Thursday, March 27, 2014

Texting and Driving Accidents

What is just as dangerous as driving drunk? Driving while typing or watching a video on your cell phone. The fact that cell phones are so popular and such a part of the social fabric of our society means that everyone has them and uses them for multiple purposes. A common tragedy resulting from this is the significant increase in teenagers and young adults getting in accidents because of texting or surfing the web while driving. The statistics involving cell phone usage in a car and the results of such use are alarming.

Teens especially think that they are still paying attention and being safe if they just take a quick look at the phone or type a few letters and look back at the road. The reality is that such a distraction can take up to four or five seconds and a car travels a long way in that amount of time. Another factor causing wrecks is that, even when a driver looks back to the road, their focus doesn't fully return before they look back at the phone. As a result, there is no anticipation of what might go wrong, only a recognition that the car directly in front of them isn't braking.

Obviously, texting or surfing the web while driving is negligent. There are campaigns and legal cases trying to make accidents caused by such negligence subject to punitive damages. This should worry parents and those responsible for insurance coverage. The minimum legal insurance coverage in Virginia is $25,000.00, a limit set decades ago. The cap on punitive damages is $350,000.00. (Virginia Code Section 8.01-38.1). So, even a relatively small accident could result in liability far beyond available insurance.

However, it is better not to need insurance and to avoid injuring someone altogether. There are technologies available that prevent hands on usage of cell phones while driving. Prevention is what will keep drivers safe and protect them from both liability and, more importantly, the guilt of having seriously injured someone.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Automobile Accident Medical Insurance

Medical expense coverage is an option on car insurance policies. The Virginia law which describes it is Code Section 38.2-2201. It pays for medical treatment for accident related injuries regardless of fault. It is a separate coverage from liability and uninsured motorist coverage. An automobile insurer can offer different coverage amounts, usually between $2,000.00 and $10,000.00. Often, if a specific request is made, higher coverage amounts are available. The coverage amount is "stacked" based upon the number of cars on the policy. For example, if there is $5,000.00 in coverage and three cars on the policy, then there is actually $15,000.00 in benefits available.

If an insured is injured in a car accident, this coverage can be very important if the other driver has limited insurance or if the insured is partly at fault for the accident. Medical expense insurance will pay the insured directly for medical expenses related to the accident. It applies to medical bills for treatment within three years of the accident. The payments are made when the medical bills are submitted to the insurance company. This means the injured person does not have to wait until the end of a personal injury case to receive payment.

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Medical expense coverage is an option on car insurance policies. The Virginia law which describes it is Code Section 38.2-2201.