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Auto Insurance Protection: The SUM of all Fears

Sep 13, 2011

You are driving to an important evening meeting along the expressway, traveling at 55 miles per hour.  Suddenly, lights of another care are coming at you … and moments later you feel the jarring collision, and the deployment of the life-saving airbag which triggered upon impact.

The back, neck and knee injuries you sustain are not life-threatening, but are serious and painful, requiring surgery and ongoing therapy, and leaving you with some residual disabilities.

Unfortunately, the person driving his car down the off ramp and into your lane on the expressway was a 20-something year old drunk driver with no significant personal assets, and who carried only the minimum liability coverage required by New York law – $25,000 – woefully inadequate to compensate you for the pain, suffering, and permanent disability you have experienced.  Do you have any other recourse?

Fortunately, the McConville, Considine car accident client who found herself in this predicament had purchased Supplemental Underinsured Motorist (“SUM”) coverage as part of her own package of auto insurance.  Here is the result:

  1. The limits of our client’s SUM coverage of $100,000 was compared to the defendant’s ordinary liability coverage of $25,000, resulting in additional available coverage for this accident of $75,000.
  2. We negotiated full payment of the first $25,000 from the defendant’s insurance company.
  3. Because our client’s injuries were worth more than $25,000, we turned to the SUM coverage provided by our client’s own insurance company.  Through a series of negotiations, we obtained payment of a substantial portion of the SUM coverage for our client.  (Had negotiations been unsatisfactory, we had the right to arbitrate the additional value of our client’s claim with her own insurance company.)

While representing people injured in car accidents for more than thirty years, our litigators have observed that it is often the young, inexperienced, or reckless driver who is the person “at fault” in the accident – and who typically carries the bare minimum liability insurance coverage required by law.

Typically, SUM coverage is available from your own auto insurance company for a relatively small additional premium.  We encourage our clients to obtain SUM coverage through their insurance agents, to protect themselves and their families against the risk that the “other person” at fault in an auto accident will not have adequate insurance.

For more information about SUM coverage or our firm’s representation of those seriously injured by the negligence of others, please contact one of our personal injury litigation attorneys, Kevin Cooman, Peter Gregory or Peter Weishaar.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.