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Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage

Brien Roche

You would think that the topic of auto insurance is a simple one.  Years ago some insurers began writing auto policies in what they call plain English. Plain English to an insurer is not plain English to the rest of us. As simple as insurers may have tried to make the language, the fact is they are complex contracts.  They become more complex where you have coverage being given in one part of the policy only to be taken away in some other part.

If you’ve been involved in a crash you should contact an experienced auto accident attorney who will represent your interests – not the insurance company’s.

Basic forms of auto coverage are liability, comprehensive, collision, uninsured motorist and medical payments.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Collision

Collision coverage applies where your vehicle has been damaged.  Fault of the driver is not an issue. If you have that coverage your insurance carrier will pay for your auto repair. If the repair cost is more than 75% of the value (see Va. Code § 46.2-1602.1) then the insurer will “total” the car.  They are only obliged to pay you the fair market value.  Pursuant to Virginia Code section 8.01-419.1, the evidence of value may be the NADA Yellow or Black Books that can be found at https://www.nadaguides.com/cars

Sites such as Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com are worthwhile but they simply tend to be aggregators of value.  The insurers use their own book upon which they base fair market value. This can sometimes create grief. Suppose you have a lien against your car for $10,000.00. The vehicle is only worth $8,000.00.  The insurer is only obliged to pay you that fair market value. That leaves you $2,000.00 short. Gap insurance would pay this “gap” amount.

Comprehensive coverage is like collision in that it covers such things as fire, theft and glass breakage.  These types of coverage apply without regard to who may be at fault.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Medical Payments

Personal injury protection insurance coverage is also known as medical payments coverage.  This coverage is what is referred to as a first party coverage. That means that the insurer that issued the policy insures all persons (first party) in the auto at the time of crash.  It is no-fault coverage.  In other words fault is not an issue. If you are in the car you are covered.

This coverage may stack both intrapolicy and interpolicy. Hence if there is more than one auto on the policy then the coverage for each is added to the coverage for the others. This increases the pool of money.  This intrapolicy and interpolicy stacking, up to four (4) cars per policy, may result in there being coverage under the occupied car, the driver’s car, the cars of a family member of the driver, the plaintiff’s cars and the plaintiff’s family members.  This type of maximum coverage is most often achieved where the plaintiff is occupying either a non-owned or a temporary substitute auto.

This is a good thing to have.  It protects not only the driver/owner but also those in the auto. It provides a means of paying for treatment up to what the limits are.

See medical payments for a review of Virginia case law on this topic.

Even though your bills may have been submitted to your health carrier and even though you are claiming your bills in your liability claim against the at-fault driver you can still submit them to your med pay carrier.

Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Subrogation

One thing you need to be aware of in any case is that if bills are paid by your health insurer then they have a right of subrogation.  This right means that the insurer has a right to recoup every dollar they paid out. Some contracts allow a deduct for legal fees that you incur.  In most cases that is 1/3. However that is policy specific.  That right of subrogation applies only to employer issued ERISA health policies.  Otherwise subrogation is barred in Virginia for health policies.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Uninsured Motorist Coverage

This coverage is addressed on another page on this site.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Homeowner’s Coverage

Homeowner’s policies in the Fairfax, Virginia area, as is true in most areas, cover most personal injury claims. They do not apply to auto claims.

A homeowner’s policy is designed to protect the homeowner and the persons that live in that home.  The most common claim is one where a person who does not live there is injured on the premises. The person alleges fault on the homeowner.

However this coverage may extend to things occurring outside the property.  For instance, if the homeowner is involved in some non-business action outside of the home that results in injury to another person then that claim may be covered.

These policies are like most insurance contracts and they cover what is called occurrences. In other words an accident that is not intended by the insured.
For more information about liability claims review our Premises Liability section.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Excess Coverage

Excess exposure in liability claims needs to be dealt with promptly.  If you are sued as a result of an auto crash or other type of claim you should promptly submit this to your insurer.
If that coverage that you have is less than the claim then you may want to consult with counsel about what can be done to protect your assets.

Asset Protection

Certain basic estate planning matters that should be looked at are to make sure that  your family home is titled in both your name and that of your spouse.  Such titling is called tenants by the entirety.  That titling protects that asset from any judgment that might be against only one of you.  If a judgment is against both of you for the same claim, then that may attach to the family home.

Cars that are driven by family members should be titled in the name of one adult.  If there is one adult in the family who is not the primary bread winner, then it  makes sense to title the car in the name of that person.  The logic being that if a car is titled in the name of both spouses then a judgment may be rendered against both.  Likewise, having the car titled only in the name of the spouse who is not the primary bread winner avoids the chance of the wages of the bread winning spouse being garnished if there is an excess judgment.

Of course, it always make sense to maintain enough coverage.  The cost of maintaining a million dollar liability policy is not that much more than a $100,000 policy.

It is not proper to attempt to hide or move your assets for the purpose of avoiding someone making a claim against you. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Limitations and Reporting Requirements

When you are involved in an event where a claim may be made against you certain reporting requirements may apply.

There may be reporting requirements that apply based upon your insurance. Policies call for the insured to give seasonable notice to the insurer. This is to allow the insurer time to look at the matter while it is fresh. If  you deprive the insurer of that chance that may be a basis to deny coverage.

In addition statute of limitations, defined by state code, govern the amount of time you have after an injury to actually file and/or serve a lawsuit.

Car Accident Comprehensive-Health Insurance

Health insurance is a critical subject.  To some extent it is covered under the blog post dealing with ERISA.

One issue that arises sometimes in health insurance is whether or not a provider has to submit the claims to the carrier.  Under Virginia Code Section 8.01-27.5, an in-network provider has to submit claims to the health insurance carrier, otherwise they lose certain benefits.  In particular the patient no longer has an obligation to pay.  In addition the in-network provider does not have the benefit of liens created by statute.  Also the in-network provider is barred from recovering payments which should have been submitted.

Brien Roche represents clients in all types of vehicle injury matters or accidents. Mr. Roche has secured compensation for clients involved in accidents involving trucks, cars and other vehicles. With over 40 years of trial experience, Brien Roche has garnered significant compensation for his clients. For a free consultation with an accident lawyer, complete the contact form on this page, or contact our office directly.

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Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage

Brien Roche

You would think that the topic of auto insurance is a simple one.  Years ago some insurers began writing auto policies in what they call plain English. Plain English to an insurer is not plain English to the rest of us. As simple as insurers may have tried to make the language, the fact is they are complex contracts.  They become more complex where you have coverage being given in one part of the policy only to be taken away in some other part.

If you’ve been involved in a crash you should contact an experienced auto accident attorney who will represent your interests – not the insurance company’s.

Basic forms of auto coverage are liability, comprehensive, collision, uninsured motorist and medical payments.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Collision

Collision coverage applies where your vehicle has been damaged.  Fault of the driver is not an issue. If you have that coverage your insurance carrier will pay for your auto repair. If the repair cost is more than 75% of the value (see Va. Code § 46.2-1602.1) then the insurer will “total” the car.  They are only obliged to pay you the fair market value.  Pursuant to Virginia Code section 8.01-419.1, the evidence of value may be the NADA Yellow or Black Books that can be found at https://www.nadaguides.com/cars

Sites such as Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com are worthwhile but they simply tend to be aggregators of value.  The insurers use their own book upon which they base fair market value. This can sometimes create grief. Suppose you have a lien against your car for $10,000.00. The vehicle is only worth $8,000.00.  The insurer is only obliged to pay you that fair market value. That leaves you $2,000.00 short. Gap insurance would pay this “gap” amount.

Comprehensive coverage is like collision in that it covers such things as fire, theft and glass breakage.  These types of coverage apply without regard to who may be at fault.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Medical Payments

Personal injury protection insurance coverage is also known as medical payments coverage.  This coverage is what is referred to as a first party coverage. That means that the insurer that issued the policy insures all persons (first party) in the auto at the time of crash.  It is no-fault coverage.  In other words fault is not an issue. If you are in the car you are covered.

This coverage may stack both intrapolicy and interpolicy. Hence if there is more than one auto on the policy then the coverage for each is added to the coverage for the others. This increases the pool of money.  This intrapolicy and interpolicy stacking, up to four (4) cars per policy, may result in there being coverage under the occupied car, the driver’s car, the cars of a family member of the driver, the plaintiff’s cars and the plaintiff’s family members.  This type of maximum coverage is most often achieved where the plaintiff is occupying either a non-owned or a temporary substitute auto.

This is a good thing to have.  It protects not only the driver/owner but also those in the auto. It provides a means of paying for treatment up to what the limits are.

See medical payments for a review of Virginia case law on this topic.

Even though your bills may have been submitted to your health carrier and even though you are claiming your bills in your liability claim against the at-fault driver you can still submit them to your med pay carrier.

Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Subrogation

One thing you need to be aware of in any case is that if bills are paid by your health insurer then they have a right of subrogation.  This right means that the insurer has a right to recoup every dollar they paid out. Some contracts allow a deduct for legal fees that you incur.  In most cases that is 1/3. However that is policy specific.  That right of subrogation applies only to employer issued ERISA health policies.  Otherwise subrogation is barred in Virginia for health policies.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Uninsured Motorist Coverage

This coverage is addressed on another page on this site.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Homeowner’s Coverage

Homeowner’s policies in the Fairfax, Virginia area, as is true in most areas, cover most personal injury claims. They do not apply to auto claims.

A homeowner’s policy is designed to protect the homeowner and the persons that live in that home.  The most common claim is one where a person who does not live there is injured on the premises. The person alleges fault on the homeowner.

However this coverage may extend to things occurring outside the property.  For instance, if the homeowner is involved in some non-business action outside of the home that results in injury to another person then that claim may be covered.

These policies are like most insurance contracts and they cover what is called occurrences. In other words an accident that is not intended by the insured.
For more information about liability claims review our Premises Liability section.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Excess Coverage

Excess exposure in liability claims needs to be dealt with promptly.  If you are sued as a result of an auto crash or other type of claim you should promptly submit this to your insurer.
If that coverage that you have is less than the claim then you may want to consult with counsel about what can be done to protect your assets.

Asset Protection

Certain basic estate planning matters that should be looked at are to make sure that  your family home is titled in both your name and that of your spouse.  Such titling is called tenants by the entirety.  That titling protects that asset from any judgment that might be against only one of you.  If a judgment is against both of you for the same claim, then that may attach to the family home.

Cars that are driven by family members should be titled in the name of one adult.  If there is one adult in the family who is not the primary bread winner, then it  makes sense to title the car in the name of that person.  The logic being that if a car is titled in the name of both spouses then a judgment may be rendered against both.  Likewise, having the car titled only in the name of the spouse who is not the primary bread winner avoids the chance of the wages of the bread winning spouse being garnished if there is an excess judgment.

Of course, it always make sense to maintain enough coverage.  The cost of maintaining a million dollar liability policy is not that much more than a $100,000 policy.

It is not proper to attempt to hide or move your assets for the purpose of avoiding someone making a claim against you. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Car Accident Comprehensive Coverage-Limitations and Reporting Requirements

When you are involved in an event where a claim may be made against you certain reporting requirements may apply.

There may be reporting requirements that apply based upon your insurance. Policies call for the insured to give seasonable notice to the insurer. This is to allow the insurer time to look at the matter while it is fresh. If  you deprive the insurer of that chance that may be a basis to deny coverage.

In addition statute of limitations, defined by state code, govern the amount of time you have after an injury to actually file and/or serve a lawsuit.

Car Accident Comprehensive-Health Insurance

Health insurance is a critical subject.  To some extent it is covered under the blog post dealing with ERISA.

One issue that arises sometimes in health insurance is whether or not a provider has to submit the claims to the carrier.  Under Virginia Code Section 8.01-27.5, an in-network provider has to submit claims to the health insurance carrier, otherwise they lose certain benefits.  In particular the patient no longer has an obligation to pay.  In addition the in-network provider does not have the benefit of liens created by statute.  Also the in-network provider is barred from recovering payments which should have been submitted.

Brien Roche represents clients in all types of vehicle injury matters or accidents. Mr. Roche has secured compensation for clients involved in accidents involving trucks, cars and other vehicles. With over 40 years of trial experience, Brien Roche has garnered significant compensation for his clients. For a free consultation with an accident lawyer, complete the contact form on this page, or contact our office directly.

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