THE VANISHING REMEDY IN CAR ACCIDENTS
If you have been the victim of an automobile accident, you have certain rights which are guaranteed by law. Basically, you have the right to be returned to the same condition that you were in before the accident occurred.
¨ You have the right: To the very best medical care available with no out-of-pocket expense to you.
¨ You have the right: To recover any lost wages or loss of earning capacity which may have resulted from the incident.
¨ You have the right: To be compensated for any pain, suffering and inconvenience from the incident.
¨ You have the right: To an equitable settlement for permanent disabilities which might have resulted from the incident. .
These are your rights but there has to be a source of compensation to provide an adequate remedy for these rights. Pennsylvania requires that all motor vehicles be covered by automobile insurance. But the state minimum coverage is only $15,000-$30,000. Automobile insurance representatives have advised that the average coverage in Pennsylvania may be as low as $25,000-$50,000. That means a person insured with the state minimum auto insurance only has a $15,000 policy to secure your above rights. This was the minimum coverage required in 1974 and remains the minimum coverage today. If this were indexed for inflation, the minimum coverage would be approximately $75,000-$150,000.
Pennsylvania State Representative Aaron D. Kaufer has proposed legislation that would raise the minimum coverage to $30,000-$60,000 with $10,000 in property damage. While this is still inadequate, at least it is a step forward.
To put this in perspective, in 1974 the average cost of an automobile was under $4,000 and a candy bar cost 15 cents. Now, the average cost of an automobile is approximately $35,000. The state minimum medical coverage in Pennsylvania has remained at $5,000 since the 1990’s. Health insurers are now seeking to claw back every dollar spent on accident related health care costs
According to Representative Kaufer, Pennsylvania law provides for the second lowest auto insurance limits in the United States. Only Florida is lower with $10,000-$20,000 limits.
The good news is that you can protect your family, yourself and your earning capacity from this problem in the auto accident situation by buying uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage with stacking, and a personal umbrella.