In a Slow Economy, Rate of Uninsured Motorists Increases

Recently released data from insurance industry analysts reveals some unsurprising correlations between the economic downturn of recent years and insurance rates. With automobile travel and accidents down due to unemployment and other factors, American families spent less on auto insurance for five consecutive years leading up to 2010. But one troubling statistic lurks behind these figures: the rate of uninsured drivers nationwide has crept up to nearly one in five.

A recent New York Times article identified the culprit: for every point of increase in unemployment rates, the percentage of uninsured drivers increases 0.75 percent, based on data from risk management studies. One obvious solution for responsible drivers is to make sure they purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage for protection if they are involved in an accident with a driver who has no liability coverage.

Such coverage is not mandatory in many states, including Ohio, and mandatory minimum coverage in Ohio has remained among the lowest in the country. Ohio drivers must carry only $12,500 per injured person with a limit of $25,000 per accident, and only $7,500 in liability coverage for property damage. In Kentucky, the corresponding numbers are $25,000/$50,000/$10,000, and uninsured motorist coverage must equal bodily injury coverage.

The prolonged economic downturn hurts families in many ways, but enduring the damage caused by a car accident with a person who has little ability to pay adds extra difficulty and challenges. Fully investigating a negligent driver's assets and other potentially applicable insurance coverage (such as a homeowners policy) is one way that an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney can help clients protect their interests.

Personal Injury Lawyers Provide Trusted Insights and Creative Solutions

Just as important, an experienced accident attorney knows how to identify other potentially liable parties in the aftermath of a car, truck or motorcycle accident. For instance, a driver or passenger may have suffered a severe injury not just because of another driver's negligence, but also due to a defective product such as a seat belt or air bag that failed to perform as expected.

Even drivers who believe they have covered all possible risks by purchasing comprehensive automobile insurance policies may find that the coverage does not measure up when needed most. A personal injury lawyer who has experience with bad faith insurance claims can help you with all aspects of accident compensation, including holding your insurer to the promises they made.