Experienced Legal Team Fighting for Victims of Underinsured Motorists in Upstate New York
New York, like virtually all other states, requires the owner of any motor vehicle to maintain at least minimal levels of liability insurance to protect third parties that may suffer injuries and property damage in a highway accident. According to the Insurance Information Institute, New Yorkers, for the most part, do pretty well in that department. Just five percent of New York vehicles are uninsured while, on a national level, more than 12 percent of all vehicles are without insurance. Truth be know, however, while most New Yorkers are insured, many of them are nonetheless underinsured. Are you one of them?
NY’s Minimum Insurance Limits
Underinsurance comes about because New York’s minimum insurance requirement, like the minimum requirements of most other states, is really quite modest. As you should know, New York requires the owner or operator of a motor vehicle to maintain at least the following levels of liability insurance coverage on the vehicle:
- $25,000 per person personal injury protection (PIP)
- $50,000 per person for wrongful death protection
- $50,000 total per accident for PIP
- $100,000 total per accident wrongful death protection
- $10,000 per occurrence property damage
Uninsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage
New York also requires that all automobile liability policies include uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence. This coverage “kicks in” in a number of situations, including the following:
- Where the at-fault driver is without liability insurance
- Where the at-fault vehicle is not registered, or is stolen, or driven without the owner’s permission
- Where the at-fault driver leaves the scene of the accident (i.e., a hit and run) and cannot be identified
Serious Accidents Quickly “Consume” Minimum Insurance Funds
While most minor vehicle accidents fall within the parameters of New York’s no-fault law, any serious accident involving significant injuries can quickly eat up a minimum level auto policy. For example, consider the fact that according to one recent report, the average inpatient hospitalization cost per day in New York is $2,200. That amount does not include the cost of surgery, the cost of care provided by physicians and others, nor does it include intensive care costs, which can be staggering. According to one recent National Institute of Health study, the average cost of a typical stay in an intensive care unit exceeds $40,000.
Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage
That is why prudent vehicle owners should secure additional “underinsured” motorist coverage. This coverage kicks in when the at-fault driver or drivers do not have enough auto insurance to cover all of the damages they cause. By law, your insurance carrier must offer Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists (“SUM”) coverage in amounts up to the bodily injury liability limits of an insured’s own policy. Insurers may offer higher SUM limits if they wish.
Have You or a Family Member Been Injured in a Serious Auto Accident?
If you (or a family member) have been injured in an vehicle crash, you owe it to yourself or your loved one to make sure that the person responsible pays appropriate levels of damages, including pain and suffering. Establishing liability can be a complex process. There are time limits within which your claim must be filed, so delay can defeat your claim, even if the equities are on your side. Retaining a skilled, experienced attorney is often the key to recovery.
The law firm of E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy is one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Capital District. We are among the top rated lawyers in the country, achieving the highest ratings from both client groups and our peers. We have been representing clients for more than 125 years. Our firm has the experience and resources to help you establish your claim and negotiate the best possible settlement. Call us now at (518) 284-3183 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, even on holidays.