You’ve been in a car accident and you’re rushed to the hospital where you stay for a few weeks in recovery. Considering hospitals charge nine bucks for a single tylenol, it’s safe to say you’ve probably racked up a serious pile of medical bills. If you only have liability insurance or the other party only has liability insurance, who will pay those medical bills? What if both parties were injured? Is there enough to cover it all? Does liability insurance cover medical bills after an accident?
The answer may not be what you want to hear. Liability insurance only covers the other driver if you are at fault - or vice versa. So, if the other driver only has liability insurance and it was their fault, their insurance policy may cover your property damage and your medical bills but not their own. The reverse is true. If you’re found at fault and only have a liability policy, your own medical and property bills won’t be covered, but it will be covered for the other driver.
The Two Types of Liability Insurance
Since liability only covers the not at-fault driver, there are two types you need to know about. Check your specific liability policy to see how much is covered.
- Property damage liability: covers any damage to the other driver’s vehicle but not your own.
- Bodily injury liability: covers any medical bills that the other driver may have, but not your own. Within bodily injury insurance, there are two limits: limit per person injured, and the limit per accident. Both limits determine how much the insurance company covers for medical bills after the accident.
Both types of coverage has limits, and maximum payouts. After that you’d be financially responsible.
What if Liability Doesn’t Cover Enough?
If you are not the at-fault driver, and the other driver only has liability and you have fully-comprehensive insurance, you may be able to claim from your own insurance company if the other driver is underinsured. The best way to get full compensation from an underinsured motorist is to seek help from an experienced attorney.
How Liability Insurance Works
Depending on the policy, for example, the bodily injury limit per person may be capped at $50,000, and the limit per accident is $100,000. If you are an at-fault driver, and there are three injured parties with $40,000 each in medical bills, which totals $120,000 then your policy will not cover each of these individuals. If there had been one person injured, your policy would pay, but three sets of medical bills would mean that your policy caps with $20,000 left for you to pay yourself.
If you’re the not at-fault party, you could be left with extra bills to cover if the person cannot pay, and, often, if the person got liability insurance in the first place it often is because they cannot afford a more expensive, fully-comprehensive insurance.
So what do you do next? If the insurance claim won’t cover the medical bills, will your own health insurance policy cover the bill? The answer is usually not. Read our blog here on whether health insurance in general covers car accidents for more details.
Minimum Coverage in Mississippi
The auto insurance requirements in Mississippi are $25,000 for bodily injury with $50,000 per accident for bodily injury if more than one person is hurt, and $25,000 per accident for property damage.
So, by this token you’d be worse off in Mississippi than the previous scenario if you got into a car accident and the individual only had minimum required coverage. For example, if there are three people hurt in an accident, under these minimum policies, then the maximum compensation is $50,000 per accident for medical bills, which means roughly $16,000 each, and then only $8,000 each to cover property damage.
Furthermore, since car insurance companies often use subversive tactics to stop from paying out maximum policy amounts, you may be in further trouble. The average insurance company, sadly, only pays out 14% of the costs incurred in an accident.
So, what now?
If you find yourself in a situation in which either you’ve been in a car accident and the other motorist is underinsured or you yourself are underinsured, you will need an attorney to negotiate a settlement for you.
For those who have been severely injured and you’ve had an incident with someone with only liability insurance, contact Coxwell & Associates, PLLC to have a free case consultation about your options. We have over 36 years of experience dealing with personal injury cases and helping victims of costly car accidents.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.