AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE ISSUE
Question: My cousin was recently a passenger in her friend’s car. Her friend lost control and crashed head-on into a tree causing my cousin to sustain multiple fractures of her legs as well as facial scarring. She is now unable to work and has significant hospital, doctors, and prescription bills. I don’t know if it matters, but my cousin owns her own car and has her own auto insurance policy. I have heard that “No-Fault Insurance” covers some of my cousin’s expenses and might pay for her lost wages. Can you tell me which of the two insurance companies, my cousin’s or her friend’s, would cover these losses? And could both insurance companies help with these expenses? We’re confused and need some answers. Linda R.
Answer: Regarding No-Fault Insurance coverage, Linda, the car in which your cousin was a passenger has the first (“primary”) obligation to pay for her hospital and doctors bills, the medication, and your cousin’s loss of earnings. Your cousin’s insurance on her own car may afford her excess coverage (standard no-fault benefits are limited in amounts) if she had purchased such coverage prior to the accident. Under these circumstances, it would not matter that her own car was not involved in this accident.
I hope your cousin had bought Under-insured Coverage in her own policy. If she did, she could benefit substantially if the amount of her coverage exceeded the liability limits of the negligent driver’s policy and if her injuries justified such greater amount in the payment for her damages. We strongly recommend that our clients obtain under-insured coverage.
Keep in mind, there are strict time limitations for filing required claims in automobile accidents. Time is often of the essence in making these claims. Feel free to give us a call if you are involved in such an unfortunate occurrence and we’ll be happy to lead you through the process. Good luck.