Motor Vehicle Insurance… Have Foresight
Most of us have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, and those who have not have the fear of one. Even before an accident occurs, check your insurance coverage. Contact your agent and make sure you know what coverage you have. Is this the coverage you want and need? What are your deductible amounts and what are your personal injury protection limitations? Do you have the lawsuit limitation?
What is lawsuit limitation? Most people do not realize that, unless you specifically request otherwise, there is an express limitation on your ability to proceed against a negligent driver for any injuries you may suffer as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Unless your accident is as the result of a driver in a commercial vehicle, your insurance at the time of the accident governs whether you may proceed in a lawsuit.
Although choosing to avoid the lawsuit limitation may cost more in your premium, after an accident, most wish that they chose to have the ability to proceed against the negligent driver. Without choosing otherwise, you have the burden of proving that your injuries fall within one of six categories.
With the lawsuit limitation, one must suffer death, dismemberment, significant disfigurement or scarring, displaced fracture, loss of fetus or permanent injury (when a body part has not and will not heal to function normally). As you can appreciate, we all hope that no one suffers such catastrophic injuries as to allow a lawsuit by piercing this threshold.
However, we are also all aware that some injuries, although not as catastrophic as some listed above, do cause extreme pain and significant changes in our life that may not arise to the legal standard to pierce the threshold. That is why it is important to determine now how we each would proceed after injury in a motor vehicle accident.
The insurance in place at the time of the injury governs whether an action can be filed. It is not uncommon for an individual to contact his or her agent after an accident occurs to select to no longer have a limitation on lawsuits. This generally occurs because that person has suffered injuries for which they cannot file an action. However, there have been significant injuries in the eyes of the victim.
Now is the time to determine whether you would like to have the ability to pursue an action. It is difficult to say now what you would want to do in the event of an accident, but take it from someone who sees plenty of people disappointed that they cannot pursue a claim, serious consideration should be given to such a decision before the need arises. Otherwise it will be too late.