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Insurance for Auto Accidents

If you are involved in an accident, there are several different types of insurance that may be able to provide coverage to you. (1) Your Personal Auto Policies: Your insurance company may extend benefits to you after an accident, even when the accident is not your fault or when you were a passenger in another vehicle. It is important to look at your policy before calling your insurance company to file a claim. You may be entitled to the following types of coverage: - Med Pay: If you elected to obtain Medical Payments coverage under your auto policy, your insurance company will pay up to the limits of the policy for your necessary accident-related medical expenses. This coverage may apply even when you are hurt while a passenger in another vehicle.

Check your policy to determine what these limits are. Your policy may require you to repay the carrier for any benefits they paid when you receive a settlement or judgment. - Collision: Your auto policy may also repair and/or replace your vehicle even when another driver hit you.

This usually happens when liability for an accident is not clear. It is then the insurance company's responsibility to take the insurance company for the at-fault driver to an arbitration hearing to determine who will ultimately pay for the accident related vehicle damages. - Rental Reimbursement: You may also be entitled to payment for your rental car expense while your own vehicle is being repaired. - UM/UIM: Hopefully, you purchased Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists coverage at the time you bought your policy. The uninsured motorist coverage (UM) will pay for your damages in the event that the driver that caused the accident did not have the minimum required liability coverage in place. The underinsured coverage (UIM) will pay for your damages in the event that the other driver had liability coverage limits lower than that of your own policy and assuming that your damages are greater than the amount of liability coverage held by the at-fault driver.

Again, this coverage may even apply when you are a passenger in someone else's vehicle. (2) The Auto Policy covering the vehicle in which you were a passenger: As a passenger in a vehicle covered by an auto insurance policy you are also entitled to benefits under the policy of auto insurance covering that vehicle. - Liability Coverage: If the driver of the vehicle you were in as a passenger is at fault for the accident, the liability coverage attached to that policy would be responsible for paying your damages. - Med'Pay & UM/UIM: As a passenger you are also entitled to the same Med-Pay and UM/UIM benefits as the policyholder. (3) The At-Fault Driver's Auto Liability Policy: The policy of insurance covering either the at-fault driver or the at-fault vehicle will be responsible for paying for your damages sustained as a result of the accident.

These generally fall into two categories: - Property Damage: Liability insurance is meant to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle. Also available will be damages for the loss of use of your vehicle while it is being repaired or until the settlement is reached on the property damage if the vehicle is declared a total loss. Settlement of this category of damages is usually reached within days or weeks of the accident. - Bodily Injury: This category of damages generally includes payment for your medical expenses, physical injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earnings capacity and other economic losses. Settlement negotiations for these types of damages should not take place until your doctors have completed your course of medical treatment. In many cases, insurance adjustors for the other side will either delay settlement or make "low-ball" offers requiring the commencement of litigation to resolve the case.

(4) Your Health Insurance Policy: In the event that you had a health insurance plan in effect at the time of the accident, this coverage will pay for your medical expenses as you continue your medical treatment. Please note that, in most cases, this coverage is not triggered until all available auto Med-Pay coverage has been spent. Caution: It is very important to note that most health policies have a "subrogation clause" which requires you to pay back the insurance company for the amounts that they have paid towards your medical expenses once you collect any money from the liability insurance carrier. Failure to comply with these policy requirements can result in your health carrier canceling your insurance or filing a lawsuit against you. Consequently, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney to determine how to proceed in this situation.

Additionally, an experienced attorney may be able to convince the health carrier to waive or reduce the amounts. (5) Your Disability Policy: If your injuries prevent you from returning to work after the accident, you may be able to make a claim for either permanent or temporary disability under any disability policies that you had in effect at the time of the accident. (6) Worker's Compensation Plans: If you were involved in an accident while you were on the job, your employer's worker's compensation plan will extend benefits for your medical bills and loss of earnings. It is very important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible in these situations, as the coordination of your rights between your worker's compensation case and your personal injury case is essential. Caution: Coordination of benefits between all the potential insurance policies is an area requiring specialized legal knowledge. It is very easy to overlook possible avenues of recovery if you are not intimately familiar with this area of law.

Copyright (c) 2008 Jason Crawford.

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