Personal Injury Lawyer
Columbus, Ohio

What's the point of no-fault car insurance in a fault state?

auto insurance policy

Ohio is a "fault" state for car accidents, which means the driver who causes an accident (and by extension their insurance company) is primarily responsible for paying for damages. However, Ohio motorists still have the option of purchasing some types of no-fault coverage. This raises a common question for a lot of motorists: “Is no-fault insurance really worth it?” Here’s what you should know.

What is medical payments coverage (MedPay)?

MedPay insurance is an optional form of coverage on your own car insurance policy that can be used to pay for some of your medical expenses if you are injured in a car accident, regardless of who is to blame for your crash. Specifically, MedPay can pay for all of the following, up to the policy limit:

  • Ambulance fees
  • Hospital stays
  • Doctor visits
  • Diagnostic tests such as x-rays (and other tests)
  • Surgery
  • Follow-up care such as physical therapy

If you've ever owned a car in another state, you may be familiar with another type of no-fault insurance called personal injury protection (PIP). PIP covers medical expenses in the same manner as MedPay along with some coverage for lost wages and other costs - but it's not available in Ohio.

Do I need MedPay coverage if I have health insurance?

Purchasing MedPay coverage may seem unnecessary if you already have health insurance, but if you get hurt in a car accident and need your medical expenses paid promptly, MedPay coverage can help fill the coverage gap between your health and auto insurance. Health insurance companies are often reluctant to pay for medical treatment for a car accident, and even if they will pay, you typically need to cover co-payments and deductibles. With MedPay, your medical expenses are fully covered until your policy limit is reached, with no deductibles, co-pays, or other out-of-pocket expenses.

What happens when I get compensation from the at-fault driver?

In general, if you're injured in a car accident caused by someone else, the at-fault driver's insurance company will not pay up right away. If you have MedPay, your own insurance company will pay your medical expenses for your initial treatment (again, up to the policy limit) in the interim during negotiations with the other driver's insurance company.

Once you obtain financial compensation from the at-fault driver, your insurance company will want to be reimbursed for the MedPay coverage they paid out - this is called subrogation. In other words, MedPay generally does not increase the total amount of compensation you get for an accident, it just provides some coverage sooner so that your treatment is covered. However, your attorney might be able to negotiate with your insurance company to waive some or all of their subrogation right and put more money in your pocket.

A lawyer can help you maximize the value of your claim

Again, MedPay is optional. Ohio law only requires you to carry liability coverage. However, some drivers choose to purchase additional auto insurance for peace of mind. There is a saying that says you will never wish you had purchased less insurance, and that’s generally true when it comes to MedPay coverage. In the event you get injured in a crash, receiving an appropriate diagnosis and medical care is critical to your recovery – and the last thing you need to worry about is how the cost of that treatment is going to get paid.

While MedPay plays an important role in covering your medical expenses after a car accident, you ultimately need the legal expertise of an experienced attorney on your side to recover fair and full compensation for all your accident-related expenses, including lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs. If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact us today for a free consultation.

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Scott Smith is a lawyer based out of Columbus, Ohio. He works hard to protect the rights of personal injury victims. He has three decades of experience in Central Ohio in cases ranging from car and truck accidents to premises liability.

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