Articles Tagged with insurance

Now that the snow shovels have been put away and the lawn needs cutting, we are fast approaching the lazy days of Summer. However, the 100 days of Summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, are the deadliest days on our highways.

The 100 days of Summer are particularly dangerous for teenage drivers. During the 100 days, the number of teenage car crashes and fatalities will increase dramatically. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that in 2016, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 1,050 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers; an average of 10 people a day which is a 15% increase compared to the other months.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. A contributing factor for the dramatic increase in teen deaths in the Summer is the simple fact that teens are out of school and they are spending a lot more time on the roads and highways.

The rise of self-driving cars, which has been pioneered in many ways by the electric car manufacturer Tesla, is a fascinating area of the law that is developing at a rapid pace. Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, as long claimed that self-driving cars are safer than those operated by humans. Others, who have been involved in accidents when Tesla’s autopilot feature has allegedly malfunctioned, are not so sure. In some ways, Musk and Tesla are now putting their money where their mouth is, and have announced they will be rolling out insurance policies that take advantage of what they claim are safer driving behaviors.

Insurance is an issue that has plagued Tesla owners in the short history of the company, as they are consistently some of the most expensive vehicles on the road to insure. Musk apparently believes that the vehicles are safer than insurance underwriters give them credit for, and believes that Tesla can lower insurance premiums by issuing their own policies.

One feature that drives the insurance market, and Musk believes should lower premiums is the autopilot, or self-driving feature. Over the past few years, there has been some misunderstanding as to exactly what autopilot technology is. Quite simply, autopilot technology allows the computers in a vehicle to operate the vehicle with minimal input from the driver. Vehicle are able to stop and go on their own, maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front of them, change lanes, and exit roadways.

In recent years, we have seen a disturbing, though not surprising, trend in Massachusetts. As the population grows, car traffic grows, pedestrian traffic grows, and bicycle traffic grows.  This increased traffic poses a question that Boston lawmakers are currently addressing- how do we keep all of these people safe?  One way of keeping people safe is to decrease the speed limit within the city.  That was already done once, in 2017, with the city lowered the speed limit from 30 to 25.  Now, the city is talking about lowering the speed limit again.

The desire for a lower speed limit and safer streets is understandable when we look at the toll that traffic accidents take.  In 2013, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control estimated that crash-related deaths resulted in $438 million being lost to medical and work related costs.  It is no surprise, then, that the city of Boston plans to continue its efforts to create safer roadways for pedestrians and drivers by further reducing the speed limit. One difficulty with this proposal lies in the fact that it requires state approval for implementation.  This hurdle has led some to consider the idea of “safety zones,” which are certain areas with reduced speeds that would not require state approval.

While several factors contribute to pedestrian accidents- speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence, poor weather conditions, nighttime driving- eliminating even one of those factors can lead to improved safety and fewer casualties and injuries.

As Massachusetts personal injury lawyers, we see clients in one particular circumstance far too often.  A person is seriously injured in a car crash.  The at-fault driver carries only minimal insurance.  The victim has mounting medical bills, is out of work, needs in-home care, and has nowhere to turn.

Massachusetts only requires drivers to carry Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000) in bodily injury coverage on automobile insurance policies. This means that if a driver who carries only minimal coverage seriously injures or kills another motorist, $20,000 may be all that is available for insurance.  But it gets worse.  Just because there is $20,000 in insurance does not mean the injury victim will recover that amount.  It is likely that most- if not all- of the recovery will be eaten up by medical bills, lost wages, and payments to others.

First, Make Sure You Have Enough of Your Own Insurance

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