California personal injury attorneys

Insurance-General Issues in Personal Injury Cases

Below is a general summary of various insurance issues relating to personal injury cases, and how they may affect the claims process, and any ultimate recovery.

Insurance Issues - Personal Injury

Important Insurance Issues in California Personal Injury Cases: When considering the types of insurance coverages available, it is important to keep in mind that even if you have full coverage of all types, this coverage is only as good as the "policy limits" (the maximum amount the insurer will pay). It is important to consult with an insurance professional before deciding which limits are best for you and your family.

  • Liability Insurance and Proposition 213: Liability insurance will pay another person if you cause injury to another person. However, if you are injured in an accident by another's negligence, but do not have minimum liability insurance covering you or the car you were driving at the time of the accident, even though you are not at fault, you are prevented by California law (Prop 213) from recovering "non-economic" damages, such as injury from emotional distress and other pain and suffering related to your physical injury. You will however, still be able to recover the "hard" economic damages stemming from medical bills, loss of earnings and similar economic damages

  • Health Insurance (Private Medical Insurance Coverage): This coverage is important because it will usually be your first avenue to having emergency and other medical bills paid. Always keep a current copy of your health plan booklet at your home and a health insurance card with your policy and group number in you vehicle. If your health insurance plan pay for medical expenses , they may try to assert a claim for reimbursement from the proceeds of your lawsuit, if any. Whether they are entitled to reimbursement depends on your health plan policy language. An attorney can evaluate this for you.

  • Medical Payments Insurance (Med-Pay): This type of automobile coverage is important because it will often come into play to cover medical expenses and may cover co-pays, deductibles and other out of pocket costs. So, it is important to make sure you have this type of coverage, along with healthy limits before you are involved in an accident. Talk with an experienced insurance professional regarding adequate limits for your individual and family needs. The insurer might seek reimbursement from the proceeds of suit for amounts paid under a med-pay provision. So, once again it is important to have an attorney review your policy language to determine whether reimbursement is required.

  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM): If you do not have this type of coverage in an amount at least equal to your current liability limits, you may want to get it, since this coverage protects you if you are injured in accident involving an uninsured driver. Depending on your situation you may want to increase your liability limits so that you can also increase your UM coverage limits as well. You may wish to speak to an experienced insurance professional regarding what limits are appropriate for you and your family.

  • Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM): Similar to UM coverage, this type of coverage is important because it will protect you if you are injured by a person with liability limits that less than your UM/UIM limits. For example, if your car is stuck by a negligent driver's vehicle, which carries only minimum limits ($15k per person, $30k per accident) , and your UIM limits are $50k/$100K, then your UIM policy will cover your injuries and damages after the negligent driver's insurance pays their limits and you prove injury/damages in excess of those limits, up to $85,000, subject to proof. This proof is not made in court, but rather through a less formal process known as UM/UIM arbitration.

  • Collision and Property Damage (Coll)/PD coverages: These coverages apply to pay for car repairs when you are involved in a motor vehicle accident or your negligence causes damage to person's vehicle. Collision coverage covers your car when you cause damage to your own car.

  • Comprehensive Coverage (Comp): This type of coverage generally generally covers damage to your car that does not result from a motor vehicle accident (i.e., vandalism, etc.) It usually has a deductible that must be paid before repairs will be made to the vehicle.

  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Deductible Waiver (UMPD): This coverage will generally pay the cost of any deductible necessary to pay for repairs to your car resulting from the negligence of another driver who has no PD liability insurance.

  • Towing and Rental Coverages: Like their names imply, these coverages will reimburse your for the cost of towing and storage, up to a set limit. It is important that you consult with your insurer to make sure you do not exceed the limits, or you may be on the hook for any difference.

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