How Do I Pay My Medical Bills After A Car Crash?
One of the last things you want to worry about after a wreck is medical expenses. In Kentucky we have Basic Reparations Benefits available to injured persons. This type of insurance is often called “No Fault,” but Personal Injury Protection or “PIP” is a clearer description.
First Party Coverage
PIP is available to persons injured in a car crash. This coverage normally provides $10,000.00 in medical expenses and/or lost wages (topic of another post). Persons in either vehicle during a crash get this coverage. For example, if you rear end someone you get PIP. If you are the one that is rear ended you get PIP.
Kentucky Assigned Claims
There is also something called Kentucky Assigned Claims which is default PIP in case you are in a car with no insurance; you don’t have personal insurance; and you didn’t know the car you were traveling in was uninsured.
Use Your Own Insurance
To utilize (use) PIP you set up a claim with YOUR OWN insurance carrier. I hear from people that they don’t want to use their own insurance because it will cause their rates to go up. To this there is a Kentucky statute that mandates your own insurance company is not allowed to raise your rates IF you are not at fault nor contributorily negligent in a crash. I note here that your insurance company will go after the at fault carrier later down the line.
Will My Rates Rise
This means that if you are rear ended your own insurance company is prohibited from raising your rates. If you are the one that does the rear ending your insurance company is going to raise your rates. Might as well use benefits you have already paid for at this point to help pay medical expenses in my opinion.
Let A Lawyer Set Up The Claim
Good personal injury lawyers set up the PIP claim with their client’s carrier (insurance company). They do this because it is important to manage your PIP. For example, let’s say you are rear ended and have a $8,000.00 hospital bill. The PIP carrier will pay the $8,000.00 bill and leave you with only $2,000.00 in remaining benefits if they can. The smart thing to do in this situation is RESERVE PIP and put the hospital bill through health insurance. When you do this a $8,000.00 bill becomes a $2,000.00 bill leaving you with an additional $8,000.00 for treatment instead of $2,000.00 if you do not reserve PIP.
Dealing With Hospital Bills and Health Insurance
My office puts hospitals on notice that they must bill health insurance. We also instruct PIP carriers that hospital bills must be paid by health insurance. It is important to do this because not everyone that treats injured people after a car crash is set up to bill health insurance. Physical therapist, chiropractors, neurologists, and other medical professionals sometimes only work with car crash victims and are not set up to bill health insurance. In my estimation this happens because not all medical providers are as big as say Norton. That outfit can negotiate rates with health insurance. The smaller practice that does really good work doesn’t have the size (to negotiate rates).
Bills over $10,000.00 In PIP
Thus far we have been speaking of bills below $10,000.00. If your bills are over that amount than your personal injury lawyer should be negotiating a settlement that allows the payment of bills and/or setting up the case for trial to ask a jury for help paying the bills (along with pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of future income, etc.) The lawyer is also tasked with negotiating any bills if necessary.
Example And Bodily Injury Coverage
Let’s pretend you have $15,000.00 in total medical expenses. PIP pays $10,000.00 leaving $5,000.00 in outstanding medical bills. Your lawyer should not just stick you with those medical bills. You can get sued or your credit can be altered. The lawyer has the ability to negotiate the medical expenses with the providers/lien holders. Say there is a real problem with your case and the value is another $12,000.00. In that circumstance it might make sense for the lawyer to contact providers with outstanding bills and ask for help in reductions to get more money in your pocket. This happens when there is a limited sum of money available. If there is $100,000.00 on the table from the other side and a $5,000.00 outstanding bill the medical provider isn’t going to reduce the bill. Everything is relative to the settlement.
Don’t Leave Me With Outstanding Bills
A good lawyer also calls up all of the medical providers to make sure bills are paid and there are no outstanding balances before resolving a crash case. This assumes you told the lawyer of all medical providers!
How A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
The long and short is that your personal injury lawyer should help you account for all the medical expenses, pay what can be paid by PIP, and then get a settlement that helps pay the rest of the medical expenses.
Other PIP Information
Other things to know about PIP:
A pedestrian hit on the street gets PIP through the vehicle that hit him/her.
A motorcycle or vehicle under 49cc’s gets PIP through the vehicle that hit him/her.
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