New York Auto Accident Lawyer Warns Motorists: Don't Be Penny Wise and Pound Foolish With Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

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New York auto accident lawyer Michael S. Levine issued a strong warning today to all motorists in the State of New York to check their insurance policies to be sure they have adequate uninsured and supplemental underinsured coverage in the event of a serious injury caused by an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver.

My client was struck by a driver who was pulling his car into a bay to have it serviced

New York auto accident lawyer Michael S. Levine issued a strong warning today to all motorists in the State of New York to check their insurance policies to be sure they have adequate uninsured and supplemental underinsured coverage in the event of a serious injury caused by an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver.

"One of the hardest things in my profession," Levine said, "is to have to tell a client that the person who caused their accident either has no insurance, or only has the $25,000 minimum liability coverage required by law in New York State.

"If the driver," Levine continued, "or the passengers, sustain catastrophic injuries as a result of an accident with an underinsured vehicle, $25,000 may not even scratch the surface in terms of adequately compensating the victim for his, or her, pain and suffering."

A bill pending in the New York State Assembly (SO4705) would require motor vehicle insurance providers to provide their insureds with uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage that is equal to the amount of the insured's liability coverage. Presently, an insured may have adequate liability coverage, only to find out, after an accident with either an uninsured or underinsured motorist, that he or she has inadequate uninsured or underinsured coverage to fairly compensate the driver for his or her injuries.

"If this bill passes it will help lift the shroud of secrecy surrounding this important issue," Levine said. "But more would still need to be done by the carriers themselves to help make every motorist in the state aware of the benefits of adequate uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

Levine explained that insurance companies, which are required by law to provide their insured's with at least $25,000 of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, make a minimal profit on these supplemental programs, so there is little, or no, business incentive to push the coverage on their policyholders.    

"Any driver," Levine said, "who doesn't have at least $100,000 worth of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, if not more, is being penny wise and pound foolish. They need to know that these coverages are a minimal added expense in any automobile policy."

A recent study by the Insurance Research Council estimates that 14% of drivers nationwide, and 7% of drivers in New York State, are uninsured.

As such, Levine warns that motorists should never put themselves, or their families, in a position where if serious injuries are sustained in a motor vehicle accident, all they can recover is $25,000.

"Most drivers," he said, "assume wrongly that every driver on the road is sufficiently covered by automobile insurance. That is not even close to being the case. Unfortunately, most people realize that they didn't buy enough UM/SUM coverage when it's too late, after they've been seriously injured in an accident by a driver who is either uninsured, or has only minimum insurance."

To further illustrate his point, Levine pointed to a case he settled recently involving a 16-year-old boy who was working part time at a Jiffy Lube on Long Island.

"My client was struck by a driver who was pulling his car into a bay to have it serviced," Levine said. "The boy sustained very serious injuries to his leg and needed invasive surgery. The car that struck him only had a $25,000 policy. My client's parent's car only had $25,000 in SUM coverage. Even after surgery, his leg injury could cause him problems for the rest of his life. But because his parents didn't have enough underinsured coverage, my client was only able to receive $25,000 for his injuries, which is a completely inadequate outcome. I see these regrettable situations repeat themselves time and again."

Contact: Rich Jachetti, 914-318-4656

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