Many drivers that are involved in auto accidents have no medical insurance. As a result, they are often unable to get necessary medical treatment for their injuries. This is especially frustrating when the accident was caused by the negligence of the other driver. As with many insurance issues, the injured driver‘s rights can be somewhat confusing.
The issue comes up in frequently in auto accidents in New Mexico. Many times, the other party has no insurance or has very little insurance. However, the issue comes up just as often when the other driver does have auto insurance. In fact, this situation is even more frustrating when the other driver has insurance but the insurance company refuses to advance medical expenses despite their insured driver‘s clear liability for all injuries and recoverable damages including medical expenses suffered as a result of the accident.
Unfortunately, this is the case more often than not. The insurance company for the negligent driver has no duty to advance medical expenses for the innocent driver‘s injuries. The insurance company has a duty only to its own insured. As a result of the absence of any duty to the injured driver, insurance companies routinely refuse to advance medical expenses. In fact, it is rare that an insurance company would advance medical expenses to an injured driver other than its own policy holder.
New Mexico has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the nation. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is critical since the only coverage an innocent driver is likely to have in an auto accident is his or her own insurance. In addition to UM/UIM coverage, all drivers should carry their own MedPay coverage. MedPay (Medical Payments Coverage) provides coverage for just the situations discussed here.
MedPay provides for the advancement of medical expenses for its insured in case of an accident. MedPay is no-fault insurance so it is immaterial whose fault it is. MedPay allows an insured driver to seek immediate medical attention with the insurance company billed directly by the medical provider. An insured can choose the level of MedPay coverage which typically begins at $5000 limits. This means that $5000 in medical expenses will except in rare circumstances be automatically covered for injuries suffered in an auto accident.
Unfortunately, many New Mexicans have no auto insurance. They are equally likely to have no medical insurance. As a result, MedPay may provide the only possible source of funds for medical treatment following an auto accident. As with UM/UIM coverage, drivers are wise to carry as much MedPay as possible. This is particularly true for those without medical insurance since even minor auto accidents can result in medical expenses that far exceed $5000.
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