What if Your Car Crash Claim Exceeds the Value of Your Car Insurance Policy?

car insurance block letters on notepadWhile some car crash injuries may heal in a few weeks or months and leave victims with no long-term damage, others can affect victims for years or the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, the financial value of damages from these injuries could far exceed the value of the victim’s auto insurance policy.

If this happens to you, are you stuck paying these additional costs out of your own pocket? Are there other options for recovering additional compensation?

Our experienced Bloomington-based vehicle crash lawyers discuss this issue in detail below. There may be a variety of options for securing compensation above policy limits.

At TSR Injury Law, we have helped many car crash victims secure compensation to cover the full cost of their damages. We offer victims a free initial consultation and if you decide to hire our firm, there are no upfront fees. Our attorneys are not paid for providing legal services unless our clients receive compensation.

Securing Compensation After a Minnesota Car Crash

Minnesota requires all drivers to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This is no-fault coverage, which means drivers can use it even if they are at fault for the crash. Typically, crash victims file a claim for PIP benefits before other types of claims.

PIP provides compensation for medical care you need following the crash. This may include the cost of:

  • Surgeries
  • Medications
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stays in the hospital
  • Transportation in an ambulance
  • Medical equipment
  • Medical tests
  • Appointments with doctors
  • Mileage to and from treatments
  • Chiropractic appointments

Basic mandatory PIP medical coverage is $20,000.00. You can buy more or “stack” benefits if you own multiple cars. PIP also provides compensation for lost wages and the cost of hiring someone to perform household services, like housekeeping. Wage and replacement service coverage is in addition to medical coverage. Basic PIP also provides $20,000.00 for these services.

Options if Your Damages Exceed PIP Insurance Limits

Minnesota requires drivers to buy a minimum amount of liability insurance in case they cause a crash that results in damages. The minimum required coverage is:

  • $30,000 per person for bodily injuries
  • $60,000 per crash if two or more people get injured
  • $10,000 for property damage

However, it is important to remember a liability insurance claim is not a no-fault claim. Therefore, your lawyer must prove the other driver is liable for your damages and certain thresholds must be met before a person can receive compensation for pain and suffering from the at-fault driver’s insurance (above and beyond the no-fault PIP coverages).

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to step outside of the no-fault system and make a pain and suffering claim against the at-fault driver. For example, if you have more than $4,000 in medical bills or suffered one of the following types of injuries:

  • Permanent injury
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Injury that causes you to miss 60 days of work
  • Fatal injury

What if the Other Driver is Uninsured or Underinsured?

In this situation, you may file a claim against your own policy for underinsured or uninsured coverages. These are mandatory coverages for at least $25,000 per person $50,000.00 per crash.

An underinsured motorist coverage claim is meant to pay for damages that exceed the value of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage.

More Options if Your Damages Exceed Policy Limits

Another option is the at-fault driver’s umbrella insurance. Some policies provide umbrella insurance in case their insured causes a serious crash, as their car insurance coverage may run out before it covers the victim’s damages.

Drivers buy umbrella insurance to protect their assets, because when their auto insurance coverage runs out, victims and their attorneys may come after the at-fault driver’s assets.

Sometimes car crashes involve more than two vehicles. In these situations, you may have a claim against both driver’s liability insurance, with each paying for their percentage of fault.

There may also be a third party besides another driver that bears some responsibility for your damages, such as a government entity responsible for maintaining a roadway. However, you would need to establish that entity’s fault for the crash and your damages, which may be a challenge. That is why it is vital to hire an experienced attorney with extensive knowledge of the law.

Need Legal Assistance Following a Crash? Call TSR Today

For decades, our licensed attorneys have been assisting those injured in accidents, including motor vehicle crashes. We know how difficult the aftermath of these situations can be and how important it is for victims to secure compensation for things like medical treatment and lost wages.

If you or a loved one were injured by another’s negligence, our attorneys may be able to assist you. We are ready to discuss what happened in a free consultation to explain how we may be able to help during this difficult time.

TSR Injury Law. No Upfront Fees. No Financial Risks. (612) TSR-TIME

How do You Pay Your Medical Bills While Your Attorney is Pursuing Compensation?

checkbook on top of multiple billsThe goal of a personal injury claim is to recover compensation for the damages suffered by the victim. A large percentage of those damages are the medical bills for treatment of your injuries. If your claim is successful, and your lawyer pursues full compensation, your past bills will be paid off and your future bills accounted for.

However, compensation will not be paid out until the legal process concludes, either through an out-of-court settlement or a jury verdict. Hospitals and doctor’s offices expect payment at time of their services. Many accident victims do not have the ability to pay bills upfront.

However, there are ways to pay these bills or at least keep hospitals and debt collectors off your back until you receive compensation from your claim.

TSR Injury Law’s Minneapolis personal injury lawyers have extensive experience with these claims. We are here to help during this difficult time. That includes helping you figure out how to deal with medical bills while we pursue compensation on your behalf.

Insurance Coverage to Fall Back on

One of the advantages to Minnesota being a “no-fault state” is car crash victims turn to their own insurance for coverage of their medical bills and wage loss no matter who was at fault. However, if your bills exceed your personal injury protection coverage limits, your lawyer can assist with submitting the excess bills to your private or state health insurance.

Unfortunately, if you were injured in an accident that did not involve your car, it is unlikely you will have insurance coverage to provide compensation right away. That means you will need to figure out how to pay your bills while your attorney pursues compensation.

Health Insurance

As mentioned above, if you have health insurance, you may be able to use it to cover medical expenses if there is no PIP coverage (like a trip and fall, motorcycle crash or dog attack situation) or if the PIP coverage runs out in a car crash.

Keep in mind, you will be responsible for any deductibles in your policy. A deductible is a set amount of money you must pay before your insurance coverage kicks in. Coverage will also be limited by the terms of the policy, so some treatments may not be covered. You may also need to make sure you are treated by doctors in a specific healthcare network.

Even if your health insurance does cover medical bills, the law may require repayment pursuant to subrogation.  Subrogation is when your health insurance seeks repayment from the injured party’s bodily injury claim.

Medicare or Medicaid

If you are covered by Medicare or Medicaid, you may be able to use this coverage to pay your medical bills. However, the federal government will also request subrogation reimbursement if you receive a settlement.  MA and Medicare use different formulas for subrogation.  Your attorney will maximize the formula to reduce the amount of the settlement the health carrier takes back.

Agreements with Hospitals

One of the benefits of working with a licensed attorney is that he or she may be able to help you reach an agreement with a hospital or doctor’s office to hold off on trying to collect payment. This not only buys you time, it prevents the health care provider from sending your debt to collections, which will harm your credit score.

While you could attempt to reach an agreement on your own, the health care provider may take things much more seriously if an attorney is advocating on your behalf. Hospitals and other medical facilities are often more than willing to negotiate a plan for payment.

Absent an agreement to hold off on collecting payment, you could try to agree on a payment plan with the facility. However, you need to make sure you can afford to make monthly payments, because if you miss one, the deal may be off.

What About Putting Expenses on a Credit Card?

If you have a credit card, you may think this is a perfect time to use it to get the hospital off your back. However, a payment plan with the hospital will not include interest payments, unlike a credit card. If you are late on credit card payments it will hurt your credit score.

Have Legal Questions? Call TSR Injury Law Today

If you were injured because of someone else, TSR Injury Law is here to help. Give us a call to schedule a free legal consultation so we can learn more about your situation. If we validate your claim, and you hire us, we are prepared to pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.

We are not paid unless we obtain compensation for your damages. There is no risk in contacting our firm to learn more about how we may be able to help you.

Phone: (612) TSR-TIME. No upfront fees.