2 min read
Help! They didn't have insurance! Solution: Uninsured Motorist Benefits
C. Jeremy Lagasse, Esq. Jun 15, 2020 12:00:00 AM
Scenario: you and your loved ones are coming home from a great day. You are minding your business, driving normally and savoring the drive. While on the road, someone else loses control of their vehicle and crashes into you, causing a terrible collision. In an instant, things have changed for the worse; you and/or your passengers are horribly injured. It turns out, the other driver is at fault BUT has done more than risk your lives - they don't have insurance.
In the scenario above, sorry to say, you must rely on YOUR OWN insurance for your liability claims (excess medical, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, etc.). This can end up being cold comfort when looking at months or years of treatment and recovery. Such a situation implies very expensive medical bills and substantial income loss. Perhaps you or a loved one is facing the prospect of life never returning to normal. These are awful, tragic circumstances.
So, what should you do?
The time to plan is NOW! Contact your insurance agent and, among other options, discuss increasing your UNINSURED MOTORIST BENEFITS. Under Minnesota Law, all valid policies of automobile insurance come with what are called Uninsured Motorist Benefits ("UM"). This coverage exists SPECIFICALLY to address the problem of the 10%+ drivers that FAIL to have insurance while operating a motor vehicle in Minnesota (https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-uninsured-motorists).
When we think of insurance, it is often about protecting ourselves from a mistake or failing we are responsible for so that our assets and livelihood are not on the line every time we get behind the wheel. But the law foresaw bad actors who would risk the lives and livelihoods of others, so the law requires policies to include this coverage. However, the minimum required coverage in Minnesota is $25,000/$50,000 (per person/per accident total coverage). Minn. Stat. § 65B.49, subd. 3a.
What will $25,000 pay for after someone has been in a terrible crash? In all seriousness: not much. In the scenario above, most people would say that NO AMOUNT OF MONEY is enough.
Call your agent today and explore your options for MORE coverage. The tragic situations we have helped people through gives us the perspective to know how spending a little more each month can potentially protect you and your loved ones from the consequences of someone else's failings. If the time comes, and we hope it doesn't, you will be glad you took proactive steps.
And of course, if you or someone you know is in an accident, regardless of your coverage, please contact one of our talented attorneys who, with the help of dedicated staff, work tirelessly to help our clients in the pursuit of justice.