After an Accident: Dealing With Insurance Companies

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Car accidents are chaotic and stressful; although the chaos may begin to settle as time passes, the stress may not. You now have to deal with both your and the other driver’s insurance on top of medical bills. The financial aspect of car accidents can be confusing and frightening to navigate around, as the figures can end up being quite large.

This article is here to help assuage your confusion and anxiety by explaining which parts of your vehicle accident insurance policy apply and what may happen if you file a lawsuit. Keep in mind that we’ll be speaking in general terms and aren’t discussing the specific impact pre-existing conditions may have on accident claims

If you’re involved in an accident while dealing with a pre-existing condition, it may be best to hire a lawyer to help you understand the laws surrounding your situation and what you may be entitled to as a result.

What if Someone is Injured?

When someone else is injured, you must rely on your bodily injury insurance policy to help cover their medical bills. This coverage is required in most states, but the specifics of how much your policy will cover varies based on a few factors, such as state requirements. Your bodily injury policy will only be considered if you’re at fault for the accident. 

If you’re injured, but the other person is at fault, then you’ll receive money from the other person’s policy to cover your medical expenses. If neither person is at fault, then you must either pay out of pocket or rely on your personal injury protection. Some states will have you utilizing this policy regardless of who is at fault, but it may not be available in all states.

Which Policy Covers the Vehicle Damage?

Similar to when someone is injured, which policy covers the property damage varies based on who is at fault, which state you live in, and the specifics of your policies. When someone is at fault for the accident, that person’s property damage policy pays for the other driver’s repairs or vehicle replacement. 

Unlike injury insurance, however, property damage coverage is required in all states, though how much must be covered by the policy varies by state. Collision coverage is similar to personal injury protection: it covers the cost of damages you suffered, which will be useful if you hit something that doesn’t move, such as a road sign or barrier, and may be necessary in no-fault states.

How Does Insurance Cover Hit and Run Cases?

While everyone should have insurance and stay on the scene of an accident, we know these things don’t always happen. While the other person will have to pay out of pocket, get the required policy, or have to pay a fine, what about you? Luckily, there are policies to protect you in this case: uninsured motorist coverage. 

While it may not seem like it applies to hit-and-runs since you often have no way of knowing if the other driver was insured, vehicles that leave the scene of an accident that can’t be found afterward are considered uninsured, which means these policies will cover the costs associated with your accident. There are two types of UM coverage, with one covering injuries and the other covering damage.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, or UMBI, does a bit more than you may first expect, though the specifics range from policy to policy. Some UMBIs not only cover the medical expenses that result from an accident, but they also cover loss of income and pain and suffering as well.

Uninsured motorist property damage or UMPD will cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Some collision coverage policies will cover damage done to your parked car when you weren’t around, but if not, then this policy might. On top of these, it may be wise to ensure you also have underinsured motorist coverage to help you cover expenses when the other driver’s insurance policy isn’t enough to cover the medical or repair bills.

What Happens When You File a Lawsuit?

Before you file a lawsuit against the driver who crashed into you, you need to understand how long you have to file. If you file a case after the statute of limitation has passed, your case will be rejected. 

The specifics of how long you have to file vary from state to state, but we’ll use Florida as an example. You have four years to file a case if someone was injured and two if someone passed away due to the other driver’s negligence in Florida. Filing a lawsuit against the driver you believe to be at fault in your accident may seem daunting, so to make it less so, we’ll explain the most likely ending for these types of cases: a settlement.

Most personal injury cases end in a settlement, and car accident cases are no exception. How much you’d receive in a settlement varies from case to case, but the average settlement amounts tend to be around $4,711 for property damage and $20,235 for injuries. 

If you want to file a claim against the other driver, even if the filing ends in a settlement, you should still hire a personal injury lawyer. Many of them specialize in car accidents and will be able to help you either negotiate the best settlement possible or present your case in court. 

They’ll review your situation, gather evidence, help you understand how the case may proceed and what you may be owed. They can also help you quickly get the fair compensation you deserve from whichever driver’s insurance policy is called upon.

Being Prepared In The Event of An Accident

Car accidents are scary and traumatizing. You may not be thinking clearly for a little while after it happens, either due to panic and fear or being stunned or dazed. This is why many states require vehicle owners to have a few different types of insurance policies and why they specify minimum coverage amount requirements. 

Without that coverage, you could either pay for your injuries and repairs out of your own pocket or be taken to court and forced to pay a hefty settlement and fine. Check to see what policies are available in your area and which ones may be best for you before you hop behind the wheel.

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