The recent motor vehicle and sidewalk accident in Las Vegas had me thinking about the following question:
If you are injured on a sidewalk by a motor vehicle, who’s insurance will pay for your injuries?
The simple answer to this question seems like it would be that the auto insurance for the person who drove onto the sidewalk and caused the injury will pay right? Well, that could be correct if the driver of the vehicle has insurance at all or has high limits.
Let’s use the recent Las Vegas sidewalk accident as an example. There were over 30 injuries and one fatality. So, even if the driver had great auto insurance, the limits on her policy will probably not be enough to cover all of the injuries and damages, not to mention the lawsuit that will come about from the fatality. Plus, another factor that will probably cause the driver’s auto insurance policy to deny the claim altogether is the fact that the Las Vegas authorities suspect that the act was intentional. And almost all insurance policies have coverage exclusions for intentional acts by the insured. So, if that is the case, where can the accident victims turn to recoup for their injuries and medical bills?
Most people do not know that you can have coverage on your personal auto insurance policy if you are struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian. You can collect from your Personal Injury Protection coverage and if the situation warrants, your Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist coverage. If the coverage is denied by the driver’s auto insurance policy or the driver has no auto insurance, the Uninsured Motorist coverage on your car insurance policy can provide coverage. If the at fault driver has insurance, but the liability limits are lower than the limits on your policy, then the Underinsured Motorist coverage can provide coverage up to the difference between the limits, should your injuries require more than the liability insurance limits on the drivers policy.
So if you worked with your insurance agent to develop a protection plan that includes these important auto insurance coverages, you should be able to have your medical bills and lost wages (if any) covered under your own personal car insurance policy. One thing your policy will not pay for that could have been paid by the negligent driver’s car insurance policy is punitive damages.
So when you are deciding on which insurance coverage is best for you and your family, do not forget about the Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage. These are the coverages that will protect you and your family should you be involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or underinsured driver. Statistics show that 14% of all vehicles on the roadways are uninsured (see our Blogs “There Are How Many Uninsured Drivers Around Me?” and “Important Coverage You Need to Know About in Your Auto Insurance Policy!”)
As always, auto insurance policies vary by state and by insurance company. It is always a good idea to review your specific policy and to talk to your insurance agent with any question that you might have on your policy.
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