No Fault Coverage in Arkansas
Car insurance can be tricky: with so many policies and types of coverage, it’s hard to know which one is right for you. You can start figuring it out right here, with an introduction to the basics of Arkansas no fault insurance ocverage.
What is No Fault Coverage?
"No fault" coverage in Arkansas refers to insurance coverage for medical payments, disability income, and accidental death benefits available to auto policy holders. The purpose of no fault insurance is to provide benefits to a covered person who has been injured in an auto accident, regardless of who caused the accident.
In Arkansas, this insurance said to "follow the person." This means if you have these benefits on your personal insurance policy, you can use them even if you are injured while driving or riding in someone else's vehicle. In addition, your coverage can apply to persons driving or riding in your vehicle if they don't have this coverage on their own policy. Specifically, Arkansas law states that, if you are in an accident, no fault coverage is available to you, members of your family in the car, the other driver, and anyone else injured in the accident, regardless of fault.
How Can I Get No Fault Coverage in Arkansas?
The three types of no fault coverage are either sold together in a single package called "Personal Injury Protection" or they are offered individually by your insurance carrier. Regardless of how they are sold or what the insurance company calls them, each of these options offers specific minimum benefits. Additional benefits are usually available. You may want to consult an insurance agent on the limits and costs of any additional coverage.
How Much Does a No Fault Policy Cover?
There is a statutory minimum limit of $5,000 per person per accident for medical payments in Arkansas. This means that your insurance company will pay up to $5,000 in reasonable and necessary medical expenses due to an auto accident. Normally you must file the claim within two years from the date of the accident. Medical expenses include:
- Charges for doctors;
- Hospital bills;
- Prescription costs;
- Diagnostic tests; and
- Durable medical equipment.
Funeral expenses are also covered under this coverage.
Accidental death benefits also have a statutory minimum of $5,000 per person per accident. These benefits are payable to the estate of a person who dies within one year of an auto accident due to injuries from that auto accident.
Disability income benefits are designed to assist someone who is unable to work due to injuries received in an accident. However, it is not designed to replace your income. The statutory minimum benefits are $140 per week or 70% of your salary whichever is less.
How Do I File a No Fault Insurance Claim in Arkansas?
In order to make a claim on your "no fault" coverage, you need to notify your insurance agent that you were involved in an accident and that you were injured. Be sure to ask him or her to file a loss report with the claims office. If you have an attorney for the accident, be sure to ask if your medical payments claim will be handled by your lawyer's office. If so, you can cooperate with your attorney by sending him or her everything you receive regarding the accident.
If you do not have an attorney, then you will need to handle your "no fault" claim yourself. After your insurance company has been notified of the claim, you will probably receive a letter from a claims adjuster handling your file. The letter will have the claim number assigned to your file. You should use this number on all correspondence to the insurance company. Also, make sure that all bills are sent to the claims adjuster and not your insurance agent.
Once the company has received a bill and the corresponding record, they have thirty (30) days to make payment or to advise you of the reason for nonpayment. Be sure to respond promptly to any requests for additional information. If your insurance company unreasonably refuses to pay a properly documented and supported medical bill, you have the right to challenge the nonpayment in court.
Figuring out insurance issues on your own can be difficult, and you may find talking to an experienced personal injury attorney in Arkansas can help. For more general information on this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s section on automobile accident law.
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