Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will pay for some or all of your medical expenses and lost wages after an accident. The amount that you receive depends on your policy limits prior to the accident. If that amount you receive from an insurance company doesn’t cover your total medical bills and lost wages, how can you make yourself whole?
Check Your Policy to Ensure It Is Adequate
The best way to protect yourself after an accident is to make sure that your insurance policy offers adequate coverage. You should aim to have policy limits that will provide you with at least six months worth of wages in the event that you suffer serious injuries. Remember, the state minimum coverage levels are rarely enough to prevent a financial disaster after a crash and are only meant to discourage lawsuits after minor accidents.
How Much Coverage Should I Have?
Since you want at least six months of coverage, aim for a coverage level that is at least half of your yearly salary. Therefore, if you make $100,000 a year, you would want $50,000 in PIP coverage. If you made $25,000 a year, you would want $12,500 in coverage. However, it may still be cost effective to buy higher levels of coverage as it is relatively inexpensive. In states such as New York, you must carry at least $50,000 of coverage regardless of how much you would actually need.
PIP Is In Addition to Your Car Insurance Policy
If you have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, you may be entitled to additional benefits that will help pay medical bills. In a no-fault state, your own general liability or bodily injury acts as coverage that can also defray costs and help you get the treatment that you need without you going bankrupt.
What Happens If Your Insurance Doesn’t Cover All of Your Bills?
Let’s say that your insurance policy only covers half of your medical costs and 75 percent of your lost wages. In such a scenario, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who hurt you. If another driver was acting negligently prior to an accident, he or she may be required to pay any costs not covered by insurance. That person may also be liable to pay for lost future earnings in addition to lost wages.
What Happens if a Company or Government Entity Was Negligent?
It is possible that the driver who hit you did so because of negligence on the part of a company or government entity. For instance, a driver may have rear-ended your vehicle because the brakes were defective. An accident may have also occurred because a large pothole caused a blowout that resulted in the driver losing control of his or her own vehicle. In that scenario, you may be able to seek restitution from the manufacturer of the vehicle or the government agency responsible for maintaining that road.
Personal Injury Lawsuits May Allow For Additional Damages
While there may be a limit on how much you can collect from an insurance policy, there is no limit to what you can collect from a negligent driver. In addition to paying for health care costs and lost wages, you may also be entitled to compensation to repair your car or other property damaged in a crash.
If you have recently been hurt in a car crash, your personal injury protection coverage may allow you to pay your bills until you are able to get back to work. However, if that is not enough, you should talk to an attorney who may be able to review your case and help you get all the compensation that you are entitled to.
The Lamber Goodnow personal injury law team, together with our co-counsel firms, are well-versed in these kmatters. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers never charge a fee, unless we win your case. Get a risk free consultation today.