Who Will pay My Medical Bills?
After a motor vehicle accident, your priority should be on your physical healing and recovery. William J. Tuck, P.A. Attorneys at Law, knows how difficult it can be to focus on anything else when you are in pain. But many clients wonder how to cover the cost of medical treatment so they can make the fullest possible recovery and return to their lives.How are Medical Expenses Covered in South Carolina?
All drivers are required to carry auto insurance, but most of us do not take a thorough look at our own policies until we are forced to make a claim. In South Carolina, the auto insurance of the driver who caused the accident is generally the primary source of compensation for any damages other drivers incur in the collision.
However, the policy does not reimburse medical expenses as they come in. Compensation for medical bills is typically awarded at the end of a case to settle the claim. This means that you are responsible for your own medical expenses in the meantime.
- If you have health insurance: Present your everyday health insurance card to the doctor and, if possible, pay any co-pays in accordance with your health insurance policy. This creates a record of your expenses so your attorney can pursue full compensation for your medical expenses.
- If you do not have health insurance: Your attorney is legally prohibited from paying for medical treatment, but often can work with medical professionals to negotiate care while you wait for your accident settlement.
If your accident claim results in a verdict or settlement that awards you compensation, that money will be used to settle any outstanding balances for medical care. As a result, clients are typically left with no outstanding medical bills at the end of a case.What Happens if the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured or Doesn’t Have Enough Coverage?
Even though South Carolina requires every driver to carry a certain level of auto insurance coverage, there are still drivers that fail to comply with this law. However, in South Carolina, all auto insurance policies are required to include Uninsured Motorist Coverage, commonly referred to as “UM”.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident with an uninsured driver, contact the Tuck Law Firm today. You may have a UM claim that needs to be made through your own auto coverage.
If the at-fault driver has coverage, but the amount available is not sufficient to compensate you for the entirety of your damages, you may need to make an Underinsured Motorist Claim, commonly referred to as UIM, through your own policy.
While UM is mandatory under any policy you’ve purchased, UIM is optional. The Tuck Law Firm always recommends purchasing UIM coverage for all of your vehicles. This way you can ensure that you are always covered up to an amount you and your family are comfortable with.
While optional, insurance companies are required to make a meaningful offer of UIM coverage to any customer. If the company fails to make a meaningful offer, it can sometimes result in the policy being “reformed” so as to include this optional UIM coverage.
South Carolina also allows for what is called “stacking” of multiple policies. In certain cases, you may be able to make a claim under multiple policies with the same type of coverage until you’ve been fully compensated for your damages. For example, let’s say you own two cars. You’ve purchased $50,000.00 in UIM coverage on both vehicles. While you are driving, you’re involved in an accident while driving one of the cars for which you’ve purchased UIM. The other driver is at fault and carries the state minimum of $25,000.00 in liability coverage. In this scenario, the available coverage for you claim would be $125,000.00. This is because you may “stack” the coverage of the at-fault driver, the UIM from the car you were driving, and the UIM coverage from your at-home vehicle.
In situations where the at-fault driver is uninsured, you are allowed to “stack” multiple UM policies.
Insurance law can get complicated and confusing. This could be especially true when there are multiple insurance companies involved or when there are coverage or liability disputes. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an automobile accident, contact the Tuck Law Firm today. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience you need to maximize your compensation.
Attorneys at the Tuck Law Firm work hard to ensure every case results in the maximum compensation available. Our goal is to not only secure coverage for all of your medical expenses, but to leave you with the money you deserve to compensate you for your pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages or earning capacity and to help you get back on your feet after an automobile accident.