Medical Bills for Accident Injuries
In car accidents where one driver is found to be responsible, it is their auto insurance that covers the damages and medical bills of the other drivers involved in the accident. But what happens when both drivers are found to be partially at fault?
Most states operate with an at-fault system or “tort”. Meaning, that someone is found to be at-fault for a car accident and is then responsible for covering property damages and medical expenses of the driver who was not at fault. Each state has slightly different laws about how much should be paid based on their view of “negligence”.
In these states, based on the evidence provided, it is determined how much each driver contributed to the accident, by a percentage. So, if someone hit you and it was mostly their fault, but you could have theoretically avoided the accident had you been paying closer attention, they might be assigned 70% fault and you 30%. In this case, they would pay damages, but your benefits would be reduced by 30%.
It’s important in these cases to provide as much evidence as you can to support that you were less at fault than the other driver because accidents which are at least 50% your fault are often used by your car insurance company to determine your future rates.
There are a few states which have “no-fault” policies, meaning they require drivers to own Personal Injury Protection. This means that regardless of who is at fault in an accident, each driver has coverage for their own medical bills using this insurance. If you live in one of these states, you do not need to file a claim through the other driver’s auto insurance which can save you some time.
The unfortunate part about this policy is that it can be expensive to have PIP insurance. As well, the minimum coverage required by some states is nowhere near enough to cover the medical bills of some accidents. if this is coverage you’re interested in, you can obtain it voluntarily.
As of 2019, the following states maintain this type of policy:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
Additional states may also enact (or abolish) this no-fault law so check with your car insurance attorney, to be sure about how to claim your medical coverage. If you’ve been in an accident where you might be charged as being partially at fault, using the expertise of a car accident attorney may help you prove the other driver is more guilty than you, saving you future insurance rate hikes and ensuring your medical bills are more fully covered.