The practice of law is often affected by what happens at the state and federal level. New laws can have both a positive and negative effect on the rights of injured parties. Our firm is a member of both the national American Association of Justice (AAJ) and the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association (DTLA), which does vitally important lobbying work at the local, state, and federal level. For example, DTLA was recently instrumental in helping pass Delaware’s new Uninsured Motorist Law.
As explained by DTLA, ”
The underinsured motorist bill (Senate Bill 61) passed the Senate and the House last legislative session, and was signed into law by Governor Markell on July 3, 2013. This new law allows injured parties to pursue their UIM policies up to the extent of their damages (of course, only up to their UIM limits), regardless of the tortfeasor’s bodily injury policy limits. In other words, UIM is “triggered” based on damages rather than “triggered” only if the injured party’s UIM policy limits are higher than the tortfeasor’s bodily injury policy limits.”
“For example, let’s assume that you are significantly injured in car accident, and the person responsible for the accident has $100,000 of bodily injury coverage. If you had $15,000, $25,000, $50,000, or $100,000 of underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, your underinsured motorist benefits would be equal or less than the responsible party’s liability coverage, and your underinsured motorist coverage would not be “triggered” (and could not be tapped into, even if your injuries were deserving of more than the $100,000 of liability limits available). Under the new law, the underinsured motorist policy limits no longer have to be higher than the responsible party’s liability limits to be accessed. In the above example, you are now permitted to obtain the $100,000 of liability coverage, and also pursue your underinsured motorist policy up to the extent of your underinsured motorist policy limits (assuming that the damages are worth in excess of the liability limits).”
This new law will hopefully help protect Delaware drivers injured by uninsured drivers. This is just one of the countless ways, DTLA fights for Delawareans. Jacobs and Crumplar attorney, Elizabeth Lewis is on the Editorial Board of DTLA, and all attorneys of the firm are actively involved in DTLA and AAJ.