As a personal injury attorney, I’m always telling injured clients what to do after they have been in an accident. But there are also some very important things that everyone can do before they are in an accident to better protect themselves and their loved ones.
1. Get good auto insurance: In Arizona, the law only requires drivers to purchase $15,000 in auto liability insurance coverage. This amount will barely cover one ambulance ride to the hospital. It is not enough to cover ongoing medical care from a serious injury. Moreover, there are many drivers on the road, who break the law and have no coverage at all.
Thus, to protect yourself and your loved ones, purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Carefully consider your budget and purchase as much coverage as you can afford. (I’d recommend at least $100,000 if feasible)
You may also want to consider purchasing coverage known as Med Pay or PIP. This type of coverage is relatively inexpensive, and when you are in an auto accident, this coverage pays your medical bills directly – regardless of who is at fault. You’ll be able to use this money towards deductibles and co-pays, easing your immediate financial burden. And then, if you get a settlement down the road, the settlement money can go towards your pocket, instead of towards outstanding medical bills.
2. Get health insurance: Spending money on health insurance now can protect you from severe financial hardship after an injury. Getting a fair settlement from an auto insurance company can take a long time, and many medical providers will not wait to be paid. Sometimes, it is even hard to find doctors (especially specialists) who are willing to see you without insurance.
If you can’t afford private insurance, find out if you qualify for a government plan, such as AHCCCS (Arizona’s Medicaid program) or Medicare. If you do, sign up for it now. Don’t wait until you are already hurting from an accident injury.
3. Get a good primary care physician: Find a good primary care physician (PCP) now, before you are injured. Thus, when you do get in an accident, you’ll be able to seek care immediately from a doctor you trust. And you’ll be treated by a doctor who knows your medical history and knows you.
A good PCP will also help you take care of other outstanding medical issues now. So, when you are in an accident, those other medical issues won’t hamper your recovery from any accident-related injuries.