A. WHO IS COVERED?
- Anyone injured in an accident involving an automobile maybe covered – even a pedestrian or a bicyclist.
- More than one insurance policy may pay a claim. The insurance policies of the following persons should be considered: injured person(driver); injured person ( passenger); injured person (non-occupant); spouse; relative(s) in the household; employer. An attorney specializing in insurance coverages should be consulted.
- A person operating his/her own vehicle can claim, or sue for, money damages for pain and suffering only if the person was covered by automobile insurance. Avoid cancellation for nonpayment or after the end of the policy term.
B. THREE(3) TYPES OF CLAIMS ARE POSSIBLE AFTER AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT
- The first possible claim is for no- fault benefits. These benefits are payable even if the injured claimant caused the accident:
- Medical and rehabilitative expenses. Many other expenses also are allowed besides medical bills: home modifications, care services provided by a family member, transportation costs, job training.
- Accident Related Medical and Rehabilitative Benefits are payable for life.
- Replacement of lost employment income for 36 months.
- Replacement services up to $20.00 per day for 36 months1 This is reimbursement for out-of-pocket payments for household chores and the claim can be made by a family member.
- A no fault benefits claim must be made within one year of the date of the accident.
- In a fatal accident, a death benefit is payable to surviving dependants.
- Vehicle repair if collision insurance was purchased.
- The second type ofclaim is for damage to property (such as a fence, house or parked car).
- The third type of claim is for money damages caused by negligence. An injured person may collect money damages in this type of claim for pain and suffering. In order to make this claim the injury must be death, or permanent serious disfigurement, or serious impairment of body function.
- Money damages can be obtained from the inder insured protection an injured person’s policy. This coverage allows an injured claimant to request additional compensation from his/her own insurance company if the insurance coverage for the person at fault is too small to compensate for all injuries. An insurance specialist should be consulted to review this coverage which is not in every policy.
- Money damages can be obtained from one’s own policy if the injurv was caused by an urnns[Qçl_rnotorist. This coverage is in every policy and the injured claimant makes this claim with his own insurance company.
- For repair/replacement damage to a vehicle not insured for collision damages, the maximum that can be recovered from the party at fault $5OOOO (mini tort).
- Accidents involving motorcycles are subject to different rules, depending upon whether or not an automobile was involved.
- To make a claim against a bar for serving a drunk driver, the claimant must give written notice of the claim to the bar within I 20 days after an attorney-client relationship was commenced .
- A driver is required by law to drive safely and not to cause damages to people and property. Whether a driver is negligent depends on the unique circumstances of each case.
- The cancellation of auto insurance is governed by law and the interpretation of judges. The issues ofpayment, mailing, notification and policy language should be reviewed by an attorney.