The Associated Press reports that a car containing three teenage boys drifted into the path of an oncoming tractor-trailer truck. Reports don’t elaborate on the truck drivers injuries. A terrible tragedy for all. So what happens next?
The truck driver might have workers compensation to cover some of his expenses. Note the word “some”. W/C doesn’t pretend to cover all expenses, but only a portion. The truck driver has a claim against the car driver, if the reports are correct, for his damages. However, there are competing claims for coverage that is almost certainly inadequate. Understand that the minimum required car insurance limits in Ohio are only $12,500 per person or $25,000 per accident. This means the families of the two deceased passengers, the truck driver, Workers Compensation and perhaps a health carrier or two will all be claiming against the car driver’s policy. Even if the car driver had more reasonable limits of 100/300, there is still not enough to go around.
The truck driver might have Underinsured motorist coverage, which would allow him to make a claim under his own policy, after the at-fault driver’s coverage is exhausted. Likewise with the families of the passengers. Their family policies may have both Underinsured motorist (UM) coverage and Medical Payments coverage to help out.
Underinsured motorist coverage applies when the policyholder is injured and has a claim value that exceeds the available coverage by the wrongdoer AND that coverage is less than the policyholders coverage. That means, when we buy insurance, we decide how much coverage is ‘enough’. If I buy UM coverage with a limit of $50,000. Someone hits me and I have medical bills in the amount of $75,000, my coverage will only apply up to $50,000, even if my claim is worth much more. If the wrongdoers insurance covers $50,000 of my claim, I have no UM claim.
Medical Payments (Med Pay) coverage is usually a low limit coverage to help out with accident related medical expenses, regardless of fault or other available coverage. Payment is supposed to be made to the insured person, when they submit bills, following an accident. Often, insurance companies don’t mention this coverage to their insureds, even when the company knows there has been injury related expenses. And, even when the insurance company actually pays what the owe, they have their hand out, seeking subrogation when their insured is able to collect from the tortfeasor (wrongdoer). We recently filed and succeeded with a class action against a nationally knowninsurance company for fraudulent Med Pay claims practices.
Complicated!! If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident, truck or bus wreck or any other vehicular crash, GET HELP! There are just too many competing interests to navigate without experience.
Four generations of theMoore family attorneys have helped the seriously injured for over 80 years. Two generations of Moore attorneys, with collective experience of 37+ years, currently serve clients at The Moore Law Firm. If you don’t need us, we will tell you. First visits are free. All our fees are contingent. We only take a fee, if and when we collect for you.