On October 18th 2017 my fiancé Anna was in a major car accident that left her with a crushed right foot, broken sternum, a concussion, and scrapes and bruises all over her body. That afternoon Anna left a doctor’s appointment in Gastonia and was on her way to our apartment in Hickory when a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction as her attempted to cross in front of her at an intersection. The 1996 Toyota pickup failed to yield on their left hand turn and pulled directly out in front of Anna causing her to T-bone their truck at 45 miles per hour.
The police report stated that the driver of the other vehicle was distracted and placed 100% of the responsibility for the accident on that driver. In this case, the owner of the vehicle was in the passenger seat and his girlfriend was driving. Since auto insurance follows the vehicle not the driver, his insurance carrier is responsible for the property damage to Anna’s vehicle and her bodily injury claims – up to the limits that he had purchased, which in his case was $50,000 for property damage and $100,000 for Bodily Injury per accident.
Anna’s car – a 2008 Toyota Prius – was totaled and only valued at $6800. Since this is well under their property damage auto liability limit of $50,000, we had no issued getting this settled. The way this played out was pretty straight forward. Anna’s auto carrier is Erie Insurance. She was issued a check for $5000 immediately from Erie, and was told that she would get the balance of $1800 minus her deductible after she released the vehicle to the salvage yard. Even though she was not at fault, Erie was required to withhold the deductible amount until they subrogated against the at fault carrier (State Farm) to get reimbursed for the total amount. At that point Anna would get her remaining $500.
The major issue that we are dealing with is the bodily injury side of this claim. The bodily injury limit includes the cost of any medical procedures, treatments, medications, or physical therapy stemming from the accident, as well as any lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. With Anna being out of work for nearly 3 months and major medical bills piling up, she was beginning to realize that the at fault driver’s limit of $100,000 for bodily injury liability was not going to even come close to what she needed to be made whole. When this is the case, her Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) limits come into play to offer additional protection.