In Louisiana, a motorist must retain auto insurance coverage in a minimum amount of $15,000. This is called mandatory insurance, and it must include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Mandatory Insurance in Louisiana requires a minimum policy of 15-30-25.
This means that in a claim involving multiple parties, there would be available coverage in the amount of $30,000, not to be exceeded.
For each individual, there would be available coverage in the amount of $15,000, not to be exceeded.
Finally, the property damage portion of the policy must be in the amount of $25,000 minimum.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is automatic and mandatory unless a person specifically signs a UM Selection/Rejection form. If this option is chosen, the form must be approved by the insurance policy commissioner.
These forms exist because insurance companies have an obligation to prove that they have provided multiple options and the insured has made a knowledgeable decision about their coverage
When deciding how to complete your UM Selection/Rejection form, you have three options:
First, You may choose to reject UM coverage wholly.
Second, You may choose to select Economic-Only UM coverage. This would include UM coverage that only applied to damages such as medical expenses or lost wages incurred due to injuries. This option does not provide you with coverage for general damages, such as pain and suffering.
Many people who choose Economic-Only UM coverage may do so with the impression that they are buying a worthwhile product for a lesser rate. Economic-Only UM coverage options are usually less expensive than full UM coverage. However, it may not be as valuable as it seems. If you are curious about whether this option may be a good fit for you, it may be helpful to speak with a Personal Injury attorney about your unique circumstances.
Third, You may select UM coverage at a lower rate. This will provide you with UM coverage at a lower limit than your liability policy. This will typically not come into play for people purchasing minimum coverage.
However, people with greater liability policies may choose a lower rate of UM coverage to find a less-expensive policy option. For example, a person with a $100,000 liability policy may decide to select a rate of UM coverage in the amount of $25,000 or lower.
These three selections on a UM Selection/Rejection form will need to be initial and signed, with a policy number identified. If a new policy is issued (not renewed), a new UM Selection/Rejection form will need to be completed for each new policy.
What Options Do I Have For Financial Recovery To Pay My Medical Bills, Cover Lost Wages And Get My Vehicle Repaired If I’m Struck And Injured By An Uninsured Or Underinsured Motorist In Louisiana?
The options for financial recovery in Uninsured Motorist accidents are, in some ways, dependent on the policies and coverage that you have in place.
Many auto insurance policies have a MedPay provision in Louisiana which covers $1,000 – $5,000 in medical expenses when you are not at fault.
Those who do not have private health insurance may have options available via their attorney. For example, if you have Uninsured Motorist coverage and MedPay benefits, but your medical bills exceed the amount provided by MedPay, your attorney may pay your medical bills during the pendency of your claim.
Often, plaintiff attorneys in these cases will pay for the medical expenses of their clients throughout the process of a claim’s pendency with a contractual agreement to be reimbursed at settlement or after judgment. However, this is not always possible, so it is essential to speak with your attorney to ascertain if it is a good fit for your situation.
If you have private health insurance, your insurance will cover medical bills from an Uninsured Motorist accident. These private healthcare carriers hold reimbursement claims in their contracts. They include language which gives them subrogation rights to find reimbursement from an at-fault third party to reimburse themselves for the expenses of your claim. The insurance company may also “piggyback” off of your claim with the at-fault party and recover expenses from the amount you are paid in damages.
Louisiana laws regarding the Collateral Source Rule have recently changed under the insurance industry’s lobbying efforts, primarily the auto insurance industry.
Under Collateral Source Rule, you may consider the following example:
Injured Party A has private health insurance and is hit by Injured Party B, who has no private health insurance. Injured Party A has an MRI that costs $1,200 and is paid for by their insurance. Their insurer has a contract with the MRI provider, which results in the MRI cost being dropped to $350.
Injured Party B needs an MRI as well. However, because they have no private health insurance, their MRI costs the total $1,200, and there is no discount available to them.
Historically, the court has determined that they will not penalize people for having private health insurance.
What does this mean for situations similar to those of our example? When Injured Party A sues Injured Party B and their auto insurance carrier, they would be eligible to receive damages in the full amount of the $1,200 MRI. In this case, Injured Party A’s private insurance carrier would be entitled to reimbursement for the $350 that they paid to the provider, and Injured Party A would be able to keep the $850 difference.
The legislation in Louisiana that went into effect this year now leaves it to the court to decide what percentage of the remaining difference would be available for Injured Party A to retain. This may result in Injured Party A only being eligible to keep 40% of the remaining difference from the MRI cost.
This recent change to legislation is only one part of the many options you may consider when attempting to recover damages from an accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist.
For more information on Auto Accident Cases In Louisiana, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (337) 289-0626 today.
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