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Can I Make A Claim For Future Medical Expenses?

Published on Mar 29, 2016 at 2:03 pm in Car Insurance, Car Wrecks, Consumer Awareness.

Under Arkansas law, an injured person can recover “[t]he reasonable expense of any necessary medical care, treatment and services received . . . and the present value of such expense reasonably certain to be required in the future.”  AMI 2204.  This means if an injured person has received $100 in medical treatment, then they can present  $100 in medical treatment  to the jury if the charges for the treatment were reasonable.  However, if the injured person claims $100 in medical treatment and $1,000 in future medical treatment, then they can present the $1,000 in future medical treatment only if the future charges are “reasonably certain” to be incurred.  What “reasonably certain” means has been discussed at length by Arkansas courts.   Usually, testimony from  a treating doctor on the seriousness of the injury and the need for future medical treatment will be enough to allow future medical expenses to be submitted to the jury.

Check Your Insurance Policy To See If You Have Medpay Coverage.

Published on Mar 25, 2016 at 1:58 pm in Car Insurance, Car Wrecks.

When I’m speaking with someone about a car wreck they’ve been injured in, one of my first questions is “do you have medpay coverage.”  The usual response is something like “you don’t understand, I wasn’t at fault for the wreck so shouldn’t we be going after the at-fault driver’s insurance?”  When handling an auto crash case, I will definitely pursue the at fault driver’s insurance but an initial concern is making sure the outstanding medical bills are paid.  The quickest, easiest way to pay the outstanding medical bills is through the injured person’s medpay coverage.  Medpay (short for medical payments coverage) is a required first party coverage in Arkansas.  That means every auto policy in Arkansas has a minimum $5,000 in medpay coverage UNLESS the insured signed a written rejection of medpay coverage.  Medpay is a no-fault coverage meaning your insurance carrier will pay your medical expenses, up to the coverage limits, regardless of fault.

Another great thing about medpay coverage is it’s affordability.  I looked at my auto policy this morning and I pay less than $6 per month for $25,000 of medical payments coverage.  While insurance rates vary based on driving record, age, and vehicle, I’ve never had a client tell me they didn’t have medpay coverage because they couldn’t afford it.

Please check your auto insurance policy today.  If you don’t have medpay coverage, get it.


What Is Gap Insurance?

Published on Mar 21, 2016 at 1:57 pm in Car Insurance, Car Wrecks, Consumer Awareness.

I often receive phone calls about liability insurance carriers not wanting to pay for all of the debt associated with a motor vehicle that has been totaled.  According to Arkansas’s jury instructions, the liability insurance carrier must only pay the difference in fair market value immediately before and immediately after the wreck.  See AMI 2210.  Fair market value is defined as “the price the [motor vehicle] would bring on the open market in a sale between a seller who is willing to sell and a buyer who is willing and able to buy after a reasonable opportunity for negotiations.”  See AMI 2221.  The amount the vehicle owner owes is irrelevant to the market value of the vehicle.

If your vehicle is totaled, you owe $10,000 on the vehicle, and the fair market value of the vehicle is $8,000, then you are upside down $2,000.  Stated differently, there is a gap of $2,000.  This is where good gap insurance coverage comes in handy.  A well written gap insurance policy will cover the $2,000 you are upside down on the vehicle.  As with most types of insurance coverage, there are good policies and bad policies.  When purchasing gap insurance, you must read the fine print to determine whether you are paying for a policy that covers the outstanding debt on the vehicle or only the fair market value.  As discussed in the first paragraph, the liability insurance carrier is required to pay the fair market value of the vehicle so gap insurance that only covers the fair market value is of limited benefit to the consumer.  For more information on how gap insurance works and the type of policy you need, check out the following link from the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office: https://arkansasag.gov/programs/consumer-protection/my-vehicle/gap-insurance

What Is A Contingency Fee?

Published on Feb 24, 2016 at 3:29 pm in 18-Wheeler wreck, Brain Injuries, Car Insurance, Car Wrecks, Consumer Awareness, Wrongful Death.

A contingency fee is a fee charged by an attorney to a client contingent upon the outcome of the matter.  Contingent fees in personal injury and wrongful death cases are allowed in Arkansas if the agreement is in writing and states the method for computing the fee, including the percentage of the fee and how costs will be handled.  See Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct 1.5(c).

McMath Woods has served injured Arkansans since 1953.  Over the past sixty-three years, we’ve handled many personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingent basis.  If you or a loved one has been injured and you need to hire an Arkansas lawyer on a contingency fee, please feel free to give us a call at McMath Woods.  

McMath Woods Encourages All Arkansas Drivers to Have Personal Injury Protection Benefits

Published on Feb 11, 2016 at 4:52 pm in Car Insurance, Car Wrecks, Consumer Awareness.

Arkansas Code Annotated 23-89-202 requires all automobile liability insurance policies in Arkansas to have $5,000 in medical payments benefits, commonly referred to as medpay, up to $7,280 in income disability benefits, and $5,000 in accidental death benefits.  When these benefits are combined on an insurance policy, they are commonly referred to as personal injury protection or PIP.

Although PIP benefits are required by Arkansas law, Arkansas drivers can reject them by doing so in writing when they purchase their policy of insurance.  See Ark. Code Ann. 23-89-203.

McMath Woods encourages all Arkansas drivers to purchase PIP benefits.  PIP benefits make up a small fraction of the cost of most auto insurance policies and the benefits apply to injuries from car wrecks regardless of fault.  PIP benefits can greatly help if you or your loved ones are injured in a motor vehicle collision.

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