A close friend of mine was in an accident this past weekend and it brings to mind many common issues that arise because of any accident. This collision happened in Delaware which has different motor vehicle insurance laws than Maryland but the concepts are the same. My friend came to a stop at the only red traffic signal in a small town on the Eastern Shore. After the light turned green she proceeded into the intersection and suddenly and without any warning her small vehicle was T-boned by a pickup truck coming from her right. The collision crushed the front driver's side of the car, spinning her around. She was taken to the local ER by ambulance where the doctor found a broken collar bone, multiple lacerations, bruises and a concussion. Her small car was totaled and towed to a lot. The driver of the truck was arrested for multiple violations primarily DWI, and failing to stop in response to a red light.
Red light intersections can be deadly. Had she entered the intersection a fraction of a second earlier she could have been killed or seriously injured if her car was struck exactly at the driver's door. Several concepts can be learned from this accident. When in an intersection, whether in a small town or a big city, please look just like you would at a stop sign and make sure no idiot is blowing through a red light. Another issue is your own insurance coverage. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. In this particular case my friend's automobile coverage was minimal with $15,000 per accident per individual for both liability and uninsured coverage. The primary reason for such low coverage was that she had young drivers on her policy which raised her premiums through the roof after several moving violations. The other driver who ran the red light also had only $15,000 in liability coverage so there will be no insurance coverage for more than his $15,000 for her injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Had she uninsured or underinsured coverage for say $50,000, then she would have been able to make a claim under the uninsured/underinsured provision on her own policy for a total of $50,000 ($15,000 from the culpable party and $35,000 from her own insurance carrier).
The ultimate lessons for everyone from this specific incident is to make sure your own automobile insurance policy has adequate coverage for both liability and uninsured/underinsured of at least $50,000 to a $100,000. Just ask your agent how much more it would cost and you may be pleasantly surprised that the cost is not significant. Secondly, look before you enter any intersection, whether at a stop light or a stop sign, as someone may be barreling down at you. Of course it is never your fault when someone runs a red light or a stop sign but it may save you from injury or worse.