Car accidents are costly events, and it pays to be prepared. Car insurance might take a bite out of your monthly budget, but it’s a small price compared to the potential expense of a serious injury. This is especially true when a person suffers a severe brain injury.
Even if you don’t hit your head in an accident, you could still suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In a rear-end crash, for example, the sudden forward-and-back motion known as “whiplash” can cause your brain to bump the inside of your skull and become bruised, also known as a “contusion.” Alternatively, a side-on collision can knock your head and spin your neck, twisting and tearing crucial cells deep within your brain tissue.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that motor-vehicle crashes were the third leading cause of traumatic brain injury-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in 2013. They were also the leading cause of TBI-related hospitalizations for adolescents and persons aged 15 to 44.
But here’s some good news: Depending on the circumstances that led to the crash, the extent of your injuries, and your insurance coverage, you might not have to pay for your medical treatment out of your own pocket.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage: How It Can Help
Liability and collision car insurance can help cover unexpected costs stemming from an accident involving another driver – but in many cases, the policy limits are too low. This is especially common when a person sustains a brain injury because the costs of medical are exorbitant.
Too many motorists are uninsured or stick to bare-minimum policy limits. If you’re involved in a collision with such a driver, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage can help.
UM coverage is an additional policy that comes into play when you are hit by an uninsured or uninsured driver. It may also pay out if you are injured in a hit and run crash.
There are two types of coverage built into most UM policies:
- Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD), which covers damage to the vehicle and other property; and
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI), which covers medical expenses arising from the accident.
The terms and limits of uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage vary among auto insurance companies and states, but these policies usually cover:
- Medical expenses;
- Funeral expenses;
- Loss of income; and
- Pain and suffering.
If you sustained a TBI in a motor-vehicle collision, your first sources of compensation would probably be the at-fault driver’s liability coverage and your own UM coverage. If neither of these options produces enough coverage to pay for your medical expenses, you should consult an attorney to discuss your options. It might be in your best interests to file a claim against the at-fault driver or another party whose negligence contributed to your accident. A seasoned personal injury lawyer can assess your case, review all applicable insurance policies, and help you determine the best way to pursue the compensation you need to move on with life.