Q: Should I use the insurance policy on my car even if it is the other driver’s fault?
Most people are familiar with liability insurance: insurance which covers you if you are at fault and injure another person. However most drivers have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as part of their policy. PIP includes several things including a death benefit if you are killed, a short term disability claim if you are not able to work and most importantly it provides “medpay” which is the payment of medical bills for any person in the vehicle for at least $5,000.00.
Arkansas law requires that every insurance company offers this coverage. Medpay becomes very important in covering your initial medical bills, for example the ambulance bill, hospital emergency room, follow up visits with the doctor and perhaps physical therapy.
Using medpay will keep the collectors off your back. Most car wreck claims are not resolved until at least six months have passed and many can last up to three years. You may ultimately pay back your insurance company but you only have to pay back 2/3rds of what was paid which will allow you to put more money towards your injuries.
It is also always important for clients to utilize their health insurance coverage for any bills that arise as well. Although many medical providers are telling patients that they only accept cash for car wreck cases I have found that there is very few if any health insurance that do not cover bills from car wrecks. You need to be ready to be agressive to get past the lady at the front desk to see your doctor for treatment of injuries from a car wreck.
Here are some other coverages that may be available to you:
- Collision- Your insurance may repair or replace your own vehicle or property after an accident whether or not you were at fault. If it is unclear who is at fault, your insurance is more likely to repair or replace your damaged vehicle or property.
- Rental Expenses- While your vehicle is being repaired, your insurance may reimburse your rental expenses.
- Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists- If this is available in your policy, your insurance will cover you if you are hit by an uninsured driver. For underinsured motorists, if your damage is greater than the driver’s insurance who is at fault, your insurance will cover the difference up to the limit in your policy.
- Medical Expenses- Your insurance may pay for medical expenses caused by an accident if you elected that option in your policy. However, if you receive a settlement, you may have to reimburse your carrier from your settlement for medical payments the insurance company made.
Ultimately the other driver, if found to be at fault, is responsible for the following:
- Bodily Injury- The other driver’s insurance company will pay for medical expenses, pain and suffering, physical injuries, and lost past and future wages.
*Important: You should not negotiate with the other insurance company until after your medical treatment has been completed. Also, the other insurance company will try to give you low offers and delay settlement. It is important for you to contact an attorney at Keith, Miller, Butler, Schneider & Pawlik so they can do the negotiating with the insurance company while you recover. That way, you don’t deal with the stress and you receive the maximum settlement from the insurance company.
- Property Damage- The at fault driver’s liability coverage will pay for the damages caused to your car or other property. This will usually occur soon after the accident. Again, it is important for you to contact one of our attorneys to ensure that you are receiving your maximum settlement on your property damage.
If you are injured in a car wreck while on a job, your employer’s worker’s compensation may provide payments as well. It is very important to contact our office to handle your worker’s compensation case and coordinate it with the auto insurance companies.
To discuss these options and receive the most for your injuries and damages request a Free Consultation now.