Articles Posted in Uninsured Motorist

We hear about it all of the time; people being hurt in accidents by another driver who is either under-insured or carries no insurance whatsoever on their vehicle. Of course, by law, every driver must maintain insurance coverage on their vehicle. This not only a good idea, but it can protect you from difficult financial times if you cannot afford to pay for extensive vehicle repairs following an accident.

As a Maryland automobile accident lawyer, I know that car crashes happen with alarming frequency. As drivers, we may not expect to be caught in a highway collision with an 18-wheeler, but it could happen. Similarly, nobody wants to think about having their car stolen or vandalized, but in dense urban centers such as Baltimore, Annapolis and the District, this is always a concern.

From time to time it’s a good idea to look at auto insurance and reacquaint oneself with the available policies and coverages. We ran into an article on choosing the right car insurance and it had several important points to make. In general, however, automobile insurance boils down to deciding how much one is willing to pay out-of-pocket for possible repairs versus how much the insurance company may have to pay.

Many car owners feel that purchasing car insurance to be a bit confusing. The first step is to figure out your needs and then examine available policies in order to understand what your potential risk will be and how much you will be willing to take on yourself. There as a number of factors to consider, such as understanding your specific needs, knowing which discounts you may qualify for, being aware of Maryland’s specific legal requirements, among others.

One key is picking a policy with a balanced deductible. This is the key to choosing a policy because it states the amount that you, the owner, are willing to pay to have the vehicle made right after a crash. The deductible you choose will usually have a direct bearing on the size of the premium you end up paying for you car insurance policy.

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As a Maryland auto accident attorney, I know how costs can add up for the average family. When a car, truck or motorcycle accident causes a wage earner to be hospitalized for injuries suffered during a crash, medical costs and lost earnings can put many families into a terrible bind. Because carrying auto insurance on your vehicle is required by law, premiums are another cost that simply cannot be avoided.

Recently, news out of Annapolis shows that the state legislature is working on a bill that would likely increase insurance premiums for nearly every one of the 61,000 Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund customers. At the time of the news article, the bill passed through the House despite the protestations of the Republican side.

The bill would require policyholders to carry a minimum security of $30,000 for individuals and $60,000 for multiple drivers. Currently those minimums are $20,000 and $40,000 respectively and have not changed since 1972 when MAIF was established following legislation that made auto insurance mandatory.

In my Baltimore injury law office we often hear of accidents involving service vehicles. Taxi cabs, hire cars, limousines and shuttle busses can all be involved in traffic collisions. As passenger, you can be seriously injured in even the simplest automobile accidents. It doesn’t take much to cause an unbelted occupant of a motor vehicle to sustain broken bones, cuts and bruises and even debilitating injuries.

Every Maryland resident who rides as a passenger in a cab, bus or other type of fare-paying transportation should be aware of the potential problems associated with uninsured carriers. And even if you don’t travel in these potentially costly conveyances, you may have an elderly relative or friend who often uses one to get to and from the supermarket or other metropolitan location.

This is especially important because, as we all know, automobile accidents can happen anywhere, any time. People on a fixed budget will find uninsured cabs and hire cars particularly difficult to turn when they offer such low fares. But you must ask yourself the question, “Is it worth the possibly devastating medical or work-loss costs should you become a victim of that driver’s error or negligence?”

A recent editorial in the Baltimore Sun brings to light a very important topic and something that every Maryland resident should consider the next time they consider hailing a hire car at a supermarket or anywhere else for that matter. Auto accidents can happen anywhere, and while it is difficult to turn down a bargain basement fare price for a ride around the city, if you are injured in a vehicle that is not properly insured, you may have a harder time recovering medical and other costs.

Remember that legitimate cab and hire car companies charge higher rates because, among other things, they carry the proper insurance. As Maryland auto accident lawyers, Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers is well aware of the risks involved in riding with an uninsured or under-insured driver.

According to the editorial, taking such a hire car is dangerous. Apparently the risks are so misunderstood that managers of the grocery stores where hacks are operating as “courtesy drivers” either do not know or, worse, they are ignoring their potential liability. These so-called “hackers” operate illegally in part because they do not care to pay for commercial auto insurance, which the law requires.

The Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, which provides coverage for many sedans and taxis, currently has a base rate of about $4,000 per year for such vehicles operating in Baltimore. Hackers may very well have personal auto insurance, but that won’t necessarily cover them if they injure a paying customer, especially if they are operating their vehicle without the knowledge of their insurance company.

As the editorial further explains, hackers do not operate solely in areas not serviced by legal cab companies. The writer goes on to remind the public that hackers operate all over the Baltimore metropolitan area. And because they are not paying, among other things, the high insurance premiums that legitimate companies pay, hackers can charge much less. But that low fare may not be such a great deal if you are hurt or severely injured in a crash.

Should the driver be involved in an accident and his or her insurance company learns that they were working as a for-hire driver at the time, it is almost a certainty that the insurance company will deny any and all claims related to that accident.

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