The bare minimum auto insurance you are required to buy in most states will cover the medical expenses of the other party’s driver and passenger, if you are deemed to be at fault.
But, while this Basic Liability Insurance, as it is called, takes care of the other party’s medical expenses, you need a separate insurance policy, called Personal Injury Protection (PIP), to take care of the medical expenses of your passengers and you.
Of course, if the other party is held to be at fault, their insurers will pay your medical costs.
But, bearing in mind how medical expenses can quickly sky-rocket, it would be a very false economy for you not to have your own Personal Injury Protection as a given.
And, precisely because medical expenses can go through the roof, if the other party’s insurers are taking care of your medical expenses you can be sure they will keep an eagle eye on your medical adventures by employing an insurance adjuster.
So be aware that – despite coming from a different company to the insurers and so appearing to be independent – insurance adjusters are actually in the insurer’s corner and not yours.
For that reason, be very careful what you say.
And, if they suggest the you give them a recorded or written statement or want their own medical attendant to examine your injuries or that they be given access to your employment and medical records, politely refuse.
But, to avoid the charge that you are uncooperative, tell them you will authorize your physician to give them the medical notes specifically related on your injuries, once your treatment is finished.
You also need to be aware of the various factors the other party’s insurers will look at to calculate the level of compensation. That way, you’ll be ready to answer any questions put to you by the insurers or their adjuster.
The main thing an adjuster will want to evaluate is the depth and severity of your injuries and how that has changed your life since the accident.
It hardly needs saying that you obtain medical attention as soon as possible after you’ve been injured in an accident, because – although you might feel fine at the time – there could be an underlying problem that only a qualified medical attendant could spot.
As soon as you see your physician, you should immediately make them aware your injuries have arisen as a result of an automobile accident.
It’s also vital that you start and keep a journal as soon as possible after the accident where you document all problems and treatment.
It is also vital that you carefully follow any recommendations your physician makes in regard to your treatment to avoid the insurers claiming you have failed to mitigate – or minimize – their loss by making every effort to recover as soon as possible.
You should also keep a daily note in your medical journal of how your injuries are impacting on your normal day to day life.
Be sure to obtain a second opinion from another physician if you feel you are not making a sufficiently rapid recovery.
Once the other party’s insurers have gauged the extent and severity of your injuries, their long experience will tell them what level of compensation they should offer.
The insurers will want to know how much the injuries have changed your life since the accident, which is why you should be ahead of the curve by keeping a record of this on a daily basis right from the get go.
Because medical treatment can quickly spiral out of control, the type of treatment and its likely duration will be uppermost in the minds of your insurers and their insurance adjuster.
If the injuries are so severe you are unable to work, they will be particularly keen to know the earliest date you expect to return to full employment.
Another important part of their calculations will be the cost of expensive medications to treat your injuries.
Be in no doubt, with the cost of your medical compensation possibly running into tens of thousands of dollars, your insurers are going to seek every avenue to whittle down your claim.
Consequently, you must be prepared to hire an attorney experienced in auto insurance compensation to ensure you receive your rightful entitlement.
In the final analysis, the only truly fair way to set your compensation is with a trial in court where a jury decides.
But beware: because whatever sum they say is final.
Hopefully, your battle for compensation will not go that extreme and you will end up with a settlement that truly does compensate you for your pain and suffering.
Getting the right insurance cover for personal injury is, of course, vital, which is why it is best to employ a qualified auto insurance broker, who can draw on their long experience to best advise you when you come to set up your auto insurance.
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