Garza Law Firm – Cityview

The conundrum of “full coverage” insurance

Story by Marcos Garza | Photography by Tom Namey and Nathan Sparks

Full doesn’t always mean full

Last year our client Angelina was involved in a car accident in Maryville, with her 16 year old son, his girlfriend and their pet inside the car. Angelina was injured in the accident and had to undergo physical therapy for over a year afterwards. “I still hurt,” she said. “I’m not going to lose this pain. I have a history of back problems so I remain in chronic pain.

Angelina had comprehensive auto insurance coverage on her vehicle, but she says she didn’t quite understand what that meant until the accident happened. “I thought it paid more, but I was wrong,” she said, later adding. “It doesn’t cover much. And I suspect that, like Angelina, most people who have been in a car accident might feel the same way.

The minimum liability insurance coverage in the state of Tennessee is $25,000 for each individual, $50,000 for total injury, $50,000 for property damage. It has been the law for over 40 years. This means that the maximum the insurance company will pay per injured person is $25,000; $50,000 per event. And while that sounds like a significant amount, this “full coverage” could cover just one night in the hospital. Just one. But for so many, tonight may only scratch the surface of the costs of a single major collision.

Coverage for uninsured motorists

What many don’t realize is that you can protect yourself against drivers with minimum liability limits by purchasing a larger policy, such as a $100,000 or $300,000 policy with motorist coverage under -insured or uninsured, also known as UM/UIM. For minimal extra money on a six-month policy, you can actually get a level of cover that will help you or your family if someone suffers traumatic injuries and exorbitant medical costs as a result of a car accident.

UM/UIM is coverage that can “step in” in the event that the person who hits you has only minimal coverage and therefore minimal ability to cover pain and suffering and medical expenses incurred following the collision.

Find peace and closure

It was about six months ago when Devon contacted our office at Garza Law. A 25-year-old man from here in East Tennessee, Devon, had been involved in a traumatic motorcycle accident just minutes from his home. Hit from behind, he suffered multiple fractures. However, the impacts of the collision were just beginning. “I didn’t expect it to turn out like this,” Devon says. “I have insurance on my vehicles and such, but I haven’t really thought about having it on my bike because I haven’t had it for so long.”

Devon spent 23 days in hospital after the accident and continues to see doctors for follow-ups, surgeries, etc. Even if he had insurance, “full coverage” might only have covered the very first day of his hospital visit.

At Garza Law, we work every day to help our clients find peace and closure in their most difficult times, whether it’s a slip and fall incident, medical malpractice, or a common car accident. We also strive to encourage legislative changes that will help our customers even more in the future, such as the updating of the Minimum Insurance Act enacted in 1979.

In the meantime, we’re here to work with you if you’re ever faced with a difficult situation like Angelina and Devon.

At Garza Law, we have handled hundreds of personal injury cases, easing the burden on our clients and walking them through what is often a grueling process to recover some semblance of what they have lost. We want you to be able to get on with your life and not let an accident define you, whether due to financial or physical distress. We are here for you and the entire Garza Law team is ready to help.

550 Main Street West, Suite 340 | Knoxville, TN 37902 | 865-540-8300 | garzalaw.com