Personal injury claims are fairly complicated, and when a military service member is involved in a collision, the situation becomes even more complex. The nature of a military service member’s work, the unexpected travel requirements, and the type of medical care they receive can all impact the outcome of a claim.
If you’re involved in a car accident as a military service member, it’s important to know your rights and how you can get the support you need. To talk about your case more, call Peake & Fowler at 803-998-2412.
Legal Protections and Rights for Military Personnel in Crashes
Car accidents involving service members can get very complicated very quickly. To start, there are often jurisdictional issues. The military service member may be stationed in a state or country other than where they consider home. Should they be transferred before they are able to seek compensation or respond to a lawsuit, that can cause issues. Traveling back and forth for a lawsuit becomes expensive very quickly. If this happens, the military often steps in to set work with local authorities and try to come up with a resolution.
What happens if a service member gets deployed while they are seeking compensation or someone is pursuing a claim against them? The statute of limitations can obviously run out while they are still overseas. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act can come into play here. The SCRA allows active-duty service members to suspend civil legal issues while they are serving. This extends beyond civil lawsuits to divorce and other non-criminal matters. While they will still need to handle the claim upon their return, it can give them some breathing room while they are serving their country.
It’s important to know whether or not a car accident must be reported to your chain of command. Service members are generally required to report any charges to their chain of command which often includes accidents that cause severe or fatal injuries. It definitely includes crashes caused by impairment. If a service member causes a crash while deployed abroad, note that this can affect how the military is viewed by locals. For that reason, crashes involving deployed service members must be reported.
Military Insurance and Compensation
Military service members receive a number of benefits because of their status. TriCare, the health insurance provided by the military, covers the vast majority of medical expenses. However, this does not mean that you are not entitled to compensation for your medical care. In fact, should you be successful in a claim against a liable party, TriCare will claw back what was spent on your care.
People involved in accidents often worry about their insurance rates increasing, even if they are not the at-fault party. Military personnel often have access to specialized car insurance, such as the plans offered through the USAA. Personnel can use the resources provided by their insurance provider to assist with accident claims.
Support Available for Military Personnel
Car accidents can be stressful for everyone involved, but the stress is often even greater for military service members. In addition to worrying about citations and lawsuits, you may be concerned about how a crash will affect your career. You may want to talk to your chain of command about resources available to you.
Military OneSource is another resource provided to service members. They provide resources, legal assistance, and other services. They are often considered the first line of defense when a service member runs into issues.
Consider asking Military OneSource about mental health support if you are struggling to recover from a crash. It can be difficult to move on mentally after a collision, but with your military healthcare benefits, you may be able to tap into counseling and other forms of support.
Take the First Step in Your Accident Claim with Peake & Fowler
Whether you are a military service member looking for assistance after a collision or you were hit by a service member, it’s crucial to explore your legal options and get the claim process started. To talk about your case more and understand how a driver’s military status can affect a claim, reach out to us online or call us at 803-998-2412.