This is the fourth post in a series on Georgia automobile insurance. If you missed the earlier posts, you can read them here:
Types of Georgia Automobile Insurance
The Importance of UM/UIM Bodily Injury Insurance
Property Damage Coverage in Georgia
One of the most common problems people face after a car accident, especially a serious car accident, is the cost of medical care. Large medical expenses are one of the key reasons people pursue personal injury lawsuits after being injured in a car accident.
Fortunately, there is a simpler and more direct way for Georgia residents who are injured in automobile accidents to cover at least some of their medical expenses. But, it requires advance planning.
What is MedPay?
MedPay is shorthand for “medical payments coverage”. This is optional automobile insurance coverage you can purchase to pay your medical bills if you are injured in a car accident. MedPay also provides benefits for funeral expenses if you are killed in an automobile accident in the covered vehicle. Under Georgia law, these benefits also extend to anyone else who is lawfully in the vehicle.
MedPay benefits vary depending on the coverage you purchased. In Georgia, MedPay coverage limits range from $1,000 to $50,000. Unfortunately, many people choose not to purchase MedPay, or purchase very low coverage to keep their premiums low. While this saves a little bit of money in the present, it can turn out to be a very costly decision.
How is MedPay Different from Other Automobile Insurance?
One key benefit of MedPay coverage is that it is available regardless of fault. Pursuing a claim against another driver requires that you establish that the other driver was negligent, and that the negligence was wholly or partly responsible for your injuries. However, MedPay benefits are typically available to cover any medical expenses related to a bodily injury you sustained in the covered vehicle. That is true even if you were personally responsible for the accident.
Because you make a MedPay claim through your own insurance company and you do not have to establish liability, this is typically a quicker and easier way to secure coverage for your medical expenses. There are a few limitations, though. For instance, MedPay will typically only cover expenses incurred within three years of the date of the motor vehicle crash.
Some circumstances under which MedPay is especially beneficial include:
- When you were at fault in the accident
- When the driver who was responsible for your injuries was uninsured
- When you were the victim of a hit-and-run and the responsible party has not been identified
- When another driver was responsible for your accident and the insurance company is putting up a fight and not paying medical expenses promptly
- When your medical expenses are relatively low and you have no other damages that would warrant pursuing a personal injury claim
If you do have other damages and decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused or contributed to your accident, having claimed MedPay benefits will not interfere with your lawsuit in any way. However, depending on the circumstances, the MedPay insurance may be entitled to recover some or all of the benefits paid from the settlement or verdict.
Sometimes, insurance carriers attempt to recoup amounts they’re not entitled to. Your personal injury attorney can review any claims for repayment of MedPay benefits to ensure that the insurance company isn’t overstepping its rights and claiming funds that should be yours.
Pursuing Compensation After a Motor Vehicle Accident
The Georgia automobile insurance system provides many possible means of covering losses and pursuing compensation. Your options for getting your medical bills paid, replacing lost income, repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle, and perhaps pursuing other damages will depend in part on:
- Who was at fault in the accident
- What automobile insurance coverage you have purchased
- What automobile insurance coverage any party wholly or partly responsible for the accident carries
- Whether responsible parties have assets available to satisfy a judgment directly
Of course, there are other variables. The extent of your injuries, whether any limitations are temporary or permanent, the degree of fault attributable to each party, and the ease or difficulty of proving negligence and damages may all play a role in determining the possible value of your claim.
The best source of information specific to your motor vehicle collision and of the damages you may be entitled to is an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney.
Atlanta attorney ReShea Balams fights for maximum compensation for people who have been injured through someone else’s negligence, including victims of motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall injuries, medical malpractice and more. The Balams Firm offers free, no-obligation consultations so injury victims can gather the information they need to make good decisions in difficult times. You can schedule yours right now by calling 855-352-2727 or filling out the contact form on this page.