Articles Posted in Insurance

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Last week, a question was posted on Avvo (a legal Q & A site) seeking advice about what should be done following a car accident. The questioner was worried about getting sued, and the primary source of his anxiety was because he had substantial assets including investment accounts but he only had $100,000 in automotive insurance coverage. In particular, he wanted to know if he should  hire his own lawyer separate and apart from any lawyer hired by his insurance company?   Before I get to that, let me start with something more important.   Continue reading

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So, it is January 4th.  How many of your New Year’s resolutions are already busted?  If you are like most of us, it is probably at least one.  That is the bad news.  But, here is the good news: below is a list of 10 easy New Year’s resolutions that are easier than losing 10lbs and will help keep you safe and prepared in 2016. Continue reading

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Earlier this month, a Shelbyville woman was arrested for her 17th DUI. No, that is not a typo– seventeen DUIs.   According to reports, the habitual drunk driver was arrested yet again after she crossed the center-line and crashed head-on into another vehicle injuring the other driver.

Of course, given her driving record, this woman should not have been driving and, in fact, her license was suspended. But she was nonetheless out on the roadways again and almost certainly she was not insured. Tragically, this is not an isolated occurrence. Fifty to seventy-five percent of drunk drivers will continue to drive on a suspended license.  If the drunk driver does not have any insurance, where does it leave the innocent victim injured by this woman’s criminal conduct? Continue reading

Medical payments insurance coverage, typically called "med pay," is a type of  insurance coverage that is often a part of automobile liability insurance policies in Tennessee.  It pays medical bills that arise out of an automobile accident, even if the accident is your fault.  Medical payments coverage is typically $5000 or $10,000, although I have seen coverage as high as $25,000.

Med pay coverage can help you meet deductible and co-pays on your health insurance policy.  

Most automobile insurance policies give the insurance company the right of subrogation if med pay is paid.  This means that you get hurt in a  wreck caused by someone else’s negligence and collect med pay benefits, you have to re-pay your insurance company if you collect  monies from the person who caused the wreck.  There are some legal limitations on this right – please be sure to ask an experienced Tennessee automobile car accident lawyer about your rights.

The price of uninsured motorist insurance is a bargain for Tennesseans, given that some 24% of drivers in Tennessee do not have any automobile  liability insurance whatsoever.

What is automobile liability insurance?  It is insurance that the owner of a car purchases to pay for losses caused by negligent operation of the vehicle.  

Tennessee requires that each car have no less than $25,000 / $50,000 in liability insurance.  That means that in the event of a personal injury or wrongful death to a person caused by the negligent operation of the vehicle by the driver the insurance company may be required to pay up to $25,000 to that person.  If multiple people are harmed, the insurance company may be required to pay up to $50,000 in damages to all people who are harmed but no more than $25,000 per person.

Recent data suggests that 24% of Tennessee drivers do not have liability insurance on their vehicle.

Liability insurance exists to make monetary payments to those who are injured as a result of a negligent error by a person who has the insurance.  Tennessee state law requires every driver to have liability insurance, but it appears that almost 1 out of 4 drivers is violating this law.

What does this mean?  It means that if you are in an automobile accident that is not your fault you will have to bear financial responsibility for your medical bills and loss of income unless the at-fault party happens to have personal financial resources.  You will also receive no payment for any pain, suffering, disfigurement or loss of enjoyment of life you experience in the accident.

 My lawyer just settled my personal injury case  and now tells me I have to repay my health insurance company for paying my medical bills. I have paid health insurance premiums for 15 years and was never in the hospital one time before my wreck! Why do they have the right to get repaid?

Because the insurance policy you have almost certainly says that the company  have the right to be repaid. That is part of the bargain you struck with the insurer  – even though you never read your policy and no agent or representative of your employer mentioned it to you.

Depending on the type of health insurance you have there are several arguments that can be made to secure a reduction in the amount that must be paid back to the insurer. An experienced personal injury attorney will know this area of the law and will work with you to secure a reduction if possible.

If the driver that causes a Tennessee car accident  or truck accident does not have liability  insurance, your own automobile insurance coverage may also apply in provide a source for monetary recovery to pay your medical bills and compensate you for your injuries.  This type of insurance coverage is also available (and very important) for motorcycle owners because it will provide protection for the riders in the event of a Tennessee motorcycle accident with an car or truck that does not have sufficient liability insurance.

This type of insurance coverage is called uninsured motorist coverage – it provides you protection when you are hurt by an uninsured driver. This type of insurance also protects you when the driver that causes a wreck has inadequate insurance coverage to pay for the harm caused to you. This is called "under-insured motorist coverage."

Both types of insurance  must be offered to each person who buys liability insurance in Tennessee.  Thus, if you purchased liability insurance on your vehicle,  you have uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage unless you waived your right to have it in writing. 

As a Tennessee car accident attorney,  I am often asked why it is necessary to have medical payments coverage as part of an automobile insurance policy, especially if the car owner also has health insurance.

Frankly, it is possible that your medical payments ("med pay") coverage will do you little good if you are injured in a car wreck and also have health insurance.  However, med pay coverage can be used to pay deductibles, co-pays, and items not covered by health insurance.  If you have a health insurance plan that exposes you to minimal deductibles and co-pays and you can comfortably meet those expenses on your monthly income or with your savings, med pay coverage may not be a good investment.

However, my experience has been that many people do not have a financial reserve for these bills and, to the extent that they have a financial reserve it disappears quickly if the injury results in loss of income.  Thus, med pay can provide a financial cushion and can avoid the all-too-common situation where medical bills from car accidents are sent to collection agencies.