Auto Accidents, Insurance and You

Auto Accident

By Dr. Bill Gallagher, DNFT® Chiropractor.

The odds of being in an automobile accident in any given year or 1 in 25. That means that for every 25 drivers you past on the road today, one will be in an accident this year. You may feel safe that you will not be that one, but statistically in a five-year period the odds of you being in an accident are 1 in 5. When your turn comes you will want the proper insurance.

In Arizona, for example, 47% of all the vehicles have either minimal coverage or none at all. Minimal coverage here is 15/30 liability. So if the vehicle with minimal coverage runs into your car there is $15,000 of coverage for you and a total of $30,000 for all the other people in your vehicle (known as “$15/$30” coverage). When you consider that $15,000 will only pay for a decent used car, it becomes clearer why you need better coverage.

Coverage you must get

There are three types of coverage you should add to your insurance policy:

  • MedPay (PIP in some states)

  • Uninsured protection

  • Underinsured protection.

Most insurance agents discourage purchasing the MedPay/PIP and will tell you that if you are injured in an accident your health insurance will cover you. WRONG!

The information your doctor reports on the billing form will immediately tell your health insurance company that you have been in an accident. The next step is for the insurance company to contact you and find out if there is any other coverage. If not, they will pay. And here’s the catch -- if they pay for your expenses, they expect to be repaid.

If on the other hand you had MedPay/PIP, that insurance would cover the first $5,000 in medical bills and when your case is settled they will not be able to recover that money. To get a better picture of what that means, if there were a $15,000 settlement your lawyer would get one-third of that leaving you $10,000. If you had used $5000 of your health insurance money your lawyer would have to repay them out of your settlement, leaving you with half of what you would have received.

Uninsured/underinsured protection

The next coverage you do not want to be without is UM/UIM or uninsured/underinsured protection. Remember in Arizona the minimum coverage is $15/$30. Some drivers go as high as $25/$50. If you drive anything more than a compact car even $25,000 will not go very far. Remember your attorney is entitled to one-third of that. Fortunately if your attorney is any good you will find they are well worth that one-third.

UM uninsured projection covers you when you are involved with a vehicle that has no coverage. UIM, underinsured protection offers you additional coverage when the other driver’s insurance has been used up. A good personal injury attorney knows that before your UIM coverage kicks in, they will first need to collect the full amount of the other vehicle’s insurance. As such if you have $50,000 in losses and the other driver has $15,000 in coverage it is possible to make up the difference from your own insurance.

A safe driver knows to watch out for everyone else on the road. A smart driver knows to carry the right insurance.

Dr. Bill Gallagher, DC, has been in practice 25 years with half of that in Scottsdale, AZ. He practices Directional Non-Force Technique and his research for the technique has led to improvements of adjustments in all areas of the body. Besides his private practice he is the founder of a non-profit that helps schools and organizations stage a Run Drugs Out of Town Run for kids. He can be reached at 480-664-6644 or [email protected]. Find out more at

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