Archive for Insurance Issues

Should I Pay my Copay

One question that is often asked by new clients is whether or not they should pay the co-pays when they visit a doctor after a wreck. We often have clients say that they should not have to pay these co-pays because the person who caused the wreck should pay them. Ultimately, the responsible party will end up paying for those co-pays in the settlement regardless of whether you pay them now or wait to pay them later.

We recommend that you pay your co-pays and outstanding medical bills if you are able. If you refuse to pay your co-pays because you want the other side to pay them, the only person it can hurt is you. When an insurance company makes an offer to settle a case, they are considering the out-of-pocket expenses you incurred for your medical care, which includes your co-pays and deductibles. The settlement offer will not change if these bills are paid or unpaid. So you are not increasing your offer by leaving these bills unpaid.  Therefore, there is no gain for you to leave these bills unpaid. However, there are potential negative effects that could occur to your credit score if these bills remain unpaid.  If the insurance company stalls the case, which is common, these debts will remain unpaid and your medical providers may decide to send the bills to collections. This will affect your overall credit score negatively because you will have bills listed as unpaid and sent to collections. Given enough time this can become bad debt and be reflected on your credit score. It is not uncommon to see clients credit scores lower by a small amount if they choose to not pay their co-pays.

We understand that not everyone is financially able to pay their co-pays and outstanding deductibles after a wreck. We have methods we use to try and delay medical providers from sending debts to collections while we attempt to settle your case. So if you find yourself injured after a wreck come talk to the lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers and we would be happy to discuss your options!

Uber in Huntsville: What You Need to Know

Uber X - A great value?

It is important for our readers to know how car insurance works when ride-sharing and a wreck occurs.  It is important to know the different risks you may face when choosing between using Uber or a taxi cab.

There is currently no Alabama law requiring ride-sharing drivers to carry insurance above and beyond traditional personal car insurance.  Generally, personal car insurance will not cover a ride-sharing driver  in the event of a wreck.  Personal auto insurance policies typically exclude coverage when using a vehicle as a business service.  If a ride-sharing driver has only their personal automobile insurance, he or she may be personally liable for damages caused.  Ride-sharing drivers should check with their company and/or their insurance agent to make sure they have coverage.

Similarly, if a passenger is involved in a wreck caused by the ride-sharing driver with only has a personal automobile insurance, the driver likely has no insurance.  This is often remedied by the ride sharing company, but you want to do your research to be sure.  Make sure the company provides coverage for its drivers and UM/UIM coverage as well.  Be safe and educated on the risks of driving or riding with these cutting edge services.

A report released in June by the American Association for Justice uncovers a number of preventable safety hazards that contribute to truck accidents. According to the report the problems are driven by an economic model that is fundamentally unsound. “Truck drivers – compensated by miles driven, not hours worked – are pushed to ignore safety measures, delay repairs and drive in a fatigued state,” it said.

In addition, the report notes that artificially low insurance limits prevent unsafe trucking carriers from ever being held accountable for the damages they cause. While a fatal truck crash today can result in approximately $4.3 million in damages, the insurance minimum for cargo trucks has remained frozen at $750,000 since 1980. U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania recently introduced the Safe Haul Act (H.R. 2730) to raise the required insurance minimum for motor carriers. (Rep. Cartwright discusses the issue here.)

What is Medical Payments Coverage?

This article is part of a series designed to Let America Know more about their insurance coverage and insurance coverage options.  We have already discussed the benefits of Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage and why everyone should have it.  We have also discussed Gap Insurance and Liability Insurance.  This month, we will discuss the benefits of medical payments coverage.

Medical payment coverage is an option for car insurance policies that protects the insured, their family, and permissive users of the covered automobile from medical bills that result from a car accident. Regardless of who is at fault in the car accident, medical payment coverage will cover the insured and their family for the policy amount in regards to medical bills. Medical payment coverage also covers the insured and their family in the event of being struck by a vehicle while walking, jogging, and running, etc. Medical payment coverage can be a useful policy option, but do you really need it?

Medical bills can be costly and medical payment coverage can help with those bills.  Medical payment coverage covers any medical payments up to the insurance policy limit for injury or funeral expenses that are related to an auto accident.  However, it is important to note that if you have health insurance, this medical payment coverage can be excess coverage that is unnecessary except in the most dire of circumstances.  Health insurance providers often cover a majority of medical expenses, therefore it is important for you to review your current healthcare coverage before purchasing medical payment coverage.  Medical payment coverage is most cost effective when you do not have health insurance.  However, it can still be beneficial if you do have health insurance because it can be used to cover co-pays that your health insurance does not cover for you.  In the event you are in an accident and have both health insurance and medpay coverage, the key is to make sure your health insurance pays its share of the bills first which then allows your medpay coverage to cover your co-pays rather than the medical bills that would have been paid by your health insurance.  This method will allow you to get the most out of your insurance coverage and not have to spend money out of your pocket on co-pays.

In short, medical payment coverage is a useful tool in the right circumstances.  In comparison to UM/UIM coverage, medical payment coverage is not nearly as important, especially if you have health insurance.  Hopefully this article lets you know a little bit more about your insurance coverage.

Hodges Trial Lawyers has filed a lawsuit against State Farm for its failure to compensate its policy holder for damage to his home.  Rather than processing and paying the homeowner’s claim as required by the homeowner’s insurance policy, State Farm has chosen the classic insurance company approach of “Deny, Delay, Defend.”  Despite their commercials’ claims they’re a “good neighbor” and always “there,” State Farm has shown a clear history of turning its back on its own insured when the policyholders need them most.

Our firm has filed a lawsuit demanding that State Farm pay for the damages sustained to the home as required under the homeowner’s policy.  It is unfortunate that individuals who pay insurance premiums for years cannot trust  their insurance companies to do the right thing when a claim is made.  However, Hodges Trial Lawyers is here to protect those homeowners whose insurance companies, such as State Farm, refuse to be “there” in your time of need.  Perhaps if State Farm spent the money it spends on witty commercials on paying legitimate claims, it could be the good neighbor for a change.

UM/UIM Coverage is really important

We will try to keep this blog from solely being about insurance coverage, but we ran into the issue again yesterday.  We were retained to represent a pleasant young lady that was seriously injured in a car wreck that was not her fault.  Based on the insurance company for the negligent and wanton driver, we expect the insurance limits to be only $25,000.00.  Unfortunately, our client’s UM/UIM limits appear to be only $25,000.00.  $50,000.00 sounds like a large sum of money, but we expect this young lady’s medical bills to easily far exceed that amount.  We urge all of you to consider raising your UM/UIM limits.

We recommend $250,000, but not everyone can afford this.  You should at least make sure that your UM/UIM limits are at least as high as your liability limits.  In the case of our client, her liability coverage was $50,000.00.  If she was negligent or wanton and injured someone, that other person would have up to $50,000.00 of insurance to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.  If you have any questions about UM/UIM coverage, watch the below video or give us a call.

We also invite you to visit our Website and Car Accident Blog!