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Proposed Supplemental Motorist Insurance Changes to Benefit New York Drivers

By: Halina Radchenko

As even the most safety-conscious drivers are all too aware, automobile accidents can easily occur due to the carelessness of others. While New York law mandates that insurance carriers provide a minimum of $25,000 in liability insurance, the resulting costs of bodily injuries from automobile accidents may exceed that baseline amount. Unfortunately, many drivers are unaware that Supplemental Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (SUM) policies are available to compensate drivers whose damages exceed the value of the responsible driver’s coverage.

SUM coverage is important because, oftentimes, a person’s damages will exceed the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. However, when an accident victim carries SUM insurance, they may be fully compensated for their injuries and recover the difference from their own insurance carrier. Recently, at Hach & Rose, LLP, a client was severely injured after being struck by a driver who had crossed over the median. The client’s damages were well in excess of the at-fault driver’s $25,000 coverage. After collecting the $25,000 from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, a SUM claim was pursued. The client received an arbitration award resulting in an additional recovery of nearly one million dollars. Hach & Rose, LLP, attorney Halina Radchenko, who specializes in automobile accidents and underinsured motorist claims, said, “We’ve seen many circumstances where a person has been catastrophically injured by a driver with only $25,000 in liability insurance. The lucky ones are those with SUM policies who can make a claim for the difference against their own insurer. For every one person with proper insurance, there are nine who don’t, and those are the persons stuck with the limited coverage of the underinsured driver.”

Fortunately, the attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP, are taking action to raise awareness of SUM availability in order to better protect New York’s drivers and their families. We support the Educating Consumers About SUM Coverage Bill that recently passed the New York State Assembly. This bill would allow consumers to make educated decisions regarding their SUM coverage by requiring that insurers provide information on the nature and availability of SUM coverage before an insurance policy sale is completed. Thus, New York drivers will not be deprived of important coverage because they are unaware of SUM availability.

Claims involving SUM coverage are resolved through arbitration, which can offer the advantages of being a faster and more cost-efficient process than the court system. This means that accident victims can be compensated and continue on with their lives more quickly.

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we advocate for accident victims in New York. If you have been injured in an automobile accident, you could be eligible to receive compensation beyond that obtained from the liability insurance carried by the at-fault driver, and we are ready to help you explore the full range of options available to you. Call our experienced legal team at (212) 779-0057 to speak with an attorney and learn more about what remedies are available to you today.

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