Insurance 101 from a Personal Injury Attorney

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Kyle E. Wright
7/13/21 7:00 AM
Tags: Personal Injury

When you sign up for car insurance, studies show that most people just select what his or her agent first recommends. The problem with this is when injured clients come in for an initial consult, it’s too often we find their coverage is not appropriate for that client’s unique situation. This post serves as an introduction into auto insurance policies, and some of the things that you should look for when reviewing your auto policy.

Night time driving What can you control?

You can’t control what others around you do, and that is why it is so important to make sure the first thing you should look for when reviewing your auto policy is whether it has UM/UIM coverage (uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage). This coverage comes into play when you are injured by another driver who either has no insurance, or who has inadequate insurance. If you have UM/UIM coverage, this means that even if the person who caused the accident isn’t properly insured, your policy will still pay for your damages, yes even pain and suffering! It sounds funny at first that you would make a claim against your own insurance company, but this actually happens all the time. Some of our largest settlements have come from our clients pursuing a claim against their own insurance company.

The next thing that you want to look at when reviewing your insurance policy is whether you are paying for Medical Payments Coverage, frequently referred to as “Med Pay.” This policy kicks in to cover medical bills incurred as the result of an accident, regardless of whose fault it was. Sounds pretty great, huh? Well that really depends on the person, but typically not. The reason for this is if you are NOT at fault in the accident, then you will very likely be getting your medical bills paid by the at-fault party.

Your bills will initially be paid either out of pocket by you, or per your health insurance. The reason that using Med Pay disadvantages you is because the provider at which you seek medical attention will use your Med Pay coverage before any other insurance. This means that initial X-Ray you get at the ER which costs $3,000, will be deducted in full from your Med Pay Coverage. At the end of your case when you settle, you will have to pay back the entire $3,000 to Med Pay. If you refused to use your Med Pay or didn’t even have that coverage, then your health insurer would have kicked in and paid, likely a reduced amount due to the contractual write-offs health insurers have with providers…PLUS, when you settle, your health insurance is statutorily required to take a discounted amount if you have incurred costs in obtaining a verdict or settlement…which you always will if you hire an attorney.

Finally, you want to ensure your policy is adequate to shield your risk. Everyone has varying amounts of wealth, and unfortunately accidents happen every day, and it could be your fault at some point. You don’t want to risk hurting someone in an accident that is your fault, and then they come after you personally due to inadequate insurance limits. An experienced insurance agent can guide you as to what the proper limits are for you based on your assets.

Take 5 minutes, find your insurance declaration page, and review these three items. It’s certainly worth the peace of mind!

Maybe you have already been in an accident and are dealing with your claim or maybe you haven't been in an accident and are just wanting to prepare for that unfortunate scenario, check out our comprehensive guide to personal injury. If you have been injured in an accident and have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Call our office today if you would like to speak to one of our attorneys.

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Author: Kyle E. Wright     Published: 7/13/21 7:00 AM     Tags: Personal Injury


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