Auto insurance payouts
August 1, 2005 11:01 AM   Subscribe

How does standard full coverage auto insurance in Minneasota work?

Several of my friends were involved in a car accident involving only their car. Two people were seriously hurt and will have thousands of dollars in medical bills. One friend, who will be out of work for 1-3 months was wondering if insurance normally covers lost time for work and his medical bills. Also, the driver was really, really hurt and I'm guessing will have alot of medical bills. She was paralyzed. The other 3 I didn't mention had minimal injurys and probably not too much in med expenses. Can anyone who knows the auto insurance industry tell me what is likely to be covered/not covered. Let's assume that the coverage is the recomended coverage since I don't really know.
posted by supplement710 to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
Your friends need to talk to a lawyer. Preferably several. The initial consult should be free. If someone decides to hire a lawyer, there should be no upfront fees but they'll take 1/3 (or more) cut of the final settlement plus expenses, the best thing you can do as a friend is make sure they don't sign anything (with a lawyer or insurance company) while still under the initial post-accident stress (or while taking meds that cloud judgement).

Their insurance adjustor can also provide a lot of info, but the insurer's job is to pay out as little as possible -- so that's why it's important to check first with a lawyer.

The actual amount and types of coverage do matter here. It's pretty useless to speculate without knowing what they actually have. For instance, if there's no/little MedPay on the policy, it'd be hard to get payment for medical bills* and lost wages. (Unless the insured has assets that the passengers decide to sue for. That could get ugly...) Likewise, if the policy limits are low and the liability is obvious, then hiring a lawyer may not make financial sense.

* From the auto policy, anyway. Hopefully they have personal health insurance, to cover the medical bills.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:51 AM on August 1, 2005

(Oh, and what types of expenses are/aren't covered is outlined in the insured's policy declarations. You should be able to pick up a copy directly from the insurance company if the driver's original can't be easily found. But again, you'd need to know what coverages they were paying for in order to understand which which of the declarations apply to this accident.)
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 12:04 PM on August 1, 2005

I'll second the recommendation to find a lawyer. The Twin Cities area has a ton of good, non-sleazy personal injury lawyers. If you'd like to run a name by me when you get to that stage, email is in my profile.

Your friend will need to start by figuring out what coverage the other person had - there are minimum amounts of coverage mandated by state law, but not everyone has so little.
posted by Coffeemate at 2:53 PM on August 1, 2005

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