The road to recovery after an auto accident is often long and difficult. Your injuries may affect your ability to work or go about your life in a normal manner, whether temporarily or permanently. Furthermore, they may require treatment or surgery, which can be costly.
To mitigate the impact of your expenses and losses, you will want to file an insurance claim. Yet, it is important to understand your options for proceeding with one in Louisiana, which will depend on the nature of your accident.
How auto insurance works in Louisiana
Louisiana follows a fault-based – or tort – auto insurance system. Under this system, after an accident you did not cause, your claim must go through the at-fault motorist’s insurance company. Yet, if you were partly responsible for the accident, your claim’s value will reduce by your percentage of fault.
The state’s fault-based insurance system also allows you to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist. If you file one, though, you must do so within Louisiana’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases, which is within one year from the date of your accident.
When to use Med Pay
If you sustained injuries in an auto accident you caused, you must file your claim through your insurance policy’s medical payments (Med Pay) coverage. Keep in mind, though, that Med Pay is optional in Louisiana, and it will only cover your medical bills. Med Pay will not compensate for any pain and suffering you endure. Nor will it cover your lost wages.
When to use your UM coverage
You might have sustained injuries in a hit-and-run accident, or in a collision with an uninsured motorist. In these cases, your claim will go through your uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. While this coverage is optional in Louisiana, your insurance agent must have offered it to you when you purchased your policy. Not only will it compensate your medical bills, it will cover your pain and suffering and lost wages up to your policy’s limits.
UM coverage will also protect you if you sustained injuries in an accident with an underinsured motorist. In this case, you can use it toward covering the portion of your claim that exceeds their policy’s limits.
Even if you have comprehensive insurance coverage, collecting compensation can be difficult after an auto accident. With the help of a legal professional, you can fight for a settlement that is appropriate for your circumstances.