Monday, May 6, 2013

FAQS: 05/06/13


Each day, there are thousands of people looking online for answers to their questions about Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Slip and Falls, and many many more topics. We decided to put together a few of the most frequently asked questions over the past week and give you our take on them. If you have a question that hasn't been answered, or you just haven't found an answer that you are happy with, please be sure to contact us directly. Below are this weeks most commonly asked questions. Stay safe everyone!

An unauthorized driver of a rental car has an accident. Who pays?

FACTS: Joe rents a car.  Joe tells the car rental company that he will be the only driver.  Later, Joe gives permission to Fred to drive the car, and Fred causes an accident. 

QUESTION: Is there insurance coverage for the accident caused by Fred?  Who pays? 

ANSWER: Under AZ law, the State minimum insurance requirements are $15,000 per person
Under AZ law, a car rental company is responsible for the minimum amount of insurance for an accident caused by a renter (Joe)($15,000).  If the renter (Joe) has their own vehicle with insurance, then the renter’s own policy would be in excess of the $15,000.

If the renter (Joe) gives permission to another (Fred) to drive the rental car, and Fred causes an accident, then likewise, the rental car company IS responsible for the first $15,000 in coverage.  This is called “permissive use”. 

How can insurance refuse to pay medical bills associated with a personal injury because of a lapse in active treatment?

There are many arguments that insurance companies love to use to deny payment for expenses or bills that should otherwise be covered.  

For medical treatment, there is little insurance companies love more than “gaps” in care. 
Don’t see a doctor for 3 week after an accident?  This is a “gap in care”, and, per an insurance company, it is not related to the accident.  If not related to the accident, they won’t pay.

See a doctor the day of, treat for 6 weeks, then, don’t see a doctor again until week 10?  “Gap in care”. Not related. They won’t pay.

Of course, these “gap” determinations are always the insurance company determinations.  Does that mean that they are right?  Hardly.  It simply means the burden is on the victim/patient to PROVE that the treatment that comes after the “gap” is indeed related to the accident.  If the victim/patient can prove such, then, the insurance company will pay.  

“Proof” is the key ingredient here, and the “burden of proof” is always on the claimant.  

I was Rear ended while stopped at a red light, causing me to hit the car in front of me. The person who hit me is uninsured. What do I do?

We see this occurring more and more in AZ.  The answer is simple.  Do you have “Uninsured Motorist Coverage”?

Uninsured Motorist Coverage is a type of insurance coverage that YOU can but from your own insurance company to protect yourself and your family in a scenario just like this one.  It less expensive generally than buying the coverage mandated by AZ law.  

Given that it is estimated that 20-25% of people are driving in AZ without insurance, and are therefore “Uninsured”, you may want to check your policy or ask your agent about this type of insurance protection.  

My car is totaled after being hit by a drunk driver. What additional help can a lawyer provide?

This question is almost too involved to answer in a short space.

An experienced phoenix personal injury lawyer can: 

Help you deal with the insurance companies (the drunk driver’s as well as your own);
Make sure that the drunk driver is help liable for the injuries and damages that result to you, both through the criminal courts and civil courts;
Make sure your car gets repaired correctly;
Make sure that you get to the doctors that you need;
Make sure that you get the medical care you need;
Make sure that any lost wages are reimbursed;
Make sure that any out of pocket expenses are reimbursed;
Make sure that you are compensated for any serious or permanent injuries;
Make sure that appropriate plans are in place for any future medical care.

Please always stay alert when you are driving. We take it for granted at times, and we tend to forget just how dangerous driving really can be. 

 Keep your loved ones and yourself safe at all times. Remember, we will be releasing a weekly questions regarding personal injury. Keep an eye out for updated answers to your questions.