After a car accident, victims have a lot of questions about anything from the care they'll need to the damage to their vehicles but inevitably the question of how much will insurance will actually cover comes to the forefront.
Whether a crash involves a fender bender and some soreness, or serious injury or even death, the question of what insurance will and wont cover can creep up on accident victims as soon as the first bill hits and won't go away until the last aches and pains are felt or the ink on a settlement agreement is dried.
Davis Law Group knows that the way the insurance industry works in todays world understanding your coverage and what you are entitled to after an accident is no simple task, that's why we want to break down what your coverage means and make sure you know your rights as an accident victim.
Types of Coverage For Car Accident Victims
Understanding the basic types of coverage available to you as a driver you can turn to the declarations page on your insurance policy for a quick understanding of exactly what coverage you do or don't carry.
Some of these coverage types include:
- Liability Coverage- Liability coverage at its core is your protection from being personally held financially responsible for any harm or damage that may come from an accident that is your fault. If you've been injured in an accident, the at fault drivers liability coverage is there to pay for the damages.
- UIM- Uninsured/ Underinsured motorist protection covers a driver in cases of accidents where an at fault party may not have enough coverage to allow you a full recovery or any coverage at all.
- PIP- Personal Injury Protection acts as health coverage after an accident and when carried is your primary coverage for care or treatment after an accident.
- Umbrella- While uncommon, umbrella policies exist as a to cover damages in excess of those covered by other policies. These can both act as a sort of additional UIM policy as well as a protection for those with personal assets that could be sought after an accident.
In Washington State drivers are required to carry liability insurance, but not necessarily any of the additional coverage types listed above, even though the most basic liability protections can still leave victims wanting.
Many in Washington just know they carry "Full coverage" which they would assume to mean every coverage type, while the truth is, "full coverage" only refers to the bare minimum requirements to be fully covered enough to drive legally in the state.
Per Person vs Per Accident Limits
Understanding the policies available the question of what or how much is actually covered remains and unfortunately this may vary accident to accident.
Within liability coverage there are several distinctions that arise, bodily injury (BI) and property damage have distinct coverage amounts and even the limits have a per person vs per accident distinction as well.
These per person/ per accident limits mean that if you carry a $200,000 per person, $400,000 per accident policy and get into an accident that only injures one person, their recovery would be limited to $200,000 regardless of if the damages extended beyond that.
Similarly, if an accident caused by someone with the same policy above involved more than two people, the total of all the recovery paid out would not exceed the $400,000 per accident limit regardless of the extend of the excess damages.
It's cases like these where PIP and UIM policies described above can be crucial for accident victims who had no control over whether they were involved in a crash, or how many people were injured, but simply need to be compensated for their recovery.
These coverage questions and options come into play for accident victims every day, and understanding your policy and your rights can make the difference between a settlement that covers the full recovery process and one that leaves an accident victim out as much as tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you have questions about whats covered after an accident, or need more information about your legal rights, Davis Law Group is here to help accident victims with free legal information like this article and the posts linked within, out Washington Accident Guide Book series and free case evaluations for accident victims.
Call 206-727-4000 or use the chat or contact options on this page to request a free case evaluation with our award winning team of personal injury attorneys today.