Payment of Medical Bills
If you are injured in a car accident, the insurance of the car that you are traveling in at the time of the accident will pay your medical expenses. The coverage that provides for this benefit is called “Personal Injury Protection” (also called “PIP” or “No-fault”). The PIP coverage applies regardless of who is at-fault for the collision. All motor vehicles registered in Delaware are required to have a minimum of $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident of PIP benefits. If your medical expenses exceed the amount of PIP coverage available to you, you can make a claim against the person at-fault for the accident for the amount of medical expenses unpaid by PIP.
Reimbursement for Lost Wages
The same PIP benefits that pay for your medical expenses are also available to cover lost wages that you incur when your injuries leave you unable to work after an accident. Since your PIP coverage pays for lost wages and medical expenses for all of the occupants of your motor vehicle, it is recommended that you purchase additional PIP benefits to ensure coverage for all members of your household. If there is not enough PIP coverage to reimburse you for all of your lost wages, then you can make a claim against the person at-fault for the accident for reimbursement of your lost wages.
Additional PIP Benefits
In addition to covering medical expenses and lost wages, Delaware PIP benefits are a common fund from which dental expenses, substitution services (the costs of hiring someone to do things you would have done if you were not injured such as household chores), and funeral expenses (not to exceed $5,000.00) will be reimbursed by the insurance company providing coverage to the vehicle in which you were traveling at the time of the accident. If you were traveling in your own vehicle at the time of the accident, it is your own insurance company who will provide PIP coverage to you regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Since PIP benefits are a common fund from which all of these expenses can be recovered, it is recommended that you purchase more than the mandatory minimum required by Delaware law.
Damages to Your Motor Vehicle
Determining who pays for the damages to your motor vehicle will depend upon who was at-fault for the accident. If another person caused the accident that person’s automobile insurance will be responsible for paying for the damages to your motor vehicle. When your car is deemed a total loss, you are entitled to recover the fair market value of your car at the time of the accident. However, if the accident was your fault, your property damage will be paid by your own insurance company through your collision coverage less the amount of your deductible.
Recovering for Pain and Suffering
When you are injured in a car accident and another person is responsible for causing the accident, you can make a claim against the at-fault person to compensate you for your pain and suffering. Unlike Pennsylvania, Delaware does not have full tort or limited tort distinctions on car insurance policies, so Pennsylvania residents injured in a Delaware motor vehicle accident caused by a Delaware resident can recover for pain and suffering even if they have elected limited tort coverage. The total amount of damages that you can recover from the at-fault party will, in most situations, depend upon the amount of the bodily injury coverage purchased by the person at-fault for the accident since the bodily injury coverage is the maximum amount of coverage that the insurance company will pay to a claimant who is injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by its insured driver. Delaware law requires all motor vehicles registered in Delaware to have a minimum of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident of bodily injury coverage. If your bodily injury claim exceeds the insurance limit of the at-fault party, you can make a claim against your insurance company to recover underinsured motorist benefits. Underinsured and uninsured motorist benefits are optional in Delaware, but it is recommended that you elect this coverage since it protects you and members of your household in the event of an accident caused by someone with little or no insurance.
If you have been injured in an automobile accident, contact Delaware car accident lawyer Tiffany M. Shrenk at 302-654-4454 or [email protected]. Tiffany is experienced in helping injured accident victims receive fair compensation for their injuries. Tiffany is licensed to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Tiffany regularly practices in Delaware in the firm’s Centreville office, located minutes north of Wilmington, Delaware.