Most people only have a foggy idea of the difference between what auto insurance covers and how that relates to a personal injury case. It may not be until you are actually involved in a wreck caused by a careless driver that you begin to explore what the insurance carrier can and cannot do for you. If you have been injured and the injury has caused more damage than a body shop can repair, here is what you need to know.
What insurance is good for.
If the driver that was at fault in the accident is insured, it is likely that you will at least have your car repaired or replaced. In most cases, your medical expenses will also be covered. Depending on their coverage, you may also be entitled to the replacement of any personal items lost or damaged in the accident and a rental car to use while you get your transportation issues sorted out, but these types of benefits are less common. On the plus side, it's usually quick and relatively easy to get the benefits.
Where insurance drops the ball.
In some cases, you injuries are more severe and require more extensive treatments. While you may get the actual treatments covered by auto insurance, there is more to consider when it comes the the catastrophic nature of severe injuries. You must pursue a personal injury lawsuit to be adequately compensated for the following:
- Pain and suffering: This aspect of damages is meant to encompass the overall negative effect that the accident has had on your life and on your family. It not only is meant to address how your physical injuries have caused havoc in your personal life, but the emotional toil of the accident. Those who have been involved in traumatic events commonly experience mental issues like anxiety, depression, PTSD, mood disorders, problems sleeping, eating disorders, anger management issues, and more. You may need to seek therapy, and vehicle insurance won't cover mental problems related to the accident.
- Loss of consortium: The accident's damage, unfortunately, didn't stop with your injuries, but impacted your loved ones. If you can no longer play catch with your child or be an equal partner to your spouse, you have loss of consortium damages.
- Lost wages: Even if you were fortunate enough to use sick and vacation pay to cover your absences from work, you are still entitled to be reimbursed for those uses as well as any other time you missed from work due to the accident.
If your damages go beyond a wrecked car and some minor physical injuries, be sure to speak to a personal injury attorney.