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After A Car Accident or Truck Crash, How Are Your Medical Expenses Covered?

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Being involved in a car accident is often a painful and traumatizing experience, whether you are a driver or a passenger. If anyone is injured, will there be enough insurance to cover medical expenses that will occur?  Especially when large tractor trailers and other trucks are involved, the damage can be extensive. As a driver it is always your responsibility to drive in a way that protects yourself and your passengers from harm, but if a serious accident does happen, you’ll want to make sure that both you and your passengers will have the coverage they need to seek treatment.

How do you know what medical coverage to consider when updating or selecting your insurance policy? Here are 3 types of insurance coverages that apply to medical costs after a car accident:

Bodily Injury:
This is a liability coverage that kicks in if you are at fault for an accident. It covers the other party’s injuries, treatment, loss of wages, and pain and suffering up to your policy limit. It may also apply to your passengers if they are not properly excluded by policy terms permitted by state or federal law.  Inadequate liability coverage can expose you to personal liability if the claims arising out of an accident that is your fault are greater than the coverage you purchased.

Med Pay (Medical Payments Coverage):
Med Pay will help with your medical costs no matter who is found at fault for the accident. Med Pay covers expenses for medical, surgical, dental and chiropractic treatments that are considered necessary and reasonable. Some of these services include ambulance transportation, hospitalization, X-rays, nursing care, prosthetics and funeral expenses. You may not need to add Med Pay to your insurance if you already have adequate health insurance coverage, but many people buy it anyway, because it makes usual, customary and reasonable (UCR) payment for accident related medical expenses even if they have already been paid by another source such as health insurance.  Many people use the double coverage to avoid having to pay co-pays and deductibles.  For those whose accident related expenses are already covered by health insurance the Med Pay money is often a good bridge for out of pocket expenses that will be reimbursed later when the liability claim is resolved.

UM/UIM (Uninsured Motorist/Under Insured Motorist Coverage):
If someone else causes the crash and they are not insured or have insufficient insurance to cover the value of the claim, you will likely have to rely on your own insurance to cover all the medical expenses.  We’ve seen cases where there are hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses, but the responsible driver has no insurance or woefully inadequate insurance and no personal assets.  In truck accidents this rarely happens, because most commercial vehicles are required to carry relatively high limits as a requirement of the federal law that regulates them. In serious car crashes, though, roughly 1 in 6 drivers will be uninsured. Many more will be underinsured. Without strong UM/UIM coverage and some of the other health coverages mentioned above, the financial results for the injured party can be catastrophic.

Medical expenses add up quickly, especially when you are under-prepared. We always recommend to friends and clients to consider robust UIM and medical coverage in advance of a traumatic accident in order to have one less thing to worry as you are trying to heal from a tragic accident.  If you or a loved one ever find yourself in a serious accident, you’ll need a strong legal advocate to help you navigate the complex claims process.  As one of Virginia’s oldest and most experienced personal injury law firms, we’re always willing to provide a free consultation to help you explore your options.