Who pays for property damage and medical bills after a car accident in WV?
The answer to this question depends on your own financial resources and the circumstances of the accident.
Typical sources of compensation for damages sustained in a car
(1) Your Car Insurance Company – Whether your insurance will compensate you for your loss depends on your insurance contract. In many contracts, there are considerations for both the first party (you and your vehicle) and any third parties (passengers, other drivers; and their property). Some contracts provide medical coverage for personal injuryof the insured and your passengers. In West Virginia, this is called “med pay,” and usually ranges from about $5,000 to $10,000. It is also important to note that any medical payments made by “med pay” will have to be paid back if you end up receiving a settlement or judgment. The policy may pay for collision repairs and possibly for a car rental while your damaged car is being fixed.
(2) Your Health Insurance Provider – You may have private health insurance or belong to an HMO. In the event of a personal injury from a car accident, you can ask your health insurer to pay for medical treatment. Sometimes, private health insurance plans or HMOs require you to seek recovery from your auto insurance company before the health organization will pay or provide medical treatment. Like “med pay,” in West Virginia, your health insurance will have a lien on any future settlement or judgment that you obtain. So it is important to realize that any future recovery that you receive will automatically subtract these subrogate amounts before you receive a dime of the recovery.
(3) Other People Involved In the Accident – In addition to the three sources above, you may be able to seek recovery from other people who were involved in the accident. West Virginia is an “at fault” states, so this option depends on how fault is apportioned among the other driver(s). This is also subject to the comparative negligence analysis (see my prior posts regarding “fault”). If you are “at-fault” for an accident that occurred in a “fault” state, contact your insurance company. It is the company’s job to defend you in court or to negotiate a settlement.
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney.