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Will car insurance policy cover accident while my arm was in a sling?


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Question: I've just had surgery on my left shoulder. I'm right-handed, and my car is NOT a standard shift (it's an automatic). My left arm has to be supported in an arm sling. Will my insurance company cover me if I have an accident driving with my left arm immobilized in an arm sling?

Answer: Typically your car insurance company will cover you, according to the language and limits of your car insurance policy, even if you are driving with your arm in a sling.

If your arm being immobilized had no bearing on the accident, then it’s unlikely it would even matter to the car insurance company that it was in a sling. For instance, if you were stopped at a red light and a person rear-ended you, then this accident would have occurred whether or not your arm was in a sling.

If, however, the accident was caused in part by your inability to use your left arm, then it could be become an issue for your car insurance company. It's possible that your insurance company could say you were not taking due care in operating a car in your condition.

If you were given instructions from your doctor not to drive or were on medication that stated not to operate machinery, then it's possible you could be found negligent by your car insurance company. That doesn’t necessarily mean they won't cover the accident, but it does means your rates would likely go up due to the accident and the associated claims.

Car insurance policies normally will pay for damages you cause to others when you are found at-fault and are charged with driving while impaired or with negligent driving. Your insurer, however, may be able to deny claims for any injuries you sustained unless you are in a no-fault state.

Without knowing the specifics of your car insurance policy, we cannot say for certain if you will be covered when driving with you left arm in a sling.

We can tell you that if you are in an accident with your arm in a sling, your insurer will look into any medical restrictions you had to make sure you were fully capable of driving at the time of the incident. State laws and insurance policy guidelines will then dictate how claims are paid.

It is best to protect yourself and be safe while healing. If you don’t feel comfortable driving or cannot maneuver your vehicle properly, then even if the doctor says it’s OK to drive, you should consider having someone else drive you around until your arm heals.

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