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Holland & Usry, P.A.

I got hurt when another driver ran a red light and hit me. Who pays?

You might be surprised. Even though everyone is required to carry car insurance, most folks don’t know how it works until they have no choice—like when they get hurt in a Union car accident.

In a nutshell, this is how insurance coverage can work to help you recover for a serious car wreck.

Primary Source of Recovery

The at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy is the primary source for paying for your losses after a traffic accident.

Auto liability insurance is required to protect folks like you who get hurt by other drivers. You’ll soon be contacted by an adjuster, who is a representative of the liability insurance company. You need to remember no matter how nice he is, his basic job is to do one thing: to cheapen your claim any way he can. Insurance companies make money by collecting premiums from policyholders, not by paying generous settlements. The insurance adjuster is going to use every trick he knows to whittle down the money you collect.

If the at-fault driver has no insurance, you can recover from your own policy under your uninsured coverage.

All these coverages have limits, so if your claim exceeds them, you’re probably stuck with the limits of the policy, since most at-fault drivers don’t have assets to pay a huge claim. The minimum insurance limit in South Carolina, carried by many drivers, is just $25,000, so hopefully you already have the most important insurance coverage in South Carolina, discussed below.

Paying Medical Bills: Use Your Own Coverage If You Can

Use your own health coverage. The at-fault driver’s policy will not pay medical bills as they come in. If you have health insurance, use it. It may help your case in the long run. Later on, you may have to pay back your health insurance company from any insurance settlement you receive (in a legal claim called “subrogation), but it is often at a discount from the actual cost of your medical bills.

Your auto insurance policy may have a type of insurance called “personal injury protection,” (PIP) or MedPay. This automatically pays your medical bills up to its limits, usually $1,000 to $10,000. You can still use it if you have health insurance. Just remember your health insurance will probably make a subrogation claim as discussed above. Take a look at your policy and see if you have any. If you don’t, call your agent; this coverage is usually extremely cheap and can provide needed financial relief if you’ve been in an accident. Usually, all you do is set up the claim with your own insurance company and send it copies of your medical bills. Your insurance company will send you a check to reimburse you or, if you request, will send it directly to the provider. The at-fault driver’s liability insurance gets no discount or benefit from your bills being paid by PIP.

The Most Important Car Insurance in South Carolina

It’s called “underinsured motorist coverage,” underinsurance, or UIM. It protects victims hurt in serious accidents by drivers who don’t have enough insurance. This vital part of your insurance policy kicks in to pay the rest of your claim, or at least compensate you more fully when the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover it. Even better, if you've got this coverage on other cars in your household, it can be stacked to pay you more.

Sadly, South Carolina law does not require this coverage, but it must be offered a very specific way by your agent. If you reject the coverage but your agent failed to offer it properly, South Carolina law allows you to get that coverage on your policy to cover you anyway.

If you want more information, check out our free report on South Carolina car accident claims.

It’s bad enough when you get severely hurt in a wreck, but it can be made worse by all the complications of medical bills piling up and adjusters harassing you about your claim or not returning your calls. If you’ve been seriously hurt and need help managing the insurance for your claim, send us an email or start a live chat. You can always call us at 864.582.0416 or toll-free at 888.230.1841.

 

Rob Usry
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Rob is a South Carolina personal injury and criminal defense lawyer.

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