If you’ve experienced injury in a car accident, then filing an auto injury claim may be the only way you have to pay your bills or recoup lost income. But the process is often a complicated one, since insurance companies obviously don’t want to pay out any more on auto injury claims than they have to. This is one reason why it’s a good idea to investigate hiring auto accident injury attorneys, as these lawyers have extensive experience dealing with insurers and navigating the legal process. But you’ll also want to educate yourself on a few basic points. Here’s what you need to know:
What Kind of Insurance Covers Injuries?
Before an injury ever occurs, you’ll want to think about what kind of insurance you’d like to have. It’s legally mandated that all drivers carry liability insurance; however, it’s important to remember that this will only cover you if the other driver is negligent (in which case you’d be getting your claim paid by his or her insurance company). Your own liability insurance is there to protect other drivers in case you cause an accident, not to pay your bills.
However, there are other kinds of insurance you can carry that operate on a no-fault basis. These include personal injury protection (PIP) and medical payments coverage. The latter, as the name implies, will cover only medical bills — it does not apply to lost income or funeral expenses. The final kind of insurance you might consider is an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. This will pay for costs associated with your bodily injury if you’re struck in a hit and run or the other driver’s policy is inadequate.
What Kind of Expenses Are Covered?
In most cases, the insurance company in question, either yours or the other driver’s depending on your insurance situation, will need to reimburse you for the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Lost familial, social or professional experiences
- Emotional damages, including pain and suffering
- Property damage
Some of these factors are fairly easy to value — just add up the total of medical bills and missed paychecks. But others, such as missed opportunities or pain and suffering — are much more difficult to put a dollar amount on. Insurance companies typically use a formula to determine such things, but it’s in these cases that working with experienced personal injury lawyers can significantly increase the value of your settlement. The important thing is that you hold out for fair compensation without dragging the process out longer than you need to (resulting in higher legal fees). That way, you can get back to your normal life as soon as possible.
What other questions do you have about auto injury claims? Join the discussion in the comments.