Maryland car and truck crash victims catch a break as legislature changes long-standing minimum car and truck insurance limit.

The insurance industry is a very powerful player in Maryland political life. Nowhere can this be better seen than in the multi-year tussle over the minimum liability coverage Maryland drivers are required to have on their cars and trucks.

Minimum insurance coverages are exactly what their name implies, the least amount of insurance a Maryland driver can carry on their car for accidents they cause. Maryland like most other jurisdictions in our country has a compulsory liability insurance law. It is against the law to own a car and not insure it.

Thus, the minimum insurance law theoretically serves to protect victims of Maryland car crashes who are injured through no negligence of their own. The problem of course is that the minimum limits have been $20,000.00 per victim and $40,000.00 per crash for almost 40 years! Any serious crash inevitably results in medical costs alone of more than $20,000.00 and when their are multiple people in a car the $40,000.00 total per accident gets eaten up quickly.

Any attorney who has  handled a large number of serious car and truck crashes has seen the enormous problems this can cause. If a mini-van containing 5 or 6 people is in a major accident, those 5 or 6 innocent victims while have to divide the $40,000.00 minimum limit between them. This often means that the basic medical expenses of innocent crash victims are not covered.

So one would presume that the Maryland Legislature's efforts to increase minimum insurance requirements to $30,000.00 per victim and $60,000.00 per collision would be enthusiastically embraced by everyone. One would assume incorrectly.

The insurance industry in Maryland has fought this contemplated change for 35 years. That is why the relatively small change to $30,000.00/$60,000.00 is a triumph. The all-powerful insurance lobby was forced to accept the increased premiums they will be paid by Maryland drivers who will concomitantly receive a little more protection when they themselves are car and truck crash victims.

Tomorrow : What you can do to protect your family from uninsured and underinsured drivers.