Originally published January 24, 2022.
One of the only bright spots after an auto accident that wasn’t your fault is knowing that you may be able to get compensation for your medical bills and lost wages from the other driver and their insurance. But getting compensation isn’t guaranteed, as insurance companies are notoriously difficult and uncooperative when it comes to writing checks to innocent victims.
And to make matters worse, Alabama is one of the only states that uses a pure contributory negligence system for calculating and awarding damages. That means that people who are even 1% at fault for their accidents and injuries can’t recover a single penny in compensation. And because a small percentage of fault can easily be assigned by a police officer after a crash, many otherwise innocent victims end up paying for their damages out of their own pockets.
However, there is a type of insurance that can allow people to get compensation regardless of their level of fault—Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage. And there are a few other important reasons all Alabama drivers should consider purchasing it even if it isn’t legally required.
Because MedPay is no-fault coverage, people who purchase it are eligible to cash out their policies after injury-causing crashes, regardless of who was at fault. That means they could be 100% at fault, 1% at fault, or even 0% at fault, and still have access to the money in their policies. It’s important to note, however, that MedPay coverage is ONLY for medical bills, and it doesn’t include provisions for lost wages or property damage.
Drivers can opt-out of uninsured motorist coverage in Alabama to save money on their monthly premiums. However, those drivers face a significant risk of being on the hook for their medical bills and lost wages if they’re hurt in a crash by an underinsured or uninsured driver.
And even the most well-insured drivers can struggle to get compensation when they’re injured by drivers who flee the scene. In either scenario, MedPay coverage can help the victims get money for their medical bills, regardless of whether they have uninsured motorist coverage, the other driver has liability insurance, or the other driver is even identified and found.
MedPay coverage typically costs less than $10 per month. For barely more than $100 per year, injured drivers can get peace of mind knowing that they will at least get some compensation for their medical expenses after a crash, regardless of the situation or who is at fault. This is especially important when even a small oversight or mistake while driving can make you partially at fault and thus ineligible to get a settlement.
MedPay coverage doesn’t cover just a single person. It can also cover other named drivers. That means that if your spouse, children, or other people who regularly use your vehicle were driving at the time of the crash, they can tap into the coverage to help pay for some or all of their resulting medical bills—even if they aren’t the policyholder.
And if you’re hit by another vehicle while you’re driving and one or more of your passengers are injured, they can also get money from your MedPay coverage.
Because MedPay coverage is no-fault, most people can get access to the money from their policies quickly and easily. That’s important when they’re planning on filing auto accident claims, especially when those claims involve trying to reduce their level of liability to zero. For many victims, waiting months for their claims to finalize when they aren’t working and their medical bills are piling up is simply too long.
Although MedPay coverage may not cover all of an auto accident victim’s medical bills, it can make it easier for them to wait for future payments, especially if they’re able to negotiate a payment plan with their hospital, doctor’s office, or treatment center.
Although MedPay coverage is typically “automatic,” some policyholders may have their claims denied. At The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers, our Alabama auto accident lawyers ensure that innocent car accident victims not only get compensation from the at-fault drivers, but also from their insurance policies. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’ll work hard to get you compensation from every possible source, including finding and presenting evidence that can reduce your level of liability to zero and help ensure you get every penny from your MedPay policy.