Auto Insurance Medical Claims

Unfortunately, car accidents are an every day occurrence, and sooner or later chances are you’ll be involved in a wreck. If you’re in an automobile accident that results in a personal injury, and you or another party must make a medical claim, it’s smart to know how your auto insurance coverage works.

Get to Know Your Auto Insurance Policy

If you don’t completely understand how your auto insurance policy works, you’re not alone. Most of us pay our monthly premiums and think we’re prepared for an emergency. But you’re only prepared if you know exactly what risks your covered for.

First, find your car insurance policy—the one you stuffed in a filing cabinet and didn’t read—and read it! Start with the declarations page. This is the page, usually at the beginning of your insurance packet, that lists your policy number, covered vehicles, and all coverages being purchased for your premium amount. What’s printed on this sheet is exactly what you are covered for. The trick is understanding it.

Liability coverage is required in almost all 50 states, so at a bare minimum you should be carrying liability coverage. Full coverage auto insurance will also list medical coverage, as well as uninsured motorist coverage. Other elected coverage, such as towing service, may also be listed. Auto insurance requirements differ by state, and each insurance carrier utilizes its own policy language and structure, so understanding how medical claims will be made in case of a car accident isn’t easy. The best idea is to meet with your insurance agent and ask questions until you understand exactly what you are paying for. To help you know what questions to ask, consider the following primer:

  • Liability. Liability coverage, sometimes referred to as bodily injury coverage, is the amount your insurance will pay on a claim if you are liable. That is, if you are found at fault in a car accident, and the other party makes a medical claim against you, your insurance will pay them up to the amount listed under your policy’s liability coverage. It is important to know that you must pay, out of pocket, any settlement amount for medical expenses above your policy limit.  This is why choosing the appropriate liability amount is so important.

    Liability coverage is limited per person and per accident. Here’s how this works: If one person is injured in the accident, he or she will be limited to the per person recovery limit. If multiple persons are injured, they will be limited to the per accident limit. So, in the case of a multiple injury claim, each claimant will receive a portion of the per accident limit, which will likely be less than the per person limit. Again, you will still be financially responsible for any medical expenses above your liability coverage.
  • Property Damage Coverage.  This coverage is also a liability coverage, and will pay for any physical or property damage for which you are found at fault.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured and underinsured coverage protects you against drivers who do not carry automobile coverage. This coverage will pay for your medical bills if you are injured by a driver without coverage, or with inadequate coverage.
  • Medical coverage. This coverage is for you, but possibly will only be paid after your personal health insurance coverage reaches its maximum limits. You will need to check with your health insurance provider as well as your auto provider to make sure you know how this works in the event you need to make a medical claim.

How an Attorney Can Help You Recover Medical Expenses

Anytime large medical claims are made against them, insurance companies will be hard at work to limit the amount they pay. Consulting with a car accident attorney can help settle your medical claim with an insurance company, and handle any further financial claims against the liable party. Likewise, a good attorney can help limit claims made against you.