The outcome of every car accident personal injury case is dependent upon auto insurance
The amount of insurance you carry and the amount of insurance the at-fault party carries affects everything from the damages to your vehicle, payment of medical expenses, reimbursement of lost wages, and payment for your pain and suffering.
If there is not enough insurance, you risk not being fully compensated for your losses.
While being in an auto accident is never a good experience, being properly insured can help you avoid the risk that you will not be left owing money on your car or not being paid for your wage losses, medical expenses or pain and suffering.
Most people don’t even know they are underinsured!
We go through life thinking that it will never happen to me. We also go through life trying to save money and expenses wherever we can. Insurance agents know this and frequently don’t even promote or sometimes even discuss uninsured motorist protection or underinsured motorist protection or umbrella insurance policies. We’ll explain why these coverages are crucial to have.
What kind of auto insurance do I need?
It seems like every other commercial on television these days is for auto insurance. Flo from Progressive Insurance and the Geico Gecko are household icons. But what kind of auto insurance do you really need for protection?
Know the insurance language
You need to know a few insurance terms that apply to personal injury cases like car accidents.
1.Third party insurance
Third party insurance covers the party that causes the accident.
Liability insurance covers you if you are at fault. Liability insurance is sometimes referred to as third-party insurance because it covers the party that causes the accident.
2. First party insurance
First party insurance provides you with compensation from your own insurance company. There are 3 types to discuss related to auto accidents and injuries.
Medical payments insurance (Med Pay)
Med Pay covers your medical expenses regardless of fault.
Uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist insurance
UM or UIM covers you if the at-fault party has no insurance or insufficient policy limits.
Umbrella Coverage offers you additional liability protection and/or additional monetary protection if you reach the limits of your primary policy. It provides you with one more layer of protection in the event of a catastrophic-type injury. Umbrella coverage can be used in many different situations, not just for auto accidents.
Why you need first party insurance with the highest limits you can afford
First party insurances like:
- Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist
- Umbrella policies
are crucial to ensure you get the proper medical care after an injury accident.
Here’s why it’s so important to make sure you have enough insurance to protect your assets:
If you have the minimum liability coverage required, it’s not enough.
In California, everyone is required to carry liability/ third party insurance if they operate a motor vehicle. The minimum limit for liability coverage in California is $15,000. In most personal injury cases, $15,000 is insufficient to fairly compensate you for your medical expenses, wage losses and pain and suffering.
Even minor injuries can be expensive.
When you are injured in an accident, you are often in a state of shock and confusion, even in the absence of a major injury like brain trauma. You may have no clear idea how badly you are hurt. Even if it is ultimately determined that you have suffered soft tissue strains and sprains, you may have needed an ambulance. An ambulance ride can cost $2,000. A simple outpatient emergency room visit with X-rays and other diagnostic studies can easily cost $10,000, or more even if you only are later diagnosed with a sprain or strain injury. Unless you or the other party have the right amount of insurance you could be left with a case that far exceeds the minimum limit required.
First party insurance is more affordable than you might think.
First party uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist, and umbrella policies are usually quite cost-effective. If you have your own health insurance, you can consider deleting the medical payments provision of your policy and with the savings purchase better first party coverage 4.
You’re more likely to be injured in an auto accident than anywhere else.
Auto accidents remain one of the leading causes of injury faced by the public. Sadly it is often the case that victims of auto accidents do not carry sufficient first party limits.
Being underinsured in a serious accident can mean that you are unable to pay your medical bills or that you will not receive enough money to pay for lost wages or the loss of a job.
Victims who do not have sufficient insurance can lose everything or be forced into bankruptcy.
Take the time to review your coverage with your insurance agent or broker and be sure you have sufficient first party coverages. It’s worth it.
You need a lawyer if you are seriously injured during an auto accident
You need an attorney to look at every possible way to recover money for your losses, even if you do not have the right insurance. Your attorney can make sure you maximize the money that is available by negotiating with medical providers, helping you get disability payments while you are out of work, or finding other parties that may be responsible. Sometimes it may appear that the at-fault party lacks sufficient insurance when they actually have deeper limits. For example, an attorney can help you determine whether the at-fault party’s employer can be a source of recovery or whether there are other negligent parties that can be pursued for recovery.
If you are seriously injured in an auto accident that is not your fault, you will need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. For the past 30 years, I have been helping injury victims maximize their recoveries from serious motor vehicle accidents.