Q: I was in an automobile accident and my medical bills were more than the other person's insurance. What do I do?
Ashley, Town Creek, AL
A: We see this situation fairly often.
First, do you have health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare? Be certain that they pay first as they will receive a substantial discount in the amount of the bills.
Second, do you have medical payment coverage on your car?
Third, do you have uninsured motorist coverage? If you do, uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage provides an additional source of compensation for an injured person when the person who caused the accident either has no insurance, or the limits of his or her insurance won’t pay your bills.
There are numerous issues that arise when dealing with a UM/UIM claim that must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Often there is more than one policy that can add additional coverage through “stacking” more than one policy. Once you know the available policy limits of the person who caused the accident, as well as how much insurance you have available, then you are ready to settle with the person who caused the accident and/or their insurance company. A special release called a “Pro Tanto Release” must be given or this coverage is waived.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist can be tricky. Often insurance carriers just allow you to make the mistake of accepting money from the at-fault driver and losing your claim for more money. If you have a question, give me or Joel a call.