Car accidents range in severity and so do the injuries one sustains during them. Whiplash, scrapes, cuts, and bruises are some of the most common. Bone fractures, concussions, internal injuries, herniated discs, ligament injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder are also possible.
How Do These Injuries Occur?
In an accident, a car doesn’t just stop moving immediately after a crash. The momentum keeps going, which can push your car into another object, cause it to flip, or simply propel it additional yards before it stops. In that time, your body will move with the spins, forward momentum, and flips. Your head could hit the side window, whip back and forth against the headrest and windshield, and your pelvis may slide forward until the seatbelt and airbag stop it, which causes a dislocation or fracture.
All of this causes damage to your body. As the head whips back and forth, the brain may move around in the skull and lead to a concussion. The seatbelt digs into the body to hold it against the seat, which causes bruising. The dashboard can push in and cut, bruise, or damage the legs and knees. The force of the airbag can break fingers, wrists, and forearms that were gripping the wheel.
In severe accidents, the metal framing of the car can crush parts of the body. Broken ribs and arms may happen. Internal organs like the spleen may rupture and require immediate surgery to stop the bleeding. You could have emotional trauma that makes it hard to drive after your crash. If you can’t drive and public transportation isn’t an option in your neighborhood, how do you get to work?
The bills add up quickly. Medical expenses are just a small part of it. If your injury requires months of physical therapy before you’re back to normal, you can miss hours, days, or weeks of work. That loss of income adds up quickly at an inopportune time. You may need money for the medical bills coming in the future, especially if the insurance coverage isn’t enough.
Understanding Car Insurance Minimums
When you own and drive a car, you’re typically required to have auto insurance or prove you have the financial means to cover the cost of a crash. How much insurance coverage you have depends on your state’s laws. In Iowa, the minimum liability coverage for a driver is $20,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in one accident, $40,000 for two people in one accident, and $15,000 for injury or destruction of property in one accident.
Bodily injury liability insurance covers medical expenses, pain and suffering, and injuries related to a car crash. You may find that $20,000 per person doesn’t go far. If the personal injury limits are less than the medical bills, the policyholder may be held responsible to cover the remainder. That’s why some people purchase policies that exceed those minimum limits.
What if You’re in a Crash and the Driver’s Insurance Isn’t Enough?
Imagine this scenario. You’re at a red light and the car behind you hits you from behind because the driver was texting and never hit the brakes before hitting you. You’re pushed into the intersection, hit by a second car, and suffer a pelvic fracture. The driver who rear-ended your car is at fault, and police investigation proves it. That driver is responsible for your personal injury expenses.
You learn that other driver only has the bare minimum and his insurance company will pay up to $20,000 of your medical bills. In Iowa, the average charge for a pelvic fracture that doesn’t require a surgery averages $12,178 in Iowa. It can cost as much as $22,770 in Des Moines. It’s easy for medical bills to quickly exceed the minimum liability amount.
File a claim against the other driver’s insurance. Get the settlement offer and see how much you’d get if you take that offer. Is it enough to cover your medical bills? If not, you may have to go through your automobile insurance and see if you have coverage for uninsured/underinsured drivers. If you do, you’ll try to get the balance from your insurance. The other thing you should do is talk to a car accident attorney.
Trial Lawyers for Justice specializes in personal injury claims. If you’ve been in an Iowa car accident and don’t feel the settlement offer is substantial enough to cover your personal injuries, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering, you don’t have to settle. Through a live chat or quick phone call, you can talk to one of the experts at TL4J and get an honest opinion on what to do next. Consultations are free, so there’s no risk. Reach out and let us know how we can help.