Using my 30 years of experience as a Car Crash Attorney I will be writing a series of Blog Articles explaining how car crash claims are handled in North Dakota. This is Car Crash Blog Part 1: What to do Before a Car Crash to Protect Yourself and Your Family.
While most people understand the basic requirement that we must have insurance before we drive, there are a couple complex issues that you should consider when buying car insurance. North Dakota requires that your car insurance have liability limits of $25,000 for one person injured in a crash and $50,000 for two or more people injured in a crash. This means no victim will be paid more than $25,000 and if more than three people are injured they may be paid less than $25,000 by your insurance company no matter how severe their injuries are. The people that may make a claim against the at fault driver of your car include passengers in your car and occupants of any other car involved in the crash. In most cases your car insurance covers the driver of your car.
If you cause a car crash and the compensation for those injured exceeds your car insurance liability limits you may be personally responsible for the damages not covered by your insurance. To protect yourself you should buy the highest liability limits available. Increasing your liability limits beyond the minimum requirements is usually not that expensive. You may obtain additional protection by purchasing an umbrella liability policy that increases your liability limits on your car insurance and your homeowners insurance. Discuss these issues with your insurance agent.
Your car insurance policy must also provide No-Fault benefits, which in general pay for $30,000 of medical and loss wage benefits for anyone in the car at the time of the crash. No-Fault coverage is an important issue and will be covered in more detail in a later post. For now, you should discuss increasing the amount of No-Fault coverage that is available with your insurance agent. Increase coverage limits may be much less expensive than you expected. By increasing coverage you may be able to receive more than $150 per week for wage loss, which is the standard coverage required by law.
Your car insurance must also provide uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist protection. Uninsured motorist applies when the driver that causes your crash is driving without insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage may provide additional payments for personal injuries you or your passengers suffer if the driver that causes the crash does not have enough insurance available to fully compensate for the injuries caused by the at fault driver.
Underinsured motorist coverage is very complex. You must follow the requirements contained in your
car insurance policy and North Dakota law or you may void the insurance coverage and receive no underinsured motorist benefits. Before you qualify to receive any underinsured benefits, North Dakota law requires that your underinsured motorist benefit limits must exceed the liability limits of the driver that caused the crash. This means that if you have purchased underinsured motorist coverage of $50,000 and the driver that causes the crash has liability limits of $50,000, the car that caused the crash is not defined as an “underinsured motor vehicle” and no matter how severely you have been injured you cannot receive any underinsured motorist benefits from your car insurance. This also means if you have minimum underinsured motorist limits of $25,000 and you are involved in a car crash in North Dakota you will not receive any underinsured benefits.
To best protect yourself from damages caused by a car crash you must buy car insurance with the highest underinsured motorist limits available. You will be surprised that the additional cost of the increased underinsured motorist limits is very small. Discuss this with your insurance agent.
You can find additional information about car crash injuries on my websites: 25% Contingent Fees on Selected Car Crash Cases and eLawPros. Or call me at 701-630-1846 if you have questions about insurance coverage for your car crash injuries