has worn down, you are at an increased risk of a blowout or hydroplaning accident.  Additionally, worn tread may indicate a more serious problem, such as improper balance, suspension or alignment. Finally, tires with worn tread are more likely to be underinflated, affecting steering, braking and mileage, and causing further safety risks due to improper air pressure.

Tire Repeatedly Loses Air Pressure: If you often notice that one of your tires seems low, despite the fact that you have inflated the tires to the proper pressure, this could indicate a leak. There may be a small puncture in the tire’s tread, perhaps caused by driving over a nail, or it may be caused by a poor seal between the tire and rim or a damaged valve. These problems can often be repaired, rather than having to replace the tire. Ignoring the problem can lead to a sudden drop in tire pressure while on the road, which can result in a blowout or loss of control.

Bulge in the Sidewall: Any budge, regardless of size, indicates that the tire’s integrity has been compromised and the tire should be replaced immediately. This could be due to an impact with a curb or pothole. When such a bulge occurs, the steel belts inside the tire have weakened and can no longer ensure safe operation of the vehicle. Care should also be taken to ensure that the impact that caused the tire bulge did not also cause damage to the wheel itself.

Old Tires/Vehicles in Storage: If your tires are old or the vehicle has been immobile for a lengthy period of time, the tires may be affected by a form of “dry rot.” Regardless of how climate-controlled the storage environment is, tires that sit for extended periods will weaken over time until they are unsafe for travel. Similarly, old tires will show signs of degradation. You can identify this problem by examining the tire for small cracks in the tire’s sidewall. If any cracks are present, the tire should be replaced.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Pros and Cons of Settling a Case

The Pros and Cons of Settling a Case

If you have been injured by the negligent actions of another, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering, permanent physical impairment or disfigurement, lost income, decreased earning capacity, property damage, or other economic losses. Deciding whether to settle a personal injury lawsuit without taking the case to trial is a major decision demanding the full consideration of many factors.

Some plaintiffs wish to settle the matter quickly, while others want to let a judge or jury determine whether damages should be awarded and how much. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option; only you can decide what is best for your specific situation but an attorney can help you put the pros and cons of each option into perspective.

The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits never see a courtroom, evidence that the benefits of early settlement are compelling to a great number of injury victims. Settling a case is often more advantageous to the injured party, rather than taking the case to trial.If you have received a settlement offer from the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company, you should review the offer with your attorney as soon as possible.

Settlement agreements have many advantages. Settling your case is much quicker than taking your case to trial, which can take up to a year – or more, depending on the jurisdiction and the complexity of the case. You can receive the money, or at least a portion of it, immediately so you can pay off your medical bills and repair property damage. Your attorneys’ fees and other legal costs are greatly reduced by avoiding protracted discovery and the trial itself. Additionally, the emotional benefits are undeniable. You have the peace of mind of knowing exactly how much money you will receive, and you can get emotional closure right away so you can move on. Finally, settlement agreements can remain confidential, whereas court proceedings are public records.

On the other hand, there are tradeoffs. In exchange for the benefits stated above, you will typically have to accept a smaller monetary award than you might get if the case goes before a judge or jury.

Taking your case to trial, letting the court decide the outcome, also has its advantages and disadvantages. If you go to trial and win, you may feel a sense of emotional satisfaction having prevailed in the lawsuit. And, as noted above, you may be awarded a much higher amount than what was offered in the settlement negotiations.

However, there is never any guarantee that you will win your case at trial, or that the amount awarded will be more than what you could have settled the case for. The value of any settlement offer or potential court verdict must be weighed against the increased costs of dragging the case out for many more months before a trial can take place. In considering your options, an experienced personal injury lawyer can provide you with a realistic assessment of whether a settlement offer is fair, and the likelihood of winning a greater award at trial.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Have You Been Injured on the Job?

Have You Been Injured on the Job? What if Your Employer Has No Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

In most states, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover workplace injuries sustained by their employees. Workers’ compensation insurance is a “no fault” system which allows every employee to receive benefits for a job-related injury, regardless of who caused the accident or illness, though intentional, self-inflicted injuries may be excluded from workers' compensation benefits. The system balances the needs of workers, who are entitled to receive prompt medical treatment for their injuries, with the needs of employers who can conduct their business operations free from the fear of being sued by an injured employee. Workers’ compensation programs can provide claimants with medical benefits and, provided certain requirements are met, temporary compensation payments until the employee is able to return to work. In certain situations, claimants may also receive permanent benefits such as job retraining or supportive medical care.

But what happens if you get hurt and your employer doesn’t have the required workers’ compensation insurance?

Regardless of whether your employer participates in a workers’ compensation insurance program, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately, to ensure you receive proper treatment and to document your injuries. Typically, an injured worker's only legal option for recovering compensation from the employer is to file a workers’ compensation claim. There are a few exceptions, however, such as when an employer intentionally causes the workplace injury, or when an employer fails to carry the required workers’ compensation insurance.

If you are injured and your employer does not participate in a workers’ compensation insurance program, there may be coverage available to you through a government fund for injured workers whose employers do not have the mandated workers’ compensation insurance. If you find yourself in this situation, check with your state’s Labor Department to find out what programs may be available in your area, and to report your employer’s non-compliance with the workers’ compensation laws.

Injured employees whose employers do not carry valid workers’ compensation coverage also have the option of filing a civil lawsuit against the uninsured employer to recover compensation for their damages. Through the civil court system, uninsured employers may have to pay substantially more in damages to cover the injured employee’s losses including medical bills, future lost earnings, and pain and suffering. In most jurisdictions, workers' compensation insurance programs limit the injured employee’s recovery by disallowing claims for “pain and suffering” or punitive damages which would be allowed in a civil lawsuit. Civil cases also differ from claims made through no-fault workers’ compensation programs in that certain legal principles may apply, such as “contributory negligence,” which can limit an employee’s recovery based on percentage of fault.

In most jurisdictions, employers who fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance are not only liable to their injured workers, but also face penalties for violating the law.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Bringing a Claim for Injuries

Bringing a Claim for Injuries When the Accident Was Partly Your Fault

In order to prevail in a personal injury case, you must be able to prove that your injuries were directly caused by the negligent actions of another. If you can prove that your injuries were at least partly caused by another, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering, permanent physical impairment or disfigurement, lost income, decreased earning capacity, property damage, or other economic losses.

If you have been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to recover compensation from anyone else who partially caused the accident, even if the accident was partly your own fault. The legal theories of “contributory negligence” and “comparative negligence” apply in cases where the plaintiff in a lawsuit was partially responsible for his or her own injuries.

“Contributory negligence” means the injured person’s actions, at least to some extent caused his or her own injuries. For example, someone who ignores a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign and subsequently slips and falls may be deemed to have been careless and, thus, at fault for his or her injuries. As such, contributory negligence can prevent the injured person from recovering any compensation, even when his or her carelessness was minor as compared to the fault of the other party. In some states, accident victims are entitled to recover compensation only if they can prove that the other party’s fault was greater.

In some jurisdictions, the concept of contributory negligence has fallen out of favor and is no longer applied. Instead, it has been replaced with the concept of “comparative negligence.” Comparative negligence means that the fault for causing an accident is compared among all parties, typically broken down as a percentage of fault attributed to each party. When this occurs, the monetary recovery awarded to the injured plaintiff is reduced by his or her percentage of fault. For example, if you were injured in a car accident that was determined to be 25% your fault, your monetary recovery from the other driver’s insurance company would be limited to 75% of the amount of your damages from the accident, an amount equal to that driver’s percentage of fault for causing the accident. By applying the concept of comparative negligence, each party is held accountable only for his or her percentage of fault for causing the injuries.

You may be deemed to be partially at fault for your injuries if you have failed to act with reasonably prudent care under the circumstances of the accident, or if you voluntarily assume a portion of the risk by exposing yourself to danger, such as by failing to use the available restraints on an amusement park ride or ignoring a posted warning sign.

The total value of your claim is based on many factors, including how easily fault can be apportioned among the parties, the seriousness of your injuries, medical treatments received and insurance coverage limits. Once the claim’s total value is established and the percentages are applied, a final figure for the injured plaintiff’s compensation can be determined.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Common Injuries in Automobile Accidents

Common Injuries in Automobile Accidents

If you have been involved in an automobile accident, you may be seriously injured and not even realize it. At least, not immediately. Serious injury can occur even in slow or low-impact collisions, and accidents which cause no damage to the vehicle. For example, accident victims can suffer from “whiplash” in collisions involving a sudden change in vehicle speed of just 2.5 miles per hour.    

Motor vehicle collision injuries range from minor cuts and scrapes to catastrophic, life-ending trauma.  Bleeding, broken bones or bruising are obvious indications that a driver or passenger has sustained an injury and needs treatment. However, there are also less-obvious injuries that are much more difficult to diagnose and treat, including myofascial injury (“whiplash”) and mild traumatic brain injury.

“Whiplash” is one of the most common auto accident injuries. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recognizes whiplash as “a range of neck injuries related to sudden distortions of the neck that commonly occur in rear-end crashes.” Specifically, this term may refer to a cervical strain, cervical sprain or hyperextension injury. Any sudden impact, even at very low speeds, can cause a whiplash injury to the ligaments, muscles and vertebrae in the neck or back, although the damage may not become apparent for several hours or days. A whiplash injury can be mild, such as a muscle strain, or more severe, including nerve or disc damage, ruptured ligaments or vertebrae fractures.

Treatments for whiplash can include ice, anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen), physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, muscle relaxants, massage therapy, or immobilization of the neck or back with a cervical collar or brace. In cases involving severe muscle or ligament damage, cervical traction or surgery may be required. Recovery time for a whiplash injury is typically between a few weeks and three months. Untreated whiplash victims can suffer lasting effects, including chronic pain, an increased susceptibility to future neck or back injuries and posture problems.

Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is a high-level concussion, defined by the Brain Injury Association of America as a “physical injury to the brain that causes a disruption of normal functioning.” MTBI involves a loss of consciousness or loss of memory before or after the accident. There are a wide range of MTBI injuries, from a temporary disruption of normal brain activity to permanent brain changes that affect how a person functions physically, mentally, emotionally and behaviorally. Early MTBI symptoms can include mild symptoms, such as headache, dizziness or confusion. In later stages, MTBI sufferers can face difficulty concentrating, irritability, anxiety, depression, fatigue or a quick temper. These later stage symptoms can be difficult to attribute to the auto accident because they only become apparent long after the injury was sustained.

In the immediate aftermath of an accident, the body’s natural physiological responses often mask the soft-tissue injuries that can occur. But once your body has had a chance to relax, you may experience a number of symptoms related to the accident, including neck and back pain, limited range of motion, muscle spasms, headaches, dizziness, difficulty maintaining balance or equilibrium, shooting pains, muscle soreness, numbness or tingling in the extremities, emotional and behavioral disturbances, or memory and concentration difficulties.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Importance of Credible Accident Reconstruction

Importance of Credible Accident Reconstruction Testimony 

If you have been injured in an automobile collision, your attorney may require the assistance of an experienced accident expert to help prove who is at fault for the accident. Generally, in order to recover any compensation for your injuries or property damage, you will have to prove that the other party was somehow negligent. Accident reconstruction experts are professionals who have obtained specialized training in order to analyze the physics of the accident scene, determine vehicle speeds and movements, and effectively communicate their findings to the court or insurance company representatives.

These professionals come from a variety of backgrounds, including science education, engineering, or law enforcement who have undertaken special training. These experts can evaluate the scene of the accident, develop calculations and assessments regarding how the accident occurred or how damages were sustained, and can testify to these facts and findings before a judge or jury. They do so by offering a variety of services, including site visits to the scene of the accident, taking photos, interviewing witnesses, applying the applicable scientific principles and preparing a final report. That report often forms basis for the expert’s testimony in court. Generally, the importance of the accident reconstructionist’s testimony is directly tied to the complexity or controversial nature of the accident in question.

Expert testimony regarding how an accident occurred is key to settlement negotiations. Using illustrations, simulations, models, animations and other methods, accident reconstructionists can show exactly what happened, how it happened, and how it could have been prevented.  Even if there are photographs of crash scenes and medical records, these can usually demonstrate the severity of the accident or damages sustained rather than proving who was at fault.

Usually, both sides hire their own reconstruction experts and, not surprisingly, those reports often conflict with one another. When this happens, the experts' credibility becomes a key issue. As in every case where there is conflicting testimony, the decision-makers must make a determination regarding which expert to believe.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When Hiring an Attorney YOU Need to Ask the Right Questions.

QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY

  1.  How many personal injury cases have you handled?
  2. What percentage of your practice is devoted to personal injury cases?
  3. What were the outcomes on these cases?
  4. What if any issues do you see with my case?
  5. How long does the process usually take?
  6. What will my costs be?
  7. Will you personally handle my case?

Remember when you are looking for a Personal Injury Attorney, you need someone who you can trust and you know has your best interest at heart.   Jim Stealey has over 31 years’ experience in this field and has a proven record.   Personal injury cases are very complex, and evaluating them is both an art as well as a skill.   That's why you need an attorney who understands this and knows his way through the maze of obstacles that insurance companies will place on your path.  Handling a personal injury case takes more than just hiring a good ad agency to put together fancy commercials that attract lots of attention.  It takes real experience.  So don't be afraid to ask the right questions to make sure the attorney you choose to handle your case is the most qualified lawyer you can find to assist you in what may be one of the most important and difficult decisions you will face.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Things to keep in mind...

TIPS ON WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE INVOLVED IN A CAR WRECK

  1.  Get help – if anyone is injured or if you are unsure, call 911.  The first hour after an injury it is crucial for medical care.
  2. Call the Police – If there is an injury or significant property damage; most states require that you call the police before you can leave the scene of an accident.
  3. Write down Information – get everyone’s contact information.  Be sure to write down names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance information on all parties involved.  Also, note the make, model and color of other vehicles and if possible write down license plate information.  The attending police officer should be able to give you this information or help you to exchange details with the other parties involved.  Do NOT be afraid to ask.
  4. Identify Witnesses – you will want to get the names and addresses of anyone who saw the accident.  Keep in mind that people usually don’t hang around after an accident, so you will want to move quickly to get your witness information.
  5. Say as Little as Possible – a good rule of thumb is not to blame the other driver, even if it was clearly their fault.  You do not want to become involved in an argument.  Make a mental note of comments the other driver and you may say and write it down as soon as possible.  Keep in mind that fault is a very complex issue and is based on facts and legalities.  The matter of fault should be left to the police officer or an attorney, if need be.
  6. Put Memories on Paper – as soon as you are able, write an account to the best of your knowledge of the accident while it is still fresh in your mind.  Try to add a sketch or diagram that shows what you believe to have happened.  You may think at the current moment that you will remember every little detail, but that’s rarely the case.
  7. Give your Insurance Company a Call – every policy requires you to notify them as soon as possible.  Unnecessary delay could result in a denial of your claim.
  8. File State Accident Report if Necessary – most state require you to file a report if someone was injured or there was significant property damage.  You can pick up a copy of this form at your local police station.
  9. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – take photos.  Today most phones have a built in camera, so when it is safe to do so use it!  This can be extremely helpful evidence if the accident has caused any injuries.  If you are unable to take the photos yourself, ask a passenger or a witness to do so for you.  Be sure to get pictures to document any and all injuries.  Don’t forget about bruising that can be caused by seatbelts.

Don’t Give the Farm Away – Acting quickly and accurately after a car wreck is vital to protecting your rights.  It can be very confusing and frustrating trying to decide fault. You may have insurance adjustors calling and requesting a statement.  It is your right before you give any statements  to have representation and if you have any questions, be sure to contact an attorney.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Noteworthy Quotes

"The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said."   Peter F. Drucker

 

"He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of a diplomat."  Robert Estabrook

 

"A Woman is the only thing I am afraid of that I know will not hurt me."  Abraham Lincoln

 

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

"I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I have'nt done."  Lucille Ball

 

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."  Audrey Hepburn

 

"Experience - is the key to results."  Jim Stealey

 

 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

To Settle or Not To Settle

The Pros and Cons of Settling a Case

If you have been injured by the negligent actions of another, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering, permanent physical impairment or disfigurement, lost income, decreased earning capacity, property damage, or other economic losses. Deciding whether to settle a personal injury lawsuit without taking the case to trial is a major decision demanding the full consideration of many factors.

Some plaintiffs wish to settle the matter quickly, while others want to let a judge or jury determine whether damages should be awarded and how much. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option; only you can decide what is best for your specific situation but an attorney can help you put the pros and cons of each option into perspective.

The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits never see a courtroom, evidence that the benefits of early settlement are compelling to a great number of injury victims. Settling a case is often more advantageous to the injured party, rather than taking the case to trial.If you have received a settlement offer from the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company, you should review the offer with your attorney as soon as possible.

Settlement agreements have many advantages. Settling your case is much quicker than taking your case to trial, which can take up to a year – or more, depending on the jurisdiction and the complexity of the case. You can receive the money, or at least a portion of it, immediately so you can pay off your medical bills and repair property damage. Your attorneys’ fees and other legal costs are greatly reduced by avoiding protracted discovery and the trial itself. Additionally, the emotional benefits are undeniable. You have the peace of mind of knowing exactly how much money you will receive, and you can get emotional closure right away so you can move on. Finally, settlement agreements can remain confidential, whereas court proceedings are public records.

On the other hand, there are tradeoffs. In exchange for the benefits stated above, you will typically have to accept a smaller monetary award than you might get if the case goes before a judge or jury.

Taking your case to trial, letting the court decide the outcome, also has its advantages and disadvantages. If you go to trial and win, you may feel a sense of emotional satisfaction having prevailed in the lawsuit. And, as noted above, you may be awarded a much higher amount than what was offered in the settlement negotiations.

However, there is never any guarantee that you will win your case at trial, or that the amount awarded will be more than what you could have settled the case for. The value of any settlement offer or potential court verdict must be weighed against the increased costs of dragging the case out for many more months before a trial can take place. In considering your options, an experienced personal injury lawyer can provide you with a realistic assessment of whether a settlement offer is fair, and the likelihood of winning a greater award at trial.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Do You Know What Kind of Auto Insurance You Have?

Atuobile Insurance: In my practice, I’ve discovered that many people are confused about their car insurance.  They have no idea what coverage they have or, for that matter, for what purpose each type of coverage is designed.  So I thought it might be helpful to give you a primer on car insurance and coverages.  Of course, I’m not an insurance guy.  If you have specific questions about your policy and your coverages, contact your insurance agent, unless your agent is, say, a Gecko or some virtual character that you’ve never met or never communicated with, in which case, good luck getting answers to your questions…

Liability coverage:  Liability coverage is designed to cover you or anyone driving your vehicle in the event of bodily injury or property damages resulting from an accident in which you or the driver of your car is at fault.  This coverage is usually expressed like this:  20/40/10, meaning $20,000 per person of bodily injury coverage; $40,000 per accident of bodily injury coverage; $10,000 of property damage coverage.  The State of West Virginia mandates that you carry 20/40/10 of liability coverage.  But for most people, that’s not sufficient.  Consider carrying at least 100/300/50 of liability coverage if you can reasonably afford it.  If you have substantial assets to protect, then you should carry more insurance than that. 

Uninsured motorist coverage:  Uninsured motorist coverage protects you, your family and the occupants of your vehicle in the event of an accident caused by another driver who has NO liability insurance coverage.  Again, coverage is often expressed in the same fashion as liability coverage, that is, 20/40/10, meaning $20,000 per person of bodily injury coverage; $40,000 per accident of bodily injury coverage; and $10,000 of property damage coverage.  Again, 20/40/10 is the state minimum.  First of all, if your car is worth more than $10,000 and you’re carrying only $10,000 of uninsured property damage coverage, then you’re in trouble.  For example, if you own a $15,000 vehicle, then you’re $5,000 in the hole, even if your company pays you the limits under your policy.  Second, if you routinely transport a number of people to and from work or school, and you carry only 20/40/10 of uninsured coverage, then you’re vastly under-insured.  Again, this is an important coverage, and it is typically not very expensive coverage.  You should buy what you can reasonably afford.

Underinsured motorist coverage:  Not to be confused with “uninsured” motorist coverage, “underinsured” motorist coverage protects you, your family and the occupants of your vehicle in the event of an accident caused by another driver who has SOME liability insurance, but not nearly enough to pay all the damages he/she caused.  For instance, another driver carrying 20/40/10 of liability coverage plows into your brand new SUV that you just purchased for $32,000.  He has $10,000 of property damage liability coverage.  So you’re now $22,000 in the hole, unless you have underinsured motorist coverage to protect you.  Or, if that same driver inflicts $100,000 worth of damages and injuries to the passengers in your vehicle, you and your passengers are already $60,000 in the hole, as he has only $40,000 total of bodily injury liability coverage, and your total damages and injuries amount to $100,000.  For some reason, people don’t carry nearly enough underinsured motorist coverage.  I really don’t understand why.  Because the law mandates minimum coverage in order to drive a car on the highway, most drivers obey the law and buy at least the minimum liability coverage of 20/40/10.  So the odds of being hit by somebody with SOME BUT NOT MUCH coverage far outweigh the odds of being hit by somebody with absolutely NO insurance.  In any event, this is an extremely important coverage that is often misunderstood and overlooked.  It is a good idea to carry at least 100/300 of uninsured and underinsured bodily injury coverage.  And it is a good idea to carry at least as much uninsured and underinsured property damage coverage as your car is worth.

Medical payments coverage:  This is coverage that pays for medical expenses for you, your family and anyone riding in your car who is involved in an accident, regardless of whose fault the accident is.  Some people don’t carry enough of this insurance, and some people carry way, way too much.  How much medical payments coverage (med pay) you carry should depend on how good your health insurance coverage is.  For example, if you have no health insurance coverage, then you probably want to carry a higher limit (maybe $25,000 or $50,000) of med pay coverage under your auto policy.  The reason is obvious…  If you are badly injured in a car wreck and have no health insurance, you may have difficulty getting the treatment you need, unless you carry med pay coverage under your auto insurance policy.  By the same token, if you have great health insurance, then you might only need to carry a minimum (say $5,000 or $10,000) of med pay coverage under your auto policy, just to take care of deductibles, co-pays and medical expenses that might not be covered under your health insurance policy.   I ran across a client of mine the other day who wasn’t rich, by any means, but she had great health insurance coverage.  Despite that, her car insurance company sold her $100,000 of med pay coverage.  Yet, she had absolutely no underinsured motorist coverage under her policy.  Thus, she was double insured for medical expenses (and only one insurance company would have ended up paying her bills), and grossly under insured for claims of lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, etc., if she were to get hit by a driver carrying only the minimum liability limits.  That makes absolutely no sense.   So, in summary, the amount of med pay coverage which is purchased under an auto policy somewhat depends on the amount of health insurance coverage that’s available to family members. 

Other coverages:  There are other coverages that can be purchased such as collision coverage (in case you cause an accident or run your car into a tree or something), comprehensive coverage (best examples of when this coverage comes into play are a broken windshield from a rock, or broken wheel and flat tire from a big pothole)and rental car insurance (paying you so much per day for a rental car if yours is out of commission due to an accident).  Collision and comprehensive coverages are often expensive, but necessary, if the car is worth a lot of money, or if there is a bank loan on the car.  I’ve always thought that rental car coverage was a good idea.  Towing is another matter.  Why pay for towing if you’re a member, say, of Triple A, or some other auto club whose membership covers towing charges?

Again, the information contained in this blog is only general in nature.  You should talk to your agent (or animal or virtual representative) about your specific needs.  But if nothing else, I hope this blog illustrates the importance of making good decisions relative to your insurance coverage in order to get maximum protection for the least amount of money.  Happy motoring…




The Stealey Law Firm is based in Parkersburg WV and serves the surrounding counties of Wood, Jackson, Wirt, Roane, Doddridge, Pleasants, Tyler, and Ritchie in the legal area of Personal Injury.



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