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William R. Noelker Law

Under Insured Motorist Coverage-Why you should have it.

I represent many clients who don’t understand the importance of maintaining Under Insured Motorist Coverage more widely known by the acronym UIM. If you are injured in an automobile accident which is not your fault and the at fault driver has insufficient liability insurance to pay your for your injuries then what do you do? If you have UIM coverage, your insurance company will pay you the difference not to exceed the limit of your UIM policy. If you don’t have UIM coverage you are simply out of luck.

Kentucky, like many states, has a law which requires vehicle owners to carry a minimum of $25,000.00 in liability insurance. You can purchase a higher amount if you want. If you only carry the minimum amount and you are at fault in a collision and another person is injured then the injured party will receive a maximum of $25,000.00 from your insurance company. If the injured person has damages exceeding $25,000.00 and has UIM coverage then her insurance company will pay an additional amount up to the maximum amount of the UIM policy limit. If no UIM coverage, again that person is simply out of luck.

In many automobile crashes where a person is injured, the medical bills alone exceed $25,000.00. What this means in a case where the at fault driver has only the minimum liability coverage and the injured person has no UIM coverage is that the injured party recovers nothing for her pain, suffering and lost wages and will still be responsible for any remaining medical bills that haven’t been paid.

So although insurance coverage can be quite complicated, the answer to why you should have UIM coverage is quite simple. Because most drivers can only afford the minimum liability coverage and that coverage is usually insufficient to cover all of the damages you may suffer in a crash. UIM coverage will make up the difference, up to the coverage limit. So not only should you buy UIM coverage you should buy as much as you can afford.

A car crash can change your life in an instant. Make sure you have enough UIM coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Bill Noelker

Bill represents people who have been injured in automobile crashes. Call Bill for a free consultation if you have been injured in one.

Legally: Why Time Is Not On Your Side

You are scheduled for routine surgery on your left leg. The doctor tells you there’s nothing to be worried about and the risk of complications is very small. The nurse administers the anesthesia and you quickly fall asleep.

The next thing you know you’re awake in recovery. Curious you lift up the blanket to see how your left leg looks only to discover your right leg is missing below the knee. You demand to see the doctor who tells you he read the wrong chart but that he is sorry that you no longer have your right leg.

Dealing with the emotional pain of losing your right leg you concentrate on your physical recovery while learning to walk again on a prosthetic leg. A year and a half passes until you finally feel emotionally and physically well enough to seek the advice of an attorney regarding your case.

You schedule an appointment as soon as the attorney can see you. When you arrive and speak with him you are horrified to learn that the time has expired for filing a lawsuit against the doctor. The attorney tells you are simply too late.

While the above scenario is overly simplified it illustrates the importance of seeking legal advice as soon as you believe that you have been injured by someone else’s negligence. The time for filing a personal injury cases is very short, in some instances no longer than a year. While a year may seem like plenty of time, if you wait too long to file a personal injury lawsuit you may be forever barred from doing so. That means, as in the scenario above, you get to live with the results of someone else’s negligence while they enjoy life without any consequences for what they’ve done.

In our civil justice system the courts cannot replace your right leg. The courts can however relieve the financial burden associated with an injury caused by somebody else’s negligence. While the emotional burden of a physical injury can sometimes be overwhelming, don’t let that burden keep you from seeking legal advice before time has run out. Time is definitely not on your side when it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit.

American Medical Systems Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuit Update

Merriam-Webster defines Bellwether as someone or something that leads others or shows what will happen in the future. Bellwether trials involving American Medical Systems (A.M.S.), manufacturer of transvaginal mesh products, are scheduled to begin in April and should be concluded by late summer early fall of 2014. A bellwether trial is a trial conducted as part of a Multi-District Litigation. The idea behind these trials is to pick a few representative cases out of the larger pool of cases and litigate them for the purpose of providing both the plaintiffs and the defendants a gauge as to the eventual outcome of each individual case in the larger pool, hence the name “Bellwether.”

There have been numerous bellwether cases conducted involving other pelvic mesh manufacturers but these will be the first involving American Medical Systems. The bellwether trials have not been going well for the various manufacturers with many ending in multi-million dollar verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs. I anticipate that the AMS bellwether’s will produce similar results.

Pelvic mesh is a product used to treat, among other things, urinary stress incontinence in women. The problem with this product occurs when the mesh erodes into the vaginal and uterine wall of patients causing severe injury, including incontinence, infection and in some cases death. If you have had this product implanted it does not mean that you will have a similar outcome, however, it is a good idea to discuss these issues with your doctor. If you have had the mesh implanted and have experienced issues similar to these I would strongly encourage you to seek legal advice. No amount of money will ever be sufficient to compensate these women for the pain they have suffered as a result of this defective product, but hopefully it will make their lives a little easier. It is the least that these companies should do.

Kentucky Insurance Loophole

You were just rear-ended while stopped at a stoplight. Surprised but apparently unhurt you refuse medical treatment at the scene and proceed home. The next morning you wake up sore so you call in sick. This pattern repeats itself for three or four days until finally you feel well enough to return to work, however a pain in your back persists for a few months preventing you from doing many of the activities you would normally enjoy. Finally, one day you wake up pain free.

Some time later you are talking with a friend who is an attorney. You tell him about your car accident and he mentions that you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries. Sounds like a good idea until after discussing it further he tells you that you have no case because you do not have at least $1000.00 in medical bills. How can this be? The accident was no fault of yours. The driver who hit you had good insurance coverage and you were injured and suffered pain so shouldn’t you be compensated for those injuries?

There is a little known clause in most Kentuckians’ insurance policies which states that unless you affirmatively opt out, you waive your right to sue for damages which result from a motor vehicle accident unless you have incurred $1000.00 in medical bills. This is what happened to the driver in the example above. Who benefits from this clause? While the insurance industry will claim that you benefit from lower premiums, the reality is that you lost work, suffered pain and injury caused by somebody else’s negligence.

So how do you prevent this from happening? You can opt in by contacting your insurance company but beware you may pay a higher premium. Another option is to seek medical treatment. Even minor collisions can cause injuries that do not manifest themselves for a few days. I often have clients who relate to me that they didn’t feel pain until the next day. If this is the case, go see your doctor. It may be nothing or it may be a sign of a worsening condition.

The moral of this story is to seek medical treatment if you have been in a collision. If nothing else you gain piece of mind knowing that you sustained no serious injuries, and if you are injured you preserve your right to seek compensation.