The tragic hit and run accident that killed Nachman Glauber and Raizy Glauber on March 3, 2013 has profound emotional and legal effects. As a personal injury attorney, the legal effect and insurance coverage alternatives shows the importance of underinsurance coverage.
The hit and run driver (who was eventually found) was originally not identified. This leaves the estates of Mr. & Mrs. Glauber to take one of two legal roads. If the victims owned their own vehicle, that vehicle must have an uninsured provision on their automobile policy. If the provision was the minimum requirement by law of $25/50,000 uninsured provision, this minimum amount is increased to $50,000 for death. This minimum amount can and should be increased if one owes their own car. The uninsured coverage can be as high as ones’ liability coverage. For example, if the victims owed a car with $500,000 liability coverage, they could have purchased an uninsured provision up to their liability coverage of $500,000. If they did not purchase the increase, of their uninsured/underinsured coverage to match their liability coverage, they would have the minimum coverage of uninsurance which would be $25,000 per incident, $50,000 for death.
Since the Glaubers were passengers in a livery cab, they would have uninsurance/underinsurance coverage of the vehicle they occupied since the vehicle that caused the accident left the scene after contact was made to the livery cab. The BMW that hit and ran after contact with the livery cab was eventually found. The victims’ estates would sue the BMW and would have coverage available up to the BMW’s limits. The estates could still have coverage left if and only if, they owned their own car and their underinsurance provision of the Glaubers own vehicle would minus the BMW’s coverage and the estates would have access to the balance of the victims underinsurance coverage. For example, if the BMW only had $100,000/300,000 liability coverage, each estate would get $100,000 plus if they had underinsurance coverage of $500,000. Each estate would have an addition of $400,000 per victim available coverage.
The real victims in hit and run accidents are pedestrians. If a pedestrian does not own a car and are hit and the automobile leaves the scene, they have no insurance coverage except through MVAIC (Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation). This is an insurance coverage created by New York State to give pedestrians a minimum of coverage for their pain and suffering or death. This idea at first seems generous, however New York State provides $25,000 per person $50,000 per occurrence. The State also creates a legal maize before one can avail themselves of MVAIC’s coverage. The victim must within 90 days of the accident, file a Notice of Claim to MVAIC. MVAIC can perform a hearing getting the injured victim sworn deposition (EBT) before the victim can proceed. Further, legal obstacles are created by MVAIC in that a victim must ask permission of New York Supreme Court (trial level) to start an action against MVAIC.
New York State Trial Lawyers Association has lobbied and continues to lobby for MVAIC minimum limit of $25/50,000 per occurrence be increased to protect victims of hit and run accidents. NYSTLA has also lobbied to increase minimum underinsurance/uninsurance coverage of each auto policy to match their liability coverage automatically without the need to ask for an increase in the minimum of $25,000.
The Law Office of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC presently has a case where the victim of an automobile accident had liability limit of automobile coverage of $1,000,000 but only minimum underinsurance/uninsured coverage required by law of $25/50,000. In this case the vehicle that caused the victims injury (the tortfeasor backed up on the New York State Thruway after getting off the wrong exit into the victims’ automobile). The victims only had a minimum policy of insurance of $25,000 per incident and in the case of death, $50,000 per incident. The victim here with a $1,000,000 liability policy was relegated to the minimum policy of the tortfeasor $50,000 for death. The victim here sustained fractures of both eye orbits, a fracture nose, etc. and suffered for over one month before he expired. If the law automatically matches the victim’s liability coverage ($1,000,000) there would still be available $1,000,000 – $50,000 death liability coverage of the tortfeasor or $950,000 available. One should note that the cost of increasing ones underinsured/uninsured up to their liability amount is a small premium to protect oneself from all minimum policies or no insurance for pedestrians in hit and run accident to minimum coverage required by the State of New York of only $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident.
If you, or someone you know, have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, we request that you contact our office so that we can help take you through all of the necessary steps required to eventually file a lawsuit, if necessary, against the other vehicle. You can reach us at (914) 288-0800. We look forward to helping you through this difficult time and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed in the process.