If You Are the At-Fault Party Any Medical Bills You Incur Are Paid For through Your PIP Rider or Medical Insurance
Interviewer: What if you are found to be at fault, whether you believe it’s valid or not, are you still able to claim compensation for injuries or do you no longer have a case?
Bill: In terms of your case, it’s terminal to the case, but if you have personal injury protection, then that covers your medical bills. If you don’t have personal injury protection but you have health insurance through work, then that steps in and becomes the number one coverage for your injuries.
The Liability Insurance through Your Automobile Policy Pays for the Other Party’s Injuries
Interviewer: What about injuries for the other party? How does that get covered?
Bill: You hope you have liability coverage, because that’s what’s going to pay for the other person. It’s exact mirror of what happens when they’re at fault.
Interviewer: In Washington State, there are probably state minimums on insurance?
Bill: Yes and actually many people are unfamiliar with the amount. The minimum limit provided for in the State of Washington for liability coverage is $25,000.
If You Do Not Carry PIP on Your Auto Policy, Attorney Levinson Advises Adding It as Soon as Possible
Interviewer: These riders, these add‑ons that you’re recommending are called personal injury protection?
Underinsured/ Uninsured Motorist Coverage Is a Valuable Add-on as Well
Bill: Definitely personal injury protection. Also, I definitely recommend adding underinsured motorist coverage. I recommend a minimum limit would be 100,000/300,000 on personal injury protection and on underinsured motorist, uninsured motorist.
Interviewer: What happens if you’re in an accident and the other person’s at fault and they have a limit of $25,000 on the personal injury side? Can you ever claim more than that, or are you locked into that limit because of their coverage?
Bill: You’re locked into that limit if you do not have underinsured motorist coverage.
If You Add the Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage, You Are Covered for Medical Bills Exceeding the Other Party’s Policy Coverage
Bill: Yes, medical bills and pain and suffering up to the limit of you Uninsured/Underinsured coverage
A Not-At-Fault Collision and Your Insurance Premiums:
Interviewer: Folks are worried that having an accident will raise their rates, is that always true.
Bill: If you cause the accident you can expect your rates to go up. If you are not a fault but have a lot of claims, the same thing can happen.
Interviewer: There’s no partial fault? It’s just either all one driver’s fault or the other?
Contributory Negligence Means both You and the Other Party Are at Fault
Bill: No. There is partial fault. It’s called contributory negligence. You can be partially at fault, and the other party can be partially at fault.
Interviewer: How does that change the compensation structure or what’s going to happen?
Contributory Negligence Partially Reduces Your Recovery or Compensation by the Amount You Are at Fault in an Accident
Bill: Let’s say your injuries are $10,000, and let’s say that you’re 40% at fault. Your recovery, or the amount you get, is reduced by 40% or $4,000, and you would end up with $6,000.
Interviewer: It’s a percentage of liability, okay. You said in your experience, 99% of cases it’s one person’s fault or the other, is that right?
Bill: Yes, that may not be the most accurate percentage but the vast majority is one person’s fault.
Contributory Negligence Is Rarely Applied
Interviewer: Is it very rare that you see this contributory negligence?
Bill: It is unusual in cases I see. That doesn’t stop the insurance company from claiming it, but that’s why we have litigation. That’s why we can sue.
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