If you have been seriously injured as a result of another driver’s negligence
it can be difficult to determine the amount of money available to cover your medical bills and to compensate you for the pain and suffering you have suffered–and likely will continue to suffer. Generally, there are four practical sources for payment depending on the circumstances.
The At-Fault Driver’s Liability Insurance
Every motorist in Missouri is required to have automobile liability insurance. The minimum bodily injury coverage is $25,000.00, but policies offering far more coverage are available. Insurance coverage for commercial vehicles can exceed $1,000,000.00. Some drivers also carry an umbrella insurance policy that applies to damages exceeding the motor-vehicle policy limit. You will need a seasoned personal injury attorney to ascertain the available coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance
While the law requires all motorist to carry liability insurance, unfortunately, many drivers operate their vehicles without any such coverage. This situation is more common that you might expect, and if you’re injured by an uninsured motorist, you will be seeking recovery from uninsured motorist coverage through your own automobile policy. All automobile insurance policies sold in Missouri are required to include at least $25,000.00 in uninsured motorist coverage. As with liability insurance, additional coverage can be purchased for additional premium. Often uninsured motorist coverage is the only source of recovery, so being well protected in this category is often a smart move.
Underinsured Motorist Insurance
As you can imagine, there are many times where the at-fault driver’s liability insurance is woefully insufficient. The medical expenses alone for an injury requiring surgical intervention can easily exceed the coverage held by most non-commercial motorists. Underinsured motorist coverage is optional and is used toward damages not satisfied by the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. All insurance policies are different, and some underinsured motorist policies are written in a way that does not provide excess coverage in certain situations. It is important to understand the type of insurance you have.
Medical Payment Benefits
Most auto insurers also offer a type of coverage call medical payment benefits (med pay). This coverage is also optional and is usually a relatively small policy compared to liability, uninsured, and underinsured coverages. Typical med pay limits are $1,000.00; $2,000.00; $5,000.00; and $10,000.00. Med pay is a form of no-fault insurance, which means that when you have purchased this coverage, it applies to medical bills resulting from auto collisions regardless of whether the accident was the other driver’s fault or your own. There are generally two types of med pay in Missouri: the more common from pays out regardless of whether health insurance or some other source contributed to payments of your medical bills. The second type is call excess med pay and only applies to the out-of-pocket portion of medical bills incurred. Put differently, the first form will pay any amounts billed by your providers (subject to the policy limit). The second will only pay portions not covered by health insurance such as co pays or balances remaining after health-insurance payments and adjustments.
Maximizing recovery among each of the policies that apply to a given collision can be a daunting task and requires specialized knowledge—not only about the policies mentioned above but also with their interaction with health insurance policies, medical providers, and Missouri lien law as well. Only an experienced injury attorney is equipped to navigate these challenges. Cantor Injury Law only handles injury cases and has the knowledge and experience to help you win the most compensation for your serious injuries.
Written by Attorney Poe, Glynn, & Weaver of Cantor Injury Law