UP TO 40 PERCENT OF ANNUAL DEATHS FROM EACH OF FIVE LEADING CAUSES ARE PREVENTABLE

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, nearly 900,000 Americans die prematurely from the five leading causes of death . However, the Centers for Disease Control estimate that a large percentage of those deaths 20 percent to 40 percent from each cause could be prevented. The percentage varies greatly from state to state.

In the United States the five leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries. Collectively they caused 63 percent of all U.S. deaths in 2010. Unintentional injuries include car accidents, slip and fall accidents and other personal injury accidents. The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) seminal study of preventable medical errors estimated as many as 98,000 people die every year from medical negligence and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

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The report, in a recent issue of the CDC’s weekly journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, examined premature deaths (before age 80) from each cause for each state from 2008 to 2010. The authors then calculated the number of deaths from each cause that would have been prevented if all states had same death rate as the states with the lowest rates.

The study suggests that, if all states had the lowest death rate observed for each cause, it would be possible to prevent:

34 percent of premature deaths from heart diseases, prolonging about 92,000 lives
21 percent of premature cancer deaths, prolonging about 84,500 lives
39 percent of premature deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases, prolonging about 29,000 lives
33 percent of premature stroke deaths, prolonging about 17,000 lives
39 percent of premature deaths from unintentional injuries, prolonging about 37,000 lives

 

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH was quoted in a CDC article as stating “As a doctor, it is heartbreaking to lose just one patient to a preventable disease or injury – and it is that much more poignant as the director of the nation’s public health agency to know that far more than a hundred thousand deaths each year are preventable,”. “With programs such as the CDC’s Million Hearts initiative, we are working hard to prevent many of these premature deaths.”

Not surprisingly, there are many modifiable risk factors that are largely responsible for each of the leading causes of death, the CDC cites :

Heart disease risks include tobacco use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, poor diet, overweight, and lack of physical activity.

Cancer risks include tobacco use, poor diet, lack of physical activity, overweight, sun exposure, certain hormones, alcohol, some viruses and bacteria, ionizing radiation, and certain chemicals and other substances.

Chronic respiratory disease risks include tobacco smoke, second-hand smoke exposure, other indoor air pollutants, outdoor air pollutants, allergens, and exposure to occupational agents.

Stroke risks include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, overweight, previous stroke, tobacco use, alcohol use, and lack of physical activity.

Unintentional injury risks include lack of seatbelt use, lack of motorcycle helmet use, unsafe consumer products, drug and alcohol use (including prescription drug misuse), exposure to occupational hazards, and unsafe home and community environments.

As you can see by making changes in personal behaviors many of the risks are avoidable. Others risk factors are attributable to disparate conditions in social, demographic, environmental, economic, and geographic attributes of the local areas in which people work and live.

The study authors note that if health disparities were eliminated, as called for in Healthy People 2020 all states would be closer to achieving the lowest possible death rates for the leading causes of death.

Harold W. Jaffe, MD, the study’s senior author and CDC’s associate director for science was quoted in the CDC article as saying “We think that this report can help states set goals for preventing premature death from the conditions that account for the majority of deaths in the United States,” He was further quoted as saying “Achieving these goals could prolong the lives of tens of thousands of Americans.”

One can learn from these findings and change their and their family’s lifestyle for a healthier life.

Can I Sue? Can I Win?

Today I would like to talk about a frequent question that people ask of me regarding personal injury claims. The question that I often hear is “Mr. Katz, can I sue?”  An easy question to ask but not always an easy question to answer.

The first question that needs to be answered is what type of claim do you have?
An Automobile Accident? Car Accident? A Slip and Fall incident? Defective Product? Medical Malpractice / Medical Negligence? Kaiser Malpractice / Kaiser Negligence?

The First Question That Need to Be Answered is What Type of Claim Do You Have?
Do you have an automobile accident or car accident claim?
Do you have a slip and fall incident?
Do you have a claim regarding a defective product?
Do you have a medical malpractice / medical negligence claim?
Do you have a claim against Kaiser Permanente for malpractice / negligence?

Depending upon the type of claim you have, the facts of your incident greatly affect the strength or weakness of your claim. Some cases, depending upon facts, require the use of expert testimony to establish liability, this is overwhelmingly true in medical malpractice cases and defective product cases.

Do I Have a Strong Personal Injury Case?
In a personal injury action based upon negligence you must prove the elements of your claim to a judge or a jury. If any one element is missing, you cannot win.  By way of example, even if you can prove that the defendant was negligent but you did not suffer any injury  you will lose your case.

Basically the elements that you must prove at time of trial are:
Duty
Breach of the Duty
Causation both Legal and Proximate
Damages

These four elements are examined in greater detail below.
Duty
Did the defendant ( the other driver, property owner, doctor, nurse, healthcare provider, etc.)
owe a duty to you?  A duty of care arises in cases in which the law recognizes a relationship between the defendant and you, and because of the relationship, the defendant is obligated to act in a reasonably careful manner in regard to  plaintiff.

A driver on the road owes a duty of due care to other folks on the road or street including motorists and pedestrians for instance.  A property owes a duty of due care to people coming onto the property and must inspect and correct dangerous conditions that exist on the property and keep in the property in reasonably safe condition. A doctor or other health care provider owes a duty of due care to their patients.

Breach of the Duty
A defendant is will be held negligently responsible if the defendant breaches the duty of care owed to the plaintiff. A defendant who fails to act as a reasonablely prudent individual in the same or similar circumstances breaches their duty. Generally speaking whether a defendant breached a duty of care is a question of fact. In some cases depending upon the facts and circumstances, we need expert testimony to establish breach of a duty, and this is often true in medical malpractice claims.

Causation – Substantial Factor 
A injured party must show that the defendant’s acts or omissions were a substantial factor in causing injury. A substantial factor in causing harm is a factor that a reasonable person would consider to have contributed to the harm. It must be more than a remote or trivial factor. It does not have to be the only cause of the harm.

Often an injured party believes that because a physical issue arose after an incident the defendant must have caused the problem, this is not necessarily so. Often we need expert testimony by treating doctors to establish a causal relationship between an incident and injury. The same applies for claimed economic losses. If you cannot prove that the defendant’s actions were a substantial factor in causing your claimed damages then you cannot win on those claims.

Damages
You must prove that the negligent act of the defendant caused you harm, usually as physical injury to a person or to property. It is not enough that the defendant was negligent, i.e.,  failed to exercise reasonable care. For instance, suppose a doctor negligently gives you the wrong prescription and you go to the pharmacy to have filled. The pharmacy catches the error and calls the doctor and they give the correct medication to you. Also assume that had the wrong prescription be given to you, and you would have died! In my opinion you have no case because the doctor’s failure to exercise reasonable care did not result in actual damages, now had you taken the wrong medication and you died, well . . .

Conclusion
Whether you can sue and win, depends ultimately on facts or your individual claim and the relative strengths or weakness of each element of your claim.

Should you wish to discuss your matter with me, give me a call at 626-796-6333

THE DANGERS OF BIG RIGS ON THE HIGHWAY

The 80,000-pound 18-wheeler truck barreling down the highway ON YOUR BUMPER.     We all know that feeling when we look into our rearview mirror and see tires and grill.  And maybe the sound of an air horn. It makes a nervous and jumpy and for a good reason.

Recent federal and state statistics show that these 18-wheeler trucks and other large trucks cause thousands of traffic accidents a year.  Size matters, with a truck’s size and weight, common sense tells us and experience shows that a crash between a big rig and a passenger automobile is likely to turn out badly for the passenger automobile.

In a collision between a big rig and a passenger automobile, the fatalities occur in the automobile 98% of the time. Annual truck crash fatalities are equivalent to a major airplane crash every other week of the year.

Some of the reasons are apparent: Trucks are larger, heavier, wider and longer than cars; a big rig needs more space to maneuver; and they need much more roadway to come to a stop. Many collisions involving trucks are caused; speeding, overly aggressive driving, failure to yield the right-of-way, poorly maintained trucks. Statistically, size also matters the larger the truck the greater the risk of a accident.  An 80,000-pound truck is more than twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as a 50,000-pound truck. Of course weather conditions such as rain or snow can makes matters worse especially when mixed with poor driving or poor maintenance can and do become a recipe for disaster.

Over the last five decades,  the industry-standard trailer having grown from 40 feet long in the  to 53 feet long today. Longer trucks mean larger blind spots, resulting in more traffic collisions. Road design is another problem, much of our interstates were created under the Eisenhower administration and are more than half century old. They were designed when trucks were shorter. Much of the interstates and local highways have ramps and merge lanes were not designed to with today’s big rigs in mind.  As a result, these trucks are using highways not designed with their bulk and size in mind, increasing the risk of a collision.

Larger, longer, and heavier trucks require more braking distance and time, hence a greater risk for causing a collision because the truck cannot stop timely. You probably did not know that  a truck weighing 100,000 pounds can take up to 25% longer to stop than one weighing 80,000 pounds. Think about that next time your are on the highway with a big rig behind you.

Another problem is a driver’s inexperience in operating a particular kind or size of truck.  Also driver fatigue is a serious problem and increasing problem with the deregulation of the trucking industry. As well, some rules governing how long a trucker may drive before he or she is required to stop for a rest have been relaxed.

Lawsuits involving truckers are often more difficult to prove than other kinds of collision suits, for several reasons. It may be difficult to find the driver/truck after the collision if it involved a sideswipe and they did not stop, perhaps not even realizing they hit another vehicle. Evidence as to the cause of a collision may be difficult to determine, i.e. driver error, road design, truck design, etc . . .

As well, given the nature of truck accidents often far more parties than the typical car crash are involved (the driver, the trucking company, multiple other drivers, the shipper) not to mention multiple insurance companies and adjusters.

Also many trucking companies are not only self insured but are also very skilled in defending themselves against negligence claims. They claims handlers for such companies can be very aggressive in denying claims because every dollar “comes out of their pocket.”

A person who has been involved in a collision caused by a negligent big rig driver, is legally entitled to be compensated for his or her injuries. The complexity of these cases means that you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Do not make the mistake of believing that trucking company or it’s insurance adjuster will look out for your interests.

Call me Richard M. Katz, at 626-796-6333 if you or a loved one has been involved in a big-rig collision. I offer free consultation and look forward to helping you.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE IN A CAR OR AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT?

The weather today, February 28, 2014 is bad. It is raining like heck.  We all know that an auto accident can ruin your entire day.  I hope no one reading this finds themselves in this predicament.

Apart from ruining your day, a car accident, you will have to deal with damage to your car, liability issues, possible traffic citations and even injuries in some unfortunate cases.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports there were 2.24 million crashes with injuries in the U.S. in 2010.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that cars are safer than ever before and crashes involving serious or fatal injuries are down to their lowest levels in about a half century.

So you have been in a minor fender-bender. Other than thinking  “My folks are going to kill me,” What should you do?  Make sure everyone is OK. If you or someone has suffered injuries  summon assistance, if you have a cell phone use to summon help.

If your car is not moveable or your not sure put on  your hazards (Hint: There is usually a red button on the dashboard or center console with a triangle on it, push it and it will start to blink, so will your hazard lights.

If you are safe from approaching traffic, turn off your car and get out. If your car is drivable, move it off to the side of the road and call the police or highway patrol. Depending on circumstances, the police or highway patrol, may not come to the scene to investigate and write a report.

Even if you’re shaken up, be sure to get information regarding the other driver.  The information you should get is the name, address, phone number, driver’s license number and insurance information for the other driver. And also the names, telephone numbers and addresses of any  witnesses. Either write the information down on a piece of paper or put the information in your cell phone. As well, since so many folks have cell phone taking pictures might be a good idea. Pictures of the damage of the vehicles and the scene of the incident are probably a good idea.

If you or passenger is hurt, get medical attention!!!

Avoid getting into any heated discussions with the other driver. You should report the traffic accident to your insurance company.

Call your family and let them know what happed. If necessary they can come and pick you up if you need a ride . Even the best drivers get in accidents now and then.

In the event the car accident caused you or someone you love personal injuries or worse, you should contact a personal injury attorney.  I am here to answer your questions and give you help. For a free consultation, please feel free to give me a call. 626-796-6333.

Visit our website for more information www.lawyer-personal-injury-law.com

WHY HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY? YOU WOULD NOT OPERATE ON YOURSELF, WOULD YOU?

Trying to decide whether to hire a personal injury attorney / personal injury lawyer?

There are many types of personal injury claims.   Claims can arise from car accidents, slip and fall accidents, dangerous premise conditions, workplace accidents (even if you have a worker’s compensation claim, you may have a “third party claim”), airplane, bus and train crashes, construction accidents, fires, food poisoning, drug or vitamin overdoses, animal bites, criminal acts and assaults and medical malpractice to name several.

You have been involved in an incident and suffered personal injuries and are trying to decide whether to hire an attorney. Well, it is probably a good idea to consult with a personal injury who has familiarity with your type of claim. The consultations are usually free.

He or she will review the facts of your matter. Generally an attorney will initially look at three issues. They are, was the other party negligent? What are the nature and extent of damages? Is there a relationship between the incident and the claimed injuries.  After this analysis an attorney can make an assessment of the relative strengths or weaknesses of a claim and whether the claim had merit.

If an attorney concludes that the facts do not show someone was negligent, even if you suffered injuries, there is no case.  In other words, you would have trouble making a case against an owner of a store if you spilled water or salad oil on the ground and then slipped and fell because of the spill. However, if the store owner had failed to fix the plumbing in the building and the water was on the floor because of leaky plumbing or one the store’s employees had spilled salad oil and nothing was done promptly to address the condition, then you possibly have a viable claim.

Many variables can come into play in determining negligence and often you may think that there was no negligence by anyone when there actually was.

I myself, have handled cases over the years in which folks did not think they had a case.  However, they had suffered serious injuries, and they decided to contact me. After hearing the facts, I thought that there might be a viable claim.  Following an investigation and research and believing the cases had merit, we have pursued an action. I will not go into the cases, but suffice it to say, we went to obtain a recovery for our clients.  I might add that we took the cases on contingency basis and advanced all costs.

The point is if you have been injured, you should seek the advice of a competent personal injury attorney even if you do not think that there is anyone at fault. Only a good experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate your potential claim We are here to help, give me a call.
Richard M. Katz, 626-796-6333 or visit our website  www.lawyer-personal-injury-law.com

The Three Reasons Young Drivers are at a Greater Risk For Car Accidents

Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. A study done in 2010 revealed that seven teenagers 16 to 19 died every day from injuries sustained in car accidents. And 282,000 teenagers suffered injuries in car crashes. On a per mile basis, teenage drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be involved a fatal car accident than drivers aged 20 or older.  A combination of inexperience, impulsiveness and exposure during the  adolescent years contribute to this increased risk in being involved in a fatal car accident.

1.     Inexperience
Most new drivers, when they are first licensed, have insufficient experience in the real world to handle the complexity of driving. Although driver education courses are offered in some schools and also available privately, the fact is that these courses usually only provide a relatively small amount of time actually driving practice – certainly not enough for a new driver to become minimally competent, much less proficient. Drivers, like in any activity, become more proficient in their driving skills the longer they have been driving and in a variety of conditions and locations.

One study has shown a statistical decrease in crash rates among young drivers who had about 110 hours of supervised driving practice before obtaining a drivers license. No research project has  concluded / determined how much driving experience is “sufficient” for new drivers. There is empirical findings that new drivers continue to improve for at least two years.  Not surprisingly car crash rates for new drivers are very  high in the first few months of driving.  Car crash rates for new drivers then begin to sharply decline over after the first several months and then continue decline but at a lower rate. The bottom line, there is no substitute for experience.

2.    Impulsiveness
Teenage drivers, particularly 16 year olds tend to engage in more impulsive behaviors. This is often attributed to their level of cognitive, social, emotion and biological development. When a teenage is driving a car, their impulsiveness, can be dangerous. As well, the young drivers lack of experience add to his or her inability to regularly recognize the conditions that create risks for the driver. The presence of other teenage passengers in the car with a youthful driver frequently  adds to the innate inclination to act impulsively.

Not surprisingly research suggests that teenage / young drivers are distracted more easily than an experienced driver. The inexperienced driver is not equipped to effectively address the myriad of skills necessary to drive even without the interference of distractions. Such drivers find that  attention can be easily diverted because of inexperience. This is particularly problematic combining lack of experience with impulsiveness.

3.    Exposure
Teenage drivers tend to drive frequently at night and often with multiple teenage passengers. These factors pose significantly increase the likelihood of a car crash.

Studies have shown that driving after dark (well before midnight) sharply increases the risk of a serious or fatal car crash.  The after midnight the risk factor is even higher.  For 16 and 17 year old drivers,  more than 80% of nighttime car crashes occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight. Many states, because of this high risk factor, prohibit teenage drivers from driving at night for the first six months after obtaining a driver’s license.

Young teenage drivers because of activities associated with school and school related events tend to “car pool” and as a result tend to have more passengers, their own age, than older drivers. Studies have shown that the risk for car crashes are higher for inexperienced drivers, driving with passengers.  The risk of a serious or fatal crash substantially increases with the number of young passengers in the car.  Because of this, in many states prohibit young beginning drivers to have more than one young passenger. This restriction is usually for the first six months driving.

CAR ACCIDENTS IN AMERICA, THE THREE TOP CAUSES

Did you know there are about 10 million people involved in car accidents in the United States annually? Some consider it an “epidemic.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America Automobile accidents needless cause thousands of injury and death every year.

1.    DISTRACTION
The number one cause of car accidents in the United States according to recent studies is distracted driving. That can include talking on the cell phone, texting, eating, reading, grooming, and talking these are just the most prevalent reasons drivers get distracted. Did you know that motor vehicle operators who use a hand-held device are 4 times more likely to get into a car accident than drivers who do not use hand-held devices? People who text message while driving are 23 times more likely to get into an accident then those who simply drive. It is no secret that a driver should not risk his safety or the safety of others. Does a driver really need to be told to pay attention to the highway or roadway? It is a strong probability that many of you out there  will be involved in a car accident in his or her lifetime. As you already know, some car accidents can severe resulting in death or serious bodily injury. A driver’s neglect, carelessness, or recklessness causes many of these accidents.

2.    SPEEDING
This should come at no surprise. As a society, Americans are centered on the lure of quick convenience. We have drive-thrus for coffee, food and laundry to name a few. We have drive thru banking (ATMs) and many other driver thru convenience stores. These are a few examples of “our need for speed.”  Nevertheless, on the highway our need for speed is toxic and deadly. According to U.S. Department of Transportation, speeding is one of the greatest causes of car accidents. Official data shows that speeding contributes too about 1/3 of all car accidents in the United States.

3.    DRUNK DRIVING
No one needs to tell you that driving while intoxicated (DUI or DWI) is one of the most dangerous behaviors on the road today. In 2010 more than 1.41 million drivers were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. It is estimated by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimates that about 300,000 incidents of drunk driving occur in the Untied States daily.

If you are involved in a car accident and have suffered personal injuries you should first get medical attention for your injuries and then contact a skilled Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. It is important that you begin to preserve all of the necessary evidence to help you prove your case should you need to file a claim. I offer free consultations, if we can be of assistance, please contact that the Law Offices of Richard M. Katz at 626-796-6333. Visit our website at www.lawyer-personal-injury-law.com

CARS AND MOTORCYCLES SHARE THE ROAD

Car accidents involving motorcycles are increasing.  All drivers are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcycles. Drivers need to be alert for motorcyclists to keep the safer and to avoid accidents.  Motorcyclists need to make themselves visible to other drivers. Bright colors are an excellent way to make a motorcyclist more visible. Motorcycles have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as any motor vehicle on the roadway.

As in car accidents, sober driving or riding is mandatory.  Statistics show that the drunk motorcycle riders are involved in fatal crashes at greater percentage than not intoxicated drivers on our streets and highways. Not surprisingly studies show that alcohol affects those skills essential to riding a motorcycle – balance and coordination. So it plays a particularly big role in motorcycle fatalities. This is why NHTSA urges all motorcycle riders always to ride smart and sober.

In a car accident involving a car and motorcycle if the rider is properly dressed and wearing a helmet he or she has a much better chance of not suffering major injuries or being killed. Ever more motorcyclists are wearing helmets. Motorcycle helmet use increased from 48% in 2005 to 67% in 2009. In 2008, studies from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) show that the use of motorcycle helmets saved 1,829 motorcyclists’ lives.  Tests have shown that a motorcycle helmets do not interfere with the rider’s vision or hearing.

Motorcycle crash statistics show that helmets are about 29 percent effective in preventing crash fatalities.  A motorcycle rider wearing a helmet has a 29 percent better chance of surviving a  crash than riders without a helmet. There are opponents of mandatory state motorcycle helmet laws and have claimed that motorcycle helmets interfering with the ability of a rider to see and hear surrounding traffic and by that increase the risk of an accident.

Many studies have shown that helmet use did not hamper the ability of riders to see traffic or increase the time needed to check for nearby traffic visually.  Overall, any negative interference of helmets on rider vision seems  minor, especially should a crash occur.

Use of DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets in 2009 stood at 67 percent, a gain from 63 percent in 2008 according to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey(NOPUS). This organization is the only survey that provides the nationwide probability-based observed data on helmet use in the United States. The NOPUS survey is conducted by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Ride sober, wear a helmet and be visible. Enjoy the Road.

Should you or a loved become involved in a traffic accident please feel free to give me a call.  My office has been handling personal injury / motorcycle accidents for more than three decades.  Call me Richard M. Katz, Esq. at 626-796-6333.

The Uninsured / Underinsured Driver Dilemma Don’t Be A Victim Twice!

As a personal injury attorney for more than three decades I have handled many car accident cases in which the at fault driver either no insurance or inadequate insurance. This happens more often then you probably realize.

In the United States an estimated 14% of drivers do not carry liability insurance. In California it is estimated that 25% of drivers do not carry liability insurance. Chances are roughly one in four that a driver is uninsured. California is not alone, the states with the highest percent of Uninsured Motorists are as follows; Mississippi 26 %, Alabama 25 %, New Mexico 24 %, Arizona 22 % and Tennessee 21 %. According to the Insurance Research Counsel, in the United States 40% of all vehicles 15 years or older that are uninsured.

California Law requires “All drivers and all owners of a motor vehicle shall at all times
be able to establish financial responsibility and shall at all times carry in the vehicle evidence of the form of financial responsibility in effect for the vehicle.”

California requires all drivers must show financial responsibility for any vehicle that they own, in case of injury to other people or damage to their property. Most people show financial responsibility by buying auto liability insurance.

In California if you do not have auto liability insurance, you can be fined, your license may be suspended, and your vehicle could be impounded.

Under California law, the minimum insurance limits for a standard auto policy are Bodily Injury Liability Limits of $15,000 for the death or injury of any one person. And a total of $30,000 for the death or injury of more than one person in any one accident. This coverage applies to injuries caused by a negligent driver. As well, California law requires a minimum of $5,000 for damage to the property of other people. This pays for damage cause by a negligent driver to someone else’s car, or to objects and structures that have been damaged.

With 25% of drivers in California uninsured and many with minimal limits (underinsured) what can you do to protect yourself and your family?

I recommend that you purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UMC) / Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM), this coverage protects/covers you if you are in an accident with a driver who does not have any liability insurance (uninsured) or has inadequate coverage (underinsured). Insurance companies in California must offer you this coverage. If you choose not to buy it, which in my opinion is a big mistake, you must sign a waiver given to you by the insurance agent or insurance broker.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage pays for injuries to you and any person in your car when there is an accident with an uninsured driver who is at fault. The limits should be the same as your liability coverage limits, frankly the higher limits the better. On the other hand Underinsured Motorist coverage covers you and any person in your car who has suffered bodily injury if you are in an accident with a driver who does not have enough insurance to pay for damages. However, the available coverage is the amount of your coverage, less the underinsured drivers policy limit. For example if you have a $100,000.00 UM/UIM policy limit and the other driver has coverage of $15,000.00, there would be an additional $85,000.00 coverage available through UIM for bodily injury claims.

The causes of people driving without insurance or inadequate insurance are diverse. But you must take proper steps to protect you and your family, purchase liability insurance for yourself including Uninsured Motorist / Underinsured Motorist coverage. By limits that are reasonably sufficient to protect others and you and your family. You may find the California Department of Insurance Handbook on Automobile Insurance informative and interesting.

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