Car Insurance and Its Purpose in a Car Accident Case
No matter how safely you drive, car accidents can still happen. Auto accidents can be caused by unsafe driving habits, violations, and road distractions. Luckily, car insurance can cover costs. It serves as protection in case you crash your car. However, car accident insurance claims can be a complicated topic. If you get into a collision, getting an insurance payout for your car accident can be challenging. Read on to learn more about your car insurance, its role, and its legal implications in a car accident case:
What is a Car Insurance?
Car insurance is an agreement between you, a car owner, and an insurance company. It helps protect you from extensive costs caused by accidents or theft. You pay the insurance company a premium in exchange for coverage. Then, you can make a car insurance claim after an accident based on the outline in your policy.
What Does A Car Insurance Cover?
Car insurance generally covers the following costs:
- Property – theft or damage of your car
- Liability – your legal responsibility for other people’s physical injury or property damage
- Medical – treatment of injuries (includes rehabilitation, funeral costs, etc.)
Most US states require car owners to have car insurance. However, laws and procedures might change per state.
How Does a Car Insurance Help in an Auto Accident?
Car insurance helps cover damages caused by an auto accident. This includes, but might not be limited to, costs to treat injuries, repair car damage, and other costs. Car insurance can also compensate you for lost income due to injury and other subjective effects of an accident. However, this can only apply based on many factors, such as your location and indications under your policy. You need to pay close attention to the types of car insurance, so you can choose appropriately.
Types of Car Insurance
There are two general variations of car insurance:
Liability Car Insurance
Also called fault-based insurance, this type is applicable when the accident is your fault. It will not cover your medical costs, but it will cover bills for other people injured in the crash. This type of insurance is meant to compensate other drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, motorcyclists, or pedestrians who got injured in the accident you caused. Your liability insurance compensates for general damages linked to the accident, such as:
- medical bills incurred from treating injuries
- income loss or other financial losses
- other general damages, such as “pain and suffering”
Do You Need Liability Car Insurance?
Many states require car owners to have liability insurance. This allows them to bear financial responsibility if they cause a car accident. Most of the time, vehicle owners need to avail the following:
- Bodily injury liability car insurance, which covers people who got injured in an accident you cause. This often has a per-person minimum and a per-accident minimum.
- Property damage liability car insurance, which covers any vehicle damage as well as other property damage sustained by others because of an accident you caused. This often has a minimum amount that ranges from $5,000 to $10,000.
Some states have other options to set up a car owner’s financial responsibility for unexpected accidents, such as cash deposits or surety bonds. However, getting liability car insurance is one of the most common ways to comply with state requirements.
No-Fault Car Insurance
This is also called Personal Injury Protection car insurance. On the other hand, some states follow a “no-fault” car insurance scheme. This type of insurance allows the driver to cover themselves no matter who is at fault for the accident. With this type of car insurance, car owners can use it as a first option to compensate for medical costs and other losses linked to the accident, regardless of whose fault it was.
However, you can file a liability claim or accident lawsuit only if you sustain “serious” injuries that meet qualifications dictated by the state’s laws, including a minimum dollar-amount for medical care.
Understanding Your Coverage and Policy Limits
The basic legal stance is that the person at fault must take financial responsibility for damages. However, the total compensation you can get from a car accident can heavily depend on the following:
- Insurance policy and coverage
- The coverage limit in your policy
You can file a personal injury lawsuit against at-fault drivers if they’re driving without insurance. Winning the case can be easy, but collecting a judgment can be a totally different matter. You can only recover financially if the at-fault driver has the assets to pay promptly.
Likewise, an at-fault driver’s insurance alone might not be enough for severe injuries if they only have the minimum coverage. If both situations seem too grim for you, here are insurance coverages you can avail to protect yourself:
Uninsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage
This can come in handy when the at-fault driver causes a car accident without insurance at all. If you have this coverage, you can file a claim for UIM benefits with your own insurance provider. This can cover your medical costs as well as other losses up to its indicated coverage limits. However, it might not cover vehicle damage costs. You’ll need to get an “uninsured motorist property damage” insurance if you also want to get coverage for your vehicle.
UIM is not mandatory in all states. In some cases, you need to get it as an add-on. Insurance companies are required to offer it, but you’re allowed to decline. However, you might want to avail it as an extra layer of protection.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Underinsured motorist coverage can be used if the at-fault driver’s insurance is not enough to compensate for your damages. However, you can only make this claim with your insurance provider if your underinsured driver coverage is greater than the at-fault driver’s policy limits.
What to Do After a Car Accident in California
It’s important to notify your insurance provider about the accident as soon as you can. Also, legal professionals always recommend to consult a lawyer immediately. A car accident or personal injury attorney can help you understand the options you have, so you can get the maximum amount for your damages. You can also do your own research, but lawyers can guide you through the insurance claim process for car accidents. Also, they can give clarity on whose insurance pays for the car accident.
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If you need a lawyer, we can help you get a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer here at Jacoby and Meyers. We have a great team of the best personal injury or auto accident lawyers in California, including Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno, and Sacramento. Our lawyers can help you get justice as well as the compensation you rightfully deserve, including car accident settlements and more. Give us a call today at 888-960-0480 for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you.