You’ve just been in a car accident and your thoughts are going a mile a minute. You know you need to seek medical attention and talk to the other driver right away. You realize you’re experiencing some pain and think you might have injuries. You’re worried about medical bills and other financial burdens. Now you’re worried even more because you’ve just realized you may have partially caused the accident. What now?
Our Columbia, MO auto accident attorney is prepared to answer your questions. Keep reading to learn about Missouri’s car accident laws and how determining fault and receiving compensations works.
One of the major issues our clients have when they are involved in a car accident is that they have received medical treatment and bills are piling up, or they need additional medical treatment and cannot afford it on their own. There are a few options that people have when they find themselves in this situation. Please note that every situation is unique, so there is not a “one size fits all” approach.
Many people believe that the other side’s insurance company will pay their medical bills as they receive treatment. Unfortunately, that is typically not the case. For more information about why insurers typically won’t pay your medical bills as you treat, please see our blog where we discuss this issue at length. As a result of not having health insurance or having some insurance company pay your bills, you are left in a terrible financial decision while you’re trying to get better.
In these situations, though, our firm gets hard to work looking at a few things. First, we see if you have any medical payments (medpay) coverage available under your own automobile insurance that may cover past or future medical bills. If you have medpay coverage available, then we work with your insurance company to make sure that you get all of the insurance proceeds you are entitled to and have paid a premium for.
If you were injured in a car accident, you should know that most automobile insurance companies will not pay your medical bills while you treat. In other words, if you are currently treating for your injuries and are sending the other insurance company your bills, it’s rare for the other insurance company to pay your bills “as you go.”
Instead, what the other side’s insurance adjuster will want is a full and complete medical history from you (through a HIPAA Authorization), access to your private medical history (even for things completely unrelated to your injuries), and will want to obtain all of your medical bills before they agree to reimburse you and compensate you for any medical bills that you have sustained as a result of an injury from a car accident. Even if the other side’s insurance company agrees to eventually pay your medical bills, they will want to do so only when you are ready to settle your case completely. Oftentimes, this is not possible when you are receiving your medical treatment.
When we face an illness or injury, we put our trust in medical professionals to help diagnose and treat us, so we can recover and return to our lives as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there are instances where we leave the care of a hospital in worse shape than when we arrived. When this happens, and it is the fault of a medical professional, it’s called medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice occurs much too often in the United States. The errors that result are currently listed as the third-leading cause of death, right after heart disease and cancer. These errors are almost always the result of human error, which means they should almost always be preventable.
Keep reading to learn about why medical malpractice occurs, and what you can do in the event you or a loved one is a victim.
After a car accident, you’re probably thinking about what you need to do next. What you might not be thinking of, however, is what you should not be doing. You’ll want to avoid certain actions after a car accident in order to improve your recovery time, avoid implicating yourself, and get the best possible settlement.
1) Do Not Leave the Scene
Regardless of how minor the car wreck may be, it’s imperative you stay at the scene of the accident until you check on the other party involved, exchange the proper information, and report the event to law enforcement. If you do not do these things, you’re committing a crime and could be charged with a hit-and-run.
If you leave the scene of an auto accident you can be charged with a misdemeanor and a fine– depending on the outcome of the crash. You may also have to serve a sentence of jail time.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage (or “UIM”) is an optional coverage available for your personal automobile insurance that compensates you for personal injuries in a car accident when the at-fault driver’s insurance does not adequately cover your injuries. Unlike uninsured motorist coverage, drivers in Missouri are not required to have underinsured motorist coverage.
Under Missouri law, a Missouri driver must carry at least $25,000.00 in liability coverage to cover any bodily injuries that the driver may cause in a car accident. Since state law only requires $25,000.00 in liability coverage, many drivers do not elect to obtain additional coverage under their policies. As a result, many people who are seriously injured in a car wreck cannot recover the amount they need from the other driver’s insurance to cover their injuries. This is when underinsured motorist coverage comes into play.
At the Law Office of Mike Campbell, we pride ourselves on giving back to our local and nationwide community however we can. As part of that dedication, we decided to start a scholarship in 2018. The Fall 2018 submission period just came to a close– our first time holding the scholarship– and we were humbled by the amount of applications we received as well as the overall quality of every essay.
Thank you to everyone who applied! We’re pleased to announce we’ve chosen a winner.
Congratulations to Morgan Ackley of Boise, Idaho!
Morgan is attending Boise State University’s graduate program and is working toward a master’s degree in technical communication.
Under Missouri law, healthcare providers like doctors, chiropractors, hospitals, and physical therapists are permitted to place “liens” on your case instead of billing your health insurance directly. Based on the law, Missouri healthcare providers can refuse to submit their bills to your health insurance company and can, instead, choose to place a “lien” on the proceeds of your settlement or jury verdict. What this means for healthcare providers is that they do not have to take the standard adjustments to their bills that are part of the contract they may have with your health insurance company.
For example, if you have health insurance, your heath insurance provider may agree to have a medical provider “in network” (permitted by the company) only if that medical provider agrees to take a discount on the services it provides you. So, instead of requiring $1,000.00 for an MRI, the healthcare provider has an agreement with your health insurer to accept $400.00 instead. It’s a win-win for the health insurance provider and medical provider — the health insurance pays a lower amount for the MRI and the medical provider gets to treat patients, like you, with a guaranteed payment for its services.
A personal injury in the legal context is when someone is harmed by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts of another person. In car accident cases, it is not uncommon for there to be both an injury to your person and an injury to your property, such as your car. In this circumstance, the injury to you may lead you to ask for compensation for your personal injury, and the damage to your property may lead you to seek a separate property damage claim. For more information for how to handle your property damage claim, please see our blog on property claims.
There are a significant number of cases that fall under the broad category of “personal injury” claims. For instance, if you are injured in a car accident, then you may have a personal injury claim. If you are injured from a slip and fall on someone’s property, then you may have a personal injury claim. If you are injured because of medical negligence, then you may have a personal injury claim.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (or “UM”) is a required coverage available under your automobile insurance policy that covers your personal injuries in the instance that the other driver is at-fault and does not have insurance. Under Missouri’s motor vehicle financial responsibility law, all Missouri drivers are required to have at least $25,000 in liability coverage to cover any injuries they may cause in a car accident. Unfortunately, there are times when people allow their insurance to lapse or just outright do not carry automobile insurance.
However, Missouri law also requires that every automobile policy in the state has to have $25,000.00 in uninsured motorist benefits. As a result, even if you are injured through no fault of your own in a Missouri car accident and the other driver does not have insurance to cover your injuries, you still have coverage under your own insurance policy that will apply. In some cases, that will be the state minimum of $25,000.00. In other cases, there may be more coverage available if you purchased additional coverage for your policy. Although uninsured coverage is required, most people are advised to carry additional uninsured motorist coverage for these types of scenarios.
Mike Campbell is an inspiration to trial lawyers. I've known Mike for 3 years and as a fellow plaintiffs' lawyer, I have been very impressed by Mike's integrity, honesty and skills as a trial lawyer. Mike is simply a decent, caring and compassionate person and someone I enjoy being around.If you get the chance to hire Mike Campbell, you can be rest assured that you've made an excellent choice.
21:03 22 Mar 18
Mike is an incredible attorney and very helpful. I definitely recommend! I had a great experience and am so thankful for his help.
19:34 06 Mar 18
Mike and his team are great lawyers who fight hard for their clients and obtain great results. I highly recommend them.
00:33 21 Feb 18
Mike is an excellent attorney and my referral source in the Columbia area. If you have the need for a criminal defense lawyer or if you’ve been injured in an accident, don yourself a favor and contact Mike.
22:27 11 Jan 18
I highly recommend Mike as an attorney. He is honest, trustworthy and responsive.
21:15 15 Sep 17
Knowledgeable, eager, dedicated, and friendly are a few words I'd use to describe the experience in working with Mike. Not only is he extremely good at what he does, but Mike is also personable and professional.
22:29 21 Mar 17
Helped me with My traffic case and did a great job. Felt like he really had my best interest in mind. 10/10 would call on Mike Campbell
00:41 22 Jun 16
Very professional. Fantastic at what he does. Will go the extra mile for you when a lot of lawyers won't. If I could rate over 5 stars I would.