Auto Insurance: Toward Quick Payment

Crumpled cars, glazed-eyed victims, and blinking ambulance lights are depressingly familiar sights on the nation's highways. U.S. traffic accidents last year killed 56,000 people and injured 4,600,000 others. In addition to the human suffering, the economic loss amounted to $16.5 billion in the form of medical costs, lost income, and property damage. The failure of auto insurance adequately to meet many of these losses has long been a subject of sharp controversy.

Most of the argument focuses on the fact that accident victims must prove that another driver was at fault—and then...

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