Missouri is an at-fault state when it comes to automobile accidents. This means the negligent driver is responsible for fully compensating for your injuries.
However, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't obtain the best automobile insurance coverage in order to protect yourself. There are many coverage options you can add to your policy. One you might find helpful is MedPay coverage to help pay your medical expenses after a serious car crash.
Why a Negligent Driver’s Liability Coverage May Not Be Enough
You may wonder why you need any additional insurance coverage of your own if the negligent driver is responsible for paying you. However, this coverage is often insufficient to fully reimburse you. In Missouri, all drivers are required to purchase a minimum amount of automobile liability insurance coverage in order to drive on Missouri roads. This minimum required amount is set by law and includes the following:
- $25,000 in bodily injury per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
If the negligent driver only had the minimum in liability coverage, you would only be entitled to a maximum of $25,000 to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Unless you suffered a very minor injury, this coverage most likely will not cover even the cost of your medical care.
In addition, you cannot count on the negligent driver being insured even though he is required to have this insurance by law. In 2015, 14 percent of motorists drove in Missouri when they were uninsured. This means that there is a good chance that you could be involved in an auto crash that was no fault of your own where the negligent driver had no insurance or other assets to pay you what you are owed. By having MedPay coverage, you ensure that your medical bills will be paid up to the coverage limit in your policy.
How MedPay Auto Insurance Coverage Helps If You're Injured
MedPay coverage pays for the medical bills you or your passengers may incur due to accident injury. This is an optional insurance coverage you add to your existing policy, and coverage amounts range between $1,000 to $10,000. The additional MedPay premium on your policy may be a few dollars each month up to approximately $30 per month. Your insurance agent can line item the expense for you.
Here are some key points regarding MedPay coverage:
- Fault. You and your passengers are entitled to this payment regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident—even you.
- Health insurance. If you have health insurance through your employment or otherwise, you may wonder why you need MedPay coverage. However, most health insurance companies require individuals to exhaust MedPay before paying medical bills for injuries caused in a car accident. In addition, most health insurance policies require reimbursement out of a victim’s settlement for any payments they initially covered. This means your overall settlement will be less.
- No reimbursement. Because you purchased the MedPay coverage, you're not required to reimburse the insurance company for medical bills that are paid as part of your settlement. This can increase the amount of your overall settlement and make it more likely that you'll be fully compensated.
- Collection. Many auto accident claims with a negligent driver’s insurance company can take months or longer to settle if the company fights to reduce or deny the claim. If you don't have other health insurance or MedPay to cover injury expenses, the medical provider could refer your account to a collection agency. This can result in you receiving threatening calls and letters, or being sued. A deferment to a collection agency also impacts your ability to obtain credit. .
Before submitting any bills to MedPay for payment, you want to discuss this with an experienced car accident attorney for advice on which bills should be submitted first. For example, he may believe he can reach favorable settlements with some of your medical care providers to reduce what you owe. This means he may want you to first pay off difficult accounts, such as an ambulance company, that often don't negotiate.
Whether you need to file a claim with a negligent driver’s insurance company or through your own automobile insurance policy, our experienced car accident attorneys are here to help. Get started now by contacting us online or calling us directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.