By David Peel
Most people are surprised to learn that Tennessee has still not increased its requirement of a driver to carry just 25,000 per person on their car liability limits. You quickly can spend $25,000 at any local emergency room if you are hurt. I can tell you that a life flight from the scene of a rural accident into town is even more than this.
Why hasn’t the legislature updated the $25,000 roof to keep up with inflation and skyrocketing medical costs? The truth of the matter is the government doesn’t fix anything unless there is an incentive to do it or an outcry to cause it to occur. For instance, the federal government has never updated the Social Security burial benefit, which is a staggeringly low $255. That barely pays for the flowers on the casket let alone a burial. But back in pre-World War II days, that might’ve been pretty generous. Likewise the Tennessee legislature, which we call the General Assembly, has never taken the protection of drivers on the road as seriously as those of us who work in this business do. We know that 25,000 per person and 50,000 per accident is a drop in the bucket against current medical costs.
No one pushes to make car insurance affordable for the average working person. However, driving is a privilege not a right. Car ownership is no longer going to be the norm. With the advent of companies like Uber, you will be able to get rides wherever you want to go if you live in town. Now obviously out in the country it won’t be that way.
But when I stay in a larger town, I usually just park my truck and take Uber to wherever I want to go. Heck they can even bring me a meal to my hotel room cheaper than room service for many restaurants that I choose. So I think the death of car ownership is going to come. Those who can afford to still drive are going to have to pay more insurance because the pool gets smaller and smaller. On the plus side for the insurance companies though, robot cars don’t have near the accidents that human drivers have. That should save them on some claims expenses.
All in all, the legislature is going to be 20 years late to any party it attends. And after one, take the liability limit where it should be, a minimum of $100,000 per person. You may find it interesting that the same legislature did increase limits on governmental tort liability, where the government hurt somebody, from 130,000 per person to 300,000 per person many years ago. I don’t understand why they don’t update car insurance the same way. But don’t wait for the government to tell you to buy high limits. Always carry as much as you can afford, and I recommend at least 100,000 per person and uninsured motorist. If you can afford more, buy more. After all, it’s the uninsured drivers that cause more accidents than those of us who carry higher limits.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in motorcycle, truck and car accidents, disability and medical malpractice. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.
By David Peel