Dealing with insurance can be extraordinarily stressful and taxing even when it’s for the most minor of reasons, let alone something big like a car accident. With confusing loopholes, alienating language, and an undercurrent of greed, it certainly doesn’t always feel like you’re “in good hands.” That being said, with how unfortunately common car accidents are, the layperson usually has a basic understanding of how insurance handles them.
But what about when you’re the only driver involved? Single-vehicle collisions made up more than half of accident-caused deaths in Alabama in 2019, so it pays to be prepared. Due to the myriad of factors that could be involved in a single-vehicle crash, the insurance is handled a bit differently in these claims. Understanding exactly how can save you time, money, and stress in the future.
How insurance works in most car accident claims work
You most likely already know the gist of how car insurance works in a normal, standard, two-vehicle collision. The at-fault party’s insurance pays for the victim’s vehicle repairs and medical needs, and premiums go up for said at-fault person. In some cases, you may rely on your own MedPay benefits to help you with the immediate medical costs, but your expenses can be recouped through a claim.
What type of insurance do I need in a single-car crash?
In a single car accident, there is no other insurance company to rely on, so you have to go through your own coverage, instead.
If you are reading this but have not experienced a recent single-vehicle crash, now is the time for you to check your insurance policy and make sure it includes collision insurance. This is an optional part of the policy, so unless you have manually tacked it on you may not have it. Collision insurance is specifically meant to cover the costs of replacing or repairing your vehicle in the event of a crash, and that includes single-vehicle situations. Even if your premiums go up, at the very least you won’t need to cover every cost yourself on top of it.
Comprehensive insurance is another important option, though it doesn’t cover as many situations. This is something that would kick in if your crash was to avoid something in the road, or caused by some exterior factor you could not control.
If your accident is related to a hit-and-run, then you can use your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) to pay for damages. Unfortunately, a lot of drivers waive their UM/UIM coverage because their agents tell them that they can lower their premiums that way. This is true, but it does you a disservice in the long run. If you do have UM/UIM coverage, you should have a 25/50 split at a minimum.
Finally, you can use MedPay to help you with your medical bills and expenses. MedPay is available for drivers and passengers, and in single- and multi-car crashes.
If you are hurt in a single-car crash and seek medical attention – which you absolutely should, no matter how “injured” you may feel at the moment – the hospital may try to force you to use your car insurance. This is because car insurance companies don’t have the same types of group discount deals with hospitals that health insurers do, so the hospital makes more money if you go through your car insurance.
But you don’t have to do this, no matter what they tell you. You can absolutely use your health insurance to pay for your medical treatments.
What if my accident was beyond my control?
If your single-car crash was caused by someone else’s negligence, you will still need to rely on your own insurance, but you may be able to recoup your losses through:
- A product liability lawsuit, if the crash was caused by a defective auto part;
- A claim for workers’ compensation, if you were hurt in the course of your job duties; or
- A bad road claim against a road contractor, county or city, if a bad roadway construction or roadway design is somehow responsible for your injuries, though these are notoriously challenging, and will definitely require the help of an attorney to file.
Car accidents of any sort may seem abstract and rare — until it happens to you. In the state of Alabama, the standard driver’s chance of being in an accident involving death or injury is greater than one in a third. It does not matter how “good” of a driver you are. An accident can always happen, and it can always happen to you, and you will not be able to control whether or not it involves another vehicle or not. Sometimes, it just happens.
What you can control, however, is how you deal with the situation. You deserve to know what to do and how to keep yourself protected. Preparing for the worst-case scenario is how you prevent it from happening. For the safety of yourself and those around you, do not let yourself believe you’re immune to joining those statistics.
If you find yourself dealing with a single-vehicle accident, you do not need to do so alone. The Huntsville car accident attorneys at Martin & Helms can help you evaluate whether you may have an injury claim to pursue and any other legal issues that may arise from the situation, with years of compassionate experience on our side. Aside from Huntsville, we have a second office in Decatur, and are proud to assist you in Athens, Madison, and all of North Alabama. Call us today at 256-539-1990 or fill out our contact form for more information.
Choosing the right personal injury attorney is an important step in building a better future. You deserve a lawyer who works one-on-one with you, and who can develop a plan for you to move forward. When you choose Martin & Helms, you get Clay Martin and Tara Helms: experienced, compassionate counselors who put your best interests first. We invite you to read more about us.