By: Brian Heyesey
Many have heard the common line used by GEICO in its commercials: “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” Although I have never looked into whether that is true, I can tell you with confidence that taking 15 minutes to make a small change to your auto insurance policy will help you maximize your protection if you are in an accident that is not your fault.
If you look at the front page of your auto policy, more commonly known as the “declaration page,” you will more than likely see the words “Limitation on Lawsuit.” What this means is that in order for you to collect for any pain and suffering resulting from an accident, you have to establish that you sustained bodily injury that resulted in either: (1) death; (2) dismemberment; (3) significant disfigurement or significant scarring; (4) a displaced fracture; (5) loss of a fetus; or (6) a “permanent injury” within a reasonable degree of medical probability. Often times the issue in a large portion of the auto accident cases I litigate is narrowed to whether the bodily injury that was sustained is “permanent,” which our motor vehicle code tells us means “when the body part or organ, or both, has not healed to function normally and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment.”
Even when the accident was not your fault, adverse adjusters and defense attorneys attempt to support their position to not provide any meaningful compensation for pain and suffering based on their claim that the injuries you suffered as a result of the accident are simply “sprains or strains,” or “soft tissue” injuries that have healed, and therefore, not considered permanent.
Take away the need to vault the permanency threshold by taking 15 minutes to call your insurance carrier and tell them you wish to change your policy to reflect the “No Limitation on Lawsuit” option. Although this will result in an increase in your premium, it will make a big difference on how your bodily injury claim is perceived by the adverse carrier providing auto insurance to the person who caused your accident.
A friend told me that as he was making this change per my recommendation, the representative from his auto insurance carrier commented “attorneys are the ones who usually ask to make this change.” I found that pretty telling.
If you have been in an auto accident and suffered injuries as a result, please contact Brian Heyesey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (609) 275-0400 to set up a consultation.
The foregoing is intended for general information purposes and is no substitute for specific legal advice.