Compounding the trauma of injuries suffered in a car accident are the short- and long-term medical costs.
But fortunately, with the help of your auto insurance policy you should, depending on the circumstances of the accident and extent of your injuries, be able to recoup a large portion of your expenses.
Auto Insurance Protection for Personal Injury
There are three types of coverages that allow you to file an accident injury claim: bodily injury liability, personal injury protection (PIP), and medical payment.
1) Bodily Injury Liability
Under this policy, your medical expenses are covered ONLY if you're not at fault. To pay for your medical costs, you would file an accident claim through the negligent driver's car insurance company. Keep in mind that because this coverage is based on fault, your claim may be challenged.
Bodily liability protection is required in every state except New Hampshire. Each state maintains different minimum bodily injury amounts in which you must carry.
2) Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal injury protection is more encompassing than bodily injury liability coverage in that your medical costs will be covered―within the specified limits―regardless of fault.
In addition to medical costs, PIP also covers collateral repercussions like loss of income and home aid while recuperating.
This coverage is currently required in only 12 states along with the District of Columbia. The other remaining states either offer PIP as an option, or not at all. Specific limits and coverages vary by state. For more information on your state's PIP limits, contact your state's insurance department.
3) Medical Payments
Medical payments coverage is more narrow than PIP, covering only medical bills within the pre-determined limits. This coverage, which is optional, is not offered in every state.
Many drivers with limited health insurance coverage favor this policy.
File an Accident Claim
After filing an accident injury claim you will be questioned by the auto insurance company's claims adjuster. Don't take offense to any questions asked. The claims adjuster's task is to minimize your pay out and is only doing his or her job.
To ease the process, be prepared to answer some or all of the following questions:
- What are your injuries?
- Did you exit the scene of the accident in an ambulance?
- What type of medical treatment have you received?
- What hospitals or medical offices have you been treated at?
- Are you still being treated?
- In regards to your current injury, has this part of your body been injured before? And if yes, how long ago?
- Are you suffering from any lingering pain?
- What are your medical costs?
To bolster your injury accident claim, be sure to maintain meticulous medical records. This includes filing every medical document, medical receipt and medical-related E-mail you send or receive.