As a driver, you do your best to avoid accidents, but sometimes collisions happen due to factors outside of your control. If you've been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering. However, not all types of car insurance will provide coverage for your injuries. Bodily injury liability coverage, also known as third-party insurance, only pays for injuries to other people. A car accident lawyer will have significant experience understanding these coverages and how they may impact your recovery. If you want coverage for your own injuries, you'll need uninsured motorist coverage or personal injury protection.
Liability Car Insurance Covers Injuries to Others
Liability car insurance covers injuries and damages to other parties in an accident where you are at fault. This is required coverage to legally drive and provides compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage you cause to others.
To receive compensation for your own injuries in an accident, you will need additional optional coverage called personal injury protection or PIP. This add-on to your auto policy pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs regardless of who is at fault in an accident. PIP coverage helps ensure you get the treatment and compensation you need right away without having to pursue legal action.
Some states require PIP coverage, also known as no-fault insurance, while in other states it is optional. The required minimum coverage amounts and specific benefits provided by PIP vary in each state. You will want to check with your state's department of insurance to determine the PIP requirements and options available to you.
In addition to PIP, you may want to consider other optional coverages like uninsured motorist coverage which protects you in the event an at-fault driver has no insurance, and underinsured motorist coverage for when the at-fault driver's coverage limits are too low to fully compensate you for your injuries and damages. By adding extra protection and benefits to your standard liability policy, you can gain more control and peace of mind in the event of an accident where you suffer harm.
Speaking with an attorney who specializes in personal injury law and insurance claims can also help determine what additional coverage you may need based on your state's requirements and personal situation. They can advise you on appropriate coverage limits and help you understand how different options may benefit you in the unfortunate event of an accident resulting in injury.
MedPay Insurance: Limited Coverage for Your Own Injuries
MedPay insurance provides limited coverage for injuries sustained in an auto accident. MedPay, or medical payments coverage, is an optional addition to your standard auto insurance policy. It reimburses you for medical expenses resulting from injuries in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault.
Typically, MedPay coverage extends to you, any passengers in your vehicle, and in some cases, pedestrians struck by your vehicle. It can help pay for ambulance fees, emergency room visits, surgery, physical therapy, and other medically necessary treatments. However, MedPay benefits are usually capped at between $1,000 to $10,000 per person. Once this limit is reached, you would need to rely on your health insurance or file a personal injury claim to recover further costs.
To utilize your MedPay coverage, you simply submit medical bills to your auto insurance company for review and reimbursement. There is no need to establish liability or fault to receive benefits. MedPay can provide quick access to funds when injuries are sustained in an accident. However, because the coverage amounts are low, it should not be relied upon as the sole means of recovering all your accident-related medical expenses.
If you suffer severe or long-term injuries in a car accident, you may need to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver in order to recover your total costs and losses. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine if a liability claim is necessary and advise you on the legal process. They can also help ensure that using MedPay does not jeopardize your ability to recover further damages from the at-fault party.
In summary, MedPay coverage offers limited but useful medical expense reimbursement following an auto accident. For full compensation after a serious collision, liability insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits are typically required. Speaking with an attorney about your options can help you make the choice that is right for your unique situation.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Protection When the at-Fault Party Lacks Enough Insurance
Underinsured motorist coverage provides protection if an at-fault driver lacks adequate insurance. If you are injured in an accident caused by a driver with insufficient liability coverage, underinsured motorist coverage can help pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
How It Works
Underinsured motorist coverage steps in when the other driver's liability coverage is not enough to cover the costs of your injuries and damages. For example, if the other driver only has $25,000 in liability coverage but your injuries and vehicle damage amount to $50,000, underinsured motorist coverage can provide up to $25,000 to compensate for the difference. This coverage acts as a supplement to the at-fault party's liability coverage.
To utilize underinsured motorist coverage, you must first file a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company. If their policy limits do not fully cover your losses, your insurance company will review your underinsured motorist claim to verify the other driver was truly liable and at fault before issuing you the balance of funds up to your underinsured motorist coverage limits.
Why It's Important
Underinsured motorist coverage is important because it helps ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages even when the at-fault party lacks sufficient coverage. Without this coverage, you could face expensive medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repair costs that are not fully covered, putting you in a difficult financial position through no fault of your own. For a relatively small premium, underinsured motorist coverage provides essential financial protection and peace of mind.
Consult with your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate underinsured motorist coverage limits to match your liability needs. This coverage could make a significant difference if you are ever in an accident with an underinsured driver.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Covers Your Injuries When the at-Fault Party Has No Insurance
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you financially when an at-fault driver has no car insurance. If you're injured in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, this optional coverage will pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
How Uninsured Motorist Coverage Works
When you purchase uninsured motorist coverage, also known as UM, you select a coverage limit, such as $25,000 per person. If an uninsured driver causes an accident that injures you or your passengers, your insurer will pay up to your UM limit for damages.
Uninsured motorist coverage also provides compensation if an uninsured driver hits your vehicle and you suffer injuries. It can pay for hospital expenses, rehabilitation, lost paychecks, pain and suffering, and other costs resulting from your injuries.
Why Uninsured Motorist Coverage is Important
Uninsured motorist coverage is important because it protects you when irresponsible drivers break the law by driving without insurance. Even though car insurance is mandatory in most states, many drivers still don't carry it. Uninsured motorist coverage helps ensure you don't have to pay out of pocket if one of these drivers causes an accident that injures you or your passengers.
While liability coverage pays for damage to vehicles and property, uninsured motorist coverage focuses specifically on compensating people for injuries. It can give you peace of mind that your medical needs will be taken care of if an uninsured driver hits your vehicle. Uninsured motorist coverage is optional but highly recommended to help avoid financial hardship in the event of an accident with an uninsured motorist.
Talk to your auto insurance agent about adding uninsured motorist coverage to your policy or increasing your current limits. It's affordable protection that can save you money and stress if an uninsured driver causes you harm.
Personal Injury Protection: Covers Your Injuries Regardless of Fault
Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is a type of optional car insurance that helps pay for medical expenses resulting from a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. If you or your passengers suffer injuries in an accident, PIP coverage can help pay for:
- Medical bills (ambulance fees, hospital stays, rehabilitation, etc.)
- Lost wages if injuries prevent you from working
- Essential services like childcare
PIP coverage provides benefits for you and your passengers, even if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured. Since PIP pays regardless of fault, it can help reduce the financial burden of medical costs after an accident. PIP coverage limits typically range from $1,000 to $10,000 per person depending on your state's minimum requirements and the plan you choose.
Some key points to know about PIP coverage:
PIP coverage is not mandatory in every state.
Currently, a limited number of states require drivers to carry PIP coverage. In states where PIP is optional, you will need to purchase this coverage separately.
PIP coverage limits medical expense payouts.
While PIP can help pay for initial medical costs after an accident, coverage limits may not cover all expenses for severe or long-term injuries. You may need additional health insurance or medical payments coverage.
PIP coverage does not cover damage to vehicles or property.
PIP only provides benefits for injuries to people. For vehicle damage claims, you will need collision coverage or uninsured motorist property damage coverage.
PIP coverage can reduce disputes over fault and claims.
Since PIP pays out regardless of who caused the accident, it can help avoid lengthy disputes over determining fault and legal claims to recover costs. This can allow for quicker resolution of medical expense reimbursements.
In summary, PIP coverage provides financial protection if you or your passengers suffer injuries in a car accident. By helping pay for medical care immediately following an accident, PIP can give you peace of mind that you'll have coverage for expenses resulting from injuries, even in cases where determining fault may be complicated. For many drivers, the added financial security PIP provides is well worth the cost.
Fletcher Law Can Help Explain Your Coverage
To understand what type of car insurance coverage will compensate you for injuries sustained in an accident, it's important to review the different options available.
Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage pays for injuries that you cause to other parties in an accident. It does not cover your own medical bills or lost wages. BIL coverage is required in most states and typically has limits expressed as BIL 25/50, meaning $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage pays for injuries to you and your passengers, regardless of fault. It covers medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. PIP coverage is required in no-fault states. In states where PIP is optional, you can choose a limit that suits your needs.
Medical Payments coverage pays for medical bills for you and your passengers after an accident, regardless of fault. It covers hospital visits, medication, physical therapy and more. MedPay is optional in most states. You select a coverage limit, typically $1,000 to $25,000.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage pays for your injuries when the at-fault driver has little or no insurance. It acts as a backup to cover damage that exceeds the limits of the other driver's policy. UM/UIM coverage is optional but highly recommended. Limits are often $25,000 to $100,000 or higher.
If you've been injured in an auto accident, Fletcher Law can review the details of your situation and the coverage you have to determine what sources may be available to compensate you for your medical care, lost work and other damages. We have extensive experience helping injury victims understand their options and pursue fair compensation. Please contact us for a free initial consultation.