Confusion and worry over medical bills, especially if high cost surgeries are involved, is one of the biggest reasons folks call an attorney after the initial shock of an auto accident has subsided. It’s important to recognize that accident-related medical bills may be partially or fully covered by a few different sources.
The first place to seek coverage is through your own auto insurance provider in the form of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Med Pay.
In Washington State, PIP (which is similar to Med Pay in Idaho) is presumed to be a part of every auto insurance policy, unless you signed a rejection of such coverage. If you have PIP as a part of your auto insurance, this coverage will pay the full cost of your medical bills (i.e. no deductibles, co-pays, etc.) up to your coverage limit. The most common coverage limit for PIP is $10,000. PIP might also cover some lost wages, loss of services (household chores) and funeral expenses.
The next option if you have no PIP, or if your PIP “runs out”, is your own health insurance. Keep in mind that coverage by your health insurer for any accident-related medical treatment is still subject to the plan’s deductible, co-payment, and out-of-pocket max requirements. Additionally, your health insurer might require verification that you don’t have PIP as a part of your auto policy, or a “PIP Exhaust Letter” to show all of your PIP coverage has already been paid out. Once they have that verification, your health insurance should start paying your accident-related medical bills if they haven’t already.
Remember that whoever does pay/cover your medical bills (PIP or health insurance) also has a reimbursement and/or subrogation right to any possible settlement or recovery that you have or receive. If the insurer’s rights in this regard are not protected, they can deny coverage and seek reimbursement from you personally. It is also important to make sure that your medical bills don’t remain unpaid and/or sent to collections. An experienced injury attorney should be able to assist with both of these possible issues.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should be focused on getting your health back, not stressing over medical bills, lost time at work and who should be paying what. Call Cooney Law Offices and let our experienced injury attorneys guide you through the legal process to maximize your financial recovery. Cooney Law Offices. We can help!