When you’re in a car crash, there can be a lot of consequences. You may have to miss work, seek regular medical care, figure out how to get your car repaired (or purchase a new one), figure out different temporary transportation, and so on. And, of course, you’ll have to deal with different insurance policies and claims. Below, we outline four (4) different kinds of insurance claims you might deal with if you are in a car crash. More information about the car insurance policies mentioned here can be found in a blog we previously published.
- Medical Payments Claim
Medical payments (MedPay) coverage is a part of your own car insurance policy. It provides coverage for the medical expenses you have from a car crash. Importantly, these payments are made to you regardless of who is at fault in your accident. And, again, they are part of your insurance policy. So if a third party crashes into you and hurts you, you can make a claim with your own insurance company under your MedPay policy. Then, once the claim is opened, your insurance company will step in and pay for your medical care under that policy. Medpay is just one of several insurance claims that you may need to make after a crash.
- At-Fault Liability “Property Damage” Claim
You will need to get your vehicle repaired. To do that, you will need to open a claim under the at-fault driver’s liability policy. The at-fault driver’s liability policy covers both property damage and bodily injury. For the property damage of your vehicle, the claim will be valued based on estimates for repair or, if your car is totaled, the value of your vehicle. Because estimates and appraisals are fairly objective and can be verified, it is typically less difficult to reach agreement on a fair settlement for property damage than it is for bodily injury.
- At-Fault Liability “Bodily Injury” Claim
You may need medical care and treatment. As mentioned, the at-fault driver’s liability policy covers bodily injury as well as property damage. What that means is that you will open an insurance claim under the driver’s policy, and the bodily injury coverage will be used to pay for your care. Once the claim is opened, you will continue to receive the medical treatment or care that you need until you physically recover as much as you’re going to. At that point, you can accurately estimate what your medical costs have been and will be, and you can settle your bodily injury claim. In addition to “at-fault claims” there may be other insurance claims you can make after a car accident.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Claim
If the at-fault driver either does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance, you may also deal with a UIM claim. UIM coverage, like MedPay, is part of your own insurance policy. It is only implicated once you try to make a claim or settle with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. So if a person crashes into you and hurts you, you would first try to open up the claims we discussed above (claims under that person’s at-fault property damage coverage and bodily injury coverage). If the person does not have insurance, or if the total amount of the person’s policy is less than what you need to compensate you or make you whole, you then can make a claim under your own UIM coverage (if you have that coverage as part of your policy. Because many people do not have much insurance coverage, it is important to make sure you have UIM coverage in your policy). The UIM coverage will be used to pay the difference between your damage and what the at-fault policy covered.
These brief descriptions of these claims are meant only to give you some basic ideas about what insurance claims you might expect after a crash. As we mentioned above, more information about each of these kinds of policies can be found in a prior blog on our site. But, ultimately, insurance policies and the entire claims procedure can be complicated and confusing. Claims adjusters will not make it easier for you, and getting it wrong can mean that you are never made whole. Experienced legal counsel will help you navigate the claims process and ensure a fair settlement. If you’ve been in a car crash, call a personal injury attorney at Cheney Galluzzi & Howard today.