No matter how serious your injuries are after being involved in a car accident, a crash can upend your entire life. Not only will you suffer damage to your vehicle that will need to be repaired, but you will also be likely buried in hospital and doctor’s bills, and if your injuries were serious enough, an expensive ride in an ambulance.
While it is a common belief that as long as someone else was at fault, you will be able to recover a large enough settlement to pay all of these bills as well as have extra money left over for pain and suffering and lost wages. Unfortunately, that’s not quite true, and sometimes only a minimum settlement amount for a car accident can and will be awarded to you.
To explore just why, and in what situations this will happen, we need to explain just how car insurance works, and how the minimum and maximum amount of compensation can be awarded in certain situations.
The Types of Car Insurance Coverage
In most States in the U.S. some type of car insurance is legally mandatory to drive. This insurance coverage applies to many different types of damage that can occur in a car accident. Insurance plans offer will some, or all the following:
- Bodily Liability Insurance. This type of insurance coverage is the most common and is mandatory in the majority of states to legally drive. Bodily liability insurance covers someone else’s medical bills in the case of an injury or death causing accident where you were at fault.
- Property Liability Insurance. This form of coverage is also legally mandatory in most states in the U.S. and covers the damage to physical property in an at-fault crash. This property is normally the vehicle of the other person or people involved but can also cover other forms of property damage.
- Medical Payment Coverage. This coverage isn’t mandatory except for a few states; however, is always a good idea to have. Medical payment coverage will pay for your medical bills after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
- Collision Insurance. This optional coverage will pay for repairs to your vehicle in case of an accident, no matter who was at fault.
- Comprehensive Insurance. This is also an optional type of coverage that will pay for damage to your vehicle sustained from non-collision sources.
- Gap Insurance. This optional coverage will compensate you for the difference between the value of your car and the total amount that you may still owe for the car. This only happens in the case of a crash that totals your vehicle.
- Uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage is mandatory in some states and will cover medical bills for yourself or another uninsured driver if you or they were not at-fault for the crash.
- Rental Reimbursement. This insurance will cover any damage to a rental car rented by you, in case of a car accident.
How Much or How Little Can Be Paid in Compensation?
Each different insurance plan will or will not offer the types of coverage detailed above as well as have a dollar amount that will be the maximum amount that will be paid. This maximum amount paid by insurance will be the grand total no matter what kind of damages are sustained.
However, that does not mean that just because the insurance of the at-fault driver only pays out a certain amount, that you cannot then seek the remaining damages against the at-fault driver in court. For example, if a millionaire plows into your car while you were stopped at a red light, but only has liability insurance that pays a maximum $10,000, you can then seek the remaining damages by suing the driver.
However, if the driver is on food stamps and doesn’t have any assets, you will very likely just get the $10,000 paid by their insurance because the driver has no assets to use to pay the remaining damages. This is why having medical payment coverage on your own insurance plan is such a good idea.
The minimum settlement for a car accident has everything to do with the at fault party’s insurance plan, and if the at-fault party has any assets that can be attached by civil judgement. Most people who have a great amount of assets will have good enough car insurance to protect those assets.
After being injured in a car accident, it is vital that you seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer so that you can recover all of the injuries and damages that have occurred. Here at Justice Law Center, we have been representing the people of Ely Nevada in their personal injury cases for over 25 years.
We care about the people of rural Nevada and offer free consultations.
Call us today.
Josh is writer and paralegal, with over 10 years of experience in family law, personal injury, criminal defense and more.