So take a few minutes to think - are you, your family and your hard earned assets really protected against these types of risks/losses? Is your financial future at risk from a potential lawsuit? There is no magic formula for coverage – it is your decision as to what level of liability insurance you and your family need, but we recommend that EVERYONE have at least a $1 Million Umbrella Policy!
REAL LIFE CASES
Auto Accidents cause most of the personal injuries that result in huge monetary settlements paid by umbrella liability insurance. But there are plenty of other calamities that can put your assets at serious risk. Consider these recent real-life cases: HOW WOULD YOU AND YOUR FAMILY FAIR?
• Host Driver’s Negligence: 16 year old driver attempted to make abrupt turn on exit ramp and vehicle crashed at 60 MP causing other teenager in vehicle to suffer closed head injury resulting in cognitive disorders, memory loss, pelvic fractures and internal injures. Jury awarded $9,500,000 (pain & suffering $4,735,000, future medical $3,665,000, and future wages $1,100,000).
• Rear End Collision: SUV rear ended family sedan causing 2 year old to suffer brain damage, epilepsy, personality changes, fractured skull and severe mood swings. Jury awarded $10,352,796 (original “Demand” prior to court was ONLY $300,000)
• Pedestrian Hit: 38 year old male fell asleep at wheel and lost control of vehicle. 42 year old pedestrian hit had bilateral leg amputation (both legs amputated). Because of the loss of “quality of life”. Jury awarded $10,000,000!
• Broadside Collision (vehicular): 49 yr old suffered quadriplegia, moderate brain damage, clavicle fracture and internal injures when his vehicle hit by other driver failing to obey posted traffic signal. Jury awarded $50,000,000 (pain & suffering $16,000,000, past medical $883,000, past wages $211,000, future medical $19,500,000, future wages $1,500,000, loss of services $11,906,000)
• A window washer broke his heel in a fall after a downspout he was holding onto broke away from the house on which he was working. Although the worker was found partially responsible, the fall cost the homeowner $1.2 MILLION.
• A 22-year old suffered permanent eye and brain damage when he was struck by a golf ball. He sued claiming that the golfer who hit the ball had failed to look out for other players. The errant shot cost the golfer $1.6 MILLION.
• A professional dancer suffered permanent knee damage --- an end to her career---when she was knocked down on a beginner’s ski slope. She offered to settle for the $300,000 covered by the defendant’s insurance, but was rebuffed. The case went to trial, where it cost the defendant $2.2 MILLION (YES, that is 2.2 Million)!
• A woman suffered severe cuts when her leg was hit by the propeller of a boat she was attempting to board. She sued, claiming that the boat began to move before she was safely aboard. The injury cost the boat owner $800,000.
• At an end-of-school swim party, a 16-year old dove and hit his head on the bottom of the pool. He became a quadriplegic, and the case resulted in a $1.5 MILLION settlement against the homeowner.
(From Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine – Article by Ronaleen R. Roha & LPR Publications 2003)
Any of the above verdicts would mean TOTAL FINANCIAL DISASTER for most families! The amazing fact is that these awards would be COVERED with an Umbrella Policy with the correct limits! Some of these limits are very high, but imagine having your wages garnished or losing all your existing retirement funds trying to meet these jury awards.
Insurance is about PROTECTION - NOT ABOUT MONEY….until the end,
after you have reviewed all your options and make an informed decision.
PROTECT YOURSELF – READ YOUR POLICIES in detail each year and ask for a review annually/as needed to make an INFORMED DECISION on coverage!
1. New England Journal of Medicine study, 1997.
2. U.S. Department of Transportation Fatal Analysis Reporting System, 2001.
3. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, June 2002.
4. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 1998