After over two decades of practicing law in Massachusetts, one of the most frustrating things for me is telling my clients who have been seriously or permanently injured in an automobile accident that there is insufficient insurance coverage for their damages. This is especially true for victims of automobile accidents.
What is The Minimum Insurance?
For automobile insurance policies issued in Massachusetts, many clients have only the minimal $20,000 coverage. This means that if you are the victim of an automobile accident and the other vehicle has a minimum policy, you will not be able to recover more than this amount from his insurance company.
Having minimal coverage can be costly: if you are injured by another driver, his or her policy will reimburse you at least in that amount for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and disability periods. If his policy is minimal, the most you can get from the insurance policy for pain, suffering and any permanent injuries is $20,000. However, if your damages exceed that value, and you have the minimal Massachusetts underinsurance policy of $20,000 underinsurance coverage on your own vehicle, there is no more insurance money we can get for you. However, with additional underinsurance coverage, you will be able to seek additional compensation.
How does Underinsurance Work?
Underinsurance coverage provides additional benefits, but only to the extent that your policy coverage exceeds the other driver’s bodily injury coverage. For example, if you are seriously injured by a negligent driver with the minimum $20,000 coverage, and your case is worth $100,000, if both the negligent driver and you have minimal policies, you will collect only $20,000. However, if you have additional coverage of $100,000, you will be able to collect $100,000 — $20,000 from the negligent driver’s policy and $100,000 – $20,000, or $80,000 from your policy.
The same rationale applies to uninsurance coverage. This comes into play when you are injured by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver. A minimum of $20,000 of uninsurance coverage is mandatory in Massachusetts, but more coverage may be necessary to provide adequate protection if you are seriously injured, as indicated above.
Hire An Experienced Underinsurance Lawyer
I have been representing victims of motor vehicle accidents in Massachusetts since 1985. Underinsurance claims are different. You do not get a trial. In fact, you do not go through the court system. Under your standard insurance contract in Massachusetts, you must “demand” arbitration against your insurance company. Many of the rules regarding “discovery” and depositions are the same, however, the procedure is vastly different. We recommend retaining the services of an experience trial attorney. You will be against the insurance adjusters and their lawyers and will not have the right to have a Massachusetts judge weigh the facts. Call experienced Massachusetts underinsurance lawyer Neil Burns or Roshan Jain, or learn more by reading our Motor Vehicle Accident FAQs. We provide a free initial consultation, aggressive representation, and we charge no fee until we recover monies from the insurance company.