Sources of Recovery in a Car Accident Case
Learn about the sources of compensation following a car accident.
Auto accident case evaluations should include, besides validity and liability, a thorough investigation on recovery sources. It is critical to consider all insurance coverage and possible recovery sources to maximize compensation. Forty- seven states require that you have at least some type of car insurance, yet when it comes to actually covering your damages, there are different sources you might need to access to get a complete reimbursement of your costs. Here are some possible options.
Liability and Collision Coverage
Liability coverage is a type of auto insurance that pays for personal injury and property damages caused by the insured driver to another person. It comes into play if you are considered the at-fault driver. Covered injury damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
Property damages refer to damaged property and automobiles. Liability coverage will also pay for defense and court costs in case you are being sued. State laws determine the minimum amount of liability coverage each driver must purchase.
Collision coverage is designed to pay for damages to your vehicle, regardless of who was at fault for the crash. It provides payment to repair the damaged vehicle or payment of the value of the vehicle in case it cannot be repaired. Collision coverage is optional and subject to deductible.
Personal Injury Protection or PIP
Personal injury protection coverage is mandatory in some states but available in all U.S. territories. It is an extension of car insurance, used to cover reasonable medical costs associated with the crash but also other expenses, including lost wages and other damages. PIP is also referred to as no-fault coverage, because it can pay your damages regardless of being at fault for the accident or not.
PIP also allows coverage, within the specified dollar limit, of the losses sustained by other individuals in the vehicle at the time of the crash or of the injuries sustained by pedestrians struck by the vehicle. PIP limits range between $1,500 and $250,000 depending on the state.
Employer’s Coverage and Worker’s Compensation
In case the liable party was at the time of the crash in the course and scope of his employment, his employer might actually cover your losses. Employer coverage usually has higher insurance limits than personal injury protection policies so if you suffered consistent loses it might be a preferable option.
Worker’s compensation is a state-mandated program, allowing injured employees to receive compensation in case the injury was sustained in connection with work. Worker’s compensation can even cover losses sustained in accidents where the victim was actually liable. Covered damages include:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Retraining costs
- Permanent injury costs
Although payments are usually modest, the good news is that in certain states PIP coverage can be activated alongside worker’s compensation, increasing the recovery rate. Compensation might however not be possible in case the employee was under the influence at the time of the crash or if he or she was violating company policy. Besides that worker’s compensation does not provide pain and suffering compensation and the wage replacement is usually two thirds of the employee’s average wage.
Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers Coverage
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is designed to cover the damages sustained in a car accident in case the at-fault driver carries insufficient or no insurance at all. In certain states it is estimated that around 25% of the drivers does not carry appropriate liability insurance, however UM or UIM coverage isn’t mandatory in most of the states.
UM and UIM insurances are designed to cover both bodily injury and property damage loses. Bodily injury pays for medical bills associated with the injury sustained by you, passengers in your car or family members driving your car, while property damage covers the costs of vehicle repair. UM coverage can be useful also in case you are victim of a hit and run accident and the other driver remains unidentified or in case a bicyclist or pedestrian is hit by an uninsured driver.