If you're driving in Maryland, you may not give much thought to insurance, so long as you have insurance to cover yourself. But you may want to give some thought about your fellow drivers. Their insurance could have a direct effect on you. Luckily, Maryland rates pretty high in the category of insured drivers.
Why Insurance Is Important
If you're injured in an automobile accident by a negligent driver that's a person (not a corporate-owned vehicle like a FedEx truck or oil tanker), you may want to consider a lawsuit to recover for your injuries.
When you sue individuals, the actual entity that is paying for any verdict or settlement that you enter into is usually the negligent driver's insurance company, not the driver himself. When a negligent driver has insurance coverage, you have a "collectable pocket"--the insurance company.
Insurance also may pay for some of your injuries that aren't caused by a negligent driver, such as if you run into a tree, or are injured by debris on the road. It's not just to protect others.
Without insurance, you'd be left to sue an individual that very likely would never have the funds to pay your judgment. You would have an uncollectible judgment that could even be wiped out if the negligent driver ever declared bankruptcy.
Recent Study Ranks Most, Least Insured Drivers
A recent study looked at the states with the highest and lowest rates of insurance coverage. At the top of the list as safest (most insured) was Maine. Rounding out the next safe states were North Dakota, New York, and a tie between New Hampshire and here in Maryland, where only 12% of drivers are estimated to be uninsured.
Of the top 5, Maryland requires the most different kinds of insurance to be carried as well: personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured motorist (UM) for bodily injury and property damage.
The worst state was Florida. If you're hit in Florida by a car, there's an estimated 25% chance that the other driver has no insurance at all.
Of the bottom 20 uninsured states, only three have any mandatory insurance requirement for their drivers at all.
What You Can Do
In truth, there's little you can do about who around you has or doesn't have insurance. The best you can do is to carry uninsured motorist coverage, as high as you can afford. UM coverage will stand in the shoes of a negligent driver that injures you who is uninsured.
So, if you are hit by an uninsured driver (yes, even in Florida), and sustain injuries which a jury thinks is worth $100,000, your UM coverage will pay that amount (up to the limits of your UM policy, of course). It's money well spent.
If you're in an auto accident in Maryland, and are considering suit, make sure you have attorneys that understand insurance coverage issues. Contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your rights.