In 2020, 12,107 serious injury crashes occurred in Texas, with 14,656 people sustaining serious injuries. The impact after a car accident can be serious and costly. For example, you may suffer injuries and lost wages due to not being able to work, growing medical bills because of the cost of initial and ongoing health care in some cases.
If you have been in an Austin, Texas car accident and are suffering injuries, you may be wondering if your health insurance is enough to cover your losses and what you can do to ensure you are not left with insufficient coverage.
What’s in This Guide
Common car accident losses suffered by the injured party include compensatory damages, which are broken down into economic and non-economic damages.
- Medical expenses, such as health care treatment related to the accident including hospital, doctor visits, and future procedures and treatments.
- Lost wages, including income you have lost out on making in the future
- Damage to your vehicle and repair costs
- Decreased quality of life due to the accident such as inability to engage in activities such as running or driving that you once enjoyed
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
Car Insurance Coverage for Damages
Be sure to read and understand the details of your insurance policy. One of the ways you can do this is by reading your Consumer Bill of Rights, which your insurance company must provide to you under Texas law.
It is important to know that if you are at fault for a car accident, your auto liability insurance generally never covers your damages. For this reason, it is important to seek additional coverage to cover your own expenses as well.
Personal Injury Protection
Unlike several states which do not offer it—Texas is among the few states that automatically include Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage in your auto coverage. PIP pays for you and your passengers if your car accident results in injuries, regardless of who is at fault. Your auto policy must cover $2,500 per person.
While PIP does not include coverage for the car or other property damage or injuries by people outside your car—PIP in Texas is expansive and does cover the following:
- funeral expenses
- lost wages
- childcare expenses
- survivors’ loss benefits, and household services
Most importantly, although PIP in Texas is optional, it is a critical preventive measure you can keep as it covers common car accident expenses. If you decide to opt out of PIP, it must be done in writing. However, before experiencing this option, be sure to carefully consider such benefits of keeping your PIP coverage, especially in the unexpected event of a car accident, including medical, when a car accident unexpectedly happens.
Health Care Insurance versus PIP
While your health insurance is likely a safe be to pay for medical expenses related to car accident injuries— Med-Pay or PIP coverage may save you costs when it comes to deductibles and co-pays and be more efficient. Generally, PIP and Med-pay are initially used to cover health expenses until you reach its policy limits, then your health insurance can pay the rest. Since health insurance may not be the best to start with your health expenses following an accident, below are auto insurance health policy highlights:
PIP covers the following health services related to the accident, including, but not limited to the following:
- bills from the doctor and hospital visits
- medical equipment such as a wheelchair
- chiropractic and physical therapy care
Another type of auto coverage that pays health care costs is called Medical Payments (Med-Pay). However, it is important to note that health insurance companies are not obligated to offer it, so be sure to check with your company. Med-pay covers costs within a year of the accident, compared to a three-year period for PIPs.
- Med-Pay does not pay lost wages or pay for essential services if the injured person is unemployed.
- Med-pay does not pay for chiropractor services.
- Under Med-Pay, you will need to pay health insurance deductibles and co-pays upfront and be reimbursed later.
- In Texas, PIP coverage is not subject to subrogation, and Med-Pay is subject to subrogation.
An experienced Texas car accident attorney can help you understand the specific provisions of your auto insurance policy and how to put it to use. Additionally, an attorney can inform you of critical information to consider when deciding on the best health care coverage options for your specific circumstances (i.e., health insurance versus PIP). While you focus on healing and recovery from your sustained injuries, an attorney can help you navigate submitting medical bills to your insurance company for payment or reimbursement so that you do not miss any important deadlines, such as the one-year mark for Med-Pay.
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Speak to an Experienced Austin, Texas Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one have sustained an injury or injuries in a Texas car accident, you need experienced attorneys by your side. The committed personal injury attorneys at the Patel Firm have the experience and skills to represent you and advocate for your best interests and are well-versed in Texas personal injury cases and fighting for fair and just compensation for injured victims and their loved ones.
Our priority is to help alleviate the added stress of an injury to you and/or loved ones impacted by the accident and navigate the complex legal aspects on your behalf. We are eager to help you explore the additional coverage you may need so that you are not unprotected from the high health care costs associated with a car accident. The best way to get started is to call (361) 400-2036 to schedule a free evaluation where we will discuss the details of your case and your legal options.