Medical Bills After a Car Accident…Who Pays?
If you were involved in a motor vehicle crash caused by someone else and were left with injuries, you might have been transported by ambulance to the emergency department and admitted to the hospital following an examination. Car accidents can happen suddenly and with little warning, and medical bills resulting from them can quickly pile up. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you might receive bills from the ambulance, hospital, various doctors, diagnostic imaging lab, and others who provided treatment to you. If you had to have surgery or were forced to stay in the hospital for a lengthy time, your medical bills could be overwhelming.
Being in this type of situation might leave you with questions about who will be responsible for paying your medical bills. You might believe that the other motorist’s insurance company will automatically pay your bills when the other driver caused your accident. However, that is not how it works in Pennsylvania. Medical care for car accident injuries can be expensive, leading some people to bankruptcy if they do not have proper legal representation and coverage. Here is what you need to know about who will pay for your medical bills because of accident-related injuries from the Philadelphia car accident attorneys at Raynes & Lawn.
Pennsylvania Car Accident Statistics
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) releases crash statistics each year. In 2020, the most recent year for which data is available, PennDOT reports that 104,475 traffic accidents were reported to the police. These accidents resulted in injuries to 61,248 people and caused the deaths of 1,129. Pennsylvania car accidents happen every day, and as the statistics demonstrate, many people are injured in collisions. The estimated losses someone suffers in a Pennsylvania car accident can exceed $300,000, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more. If your accident left you with a permanent disability, your total losses might exceed more than $1 million. It can be overwhelming to deal with the aftermath of a serious car accident. Here is how some of your medical bills might be paid.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance
Pennsylvania has a no-fault system for car accidents. This means that no matter who caused your accident, you will file your initial claim with your insurance company. All motorists in Pennsylvania are required to carry a type of insurance called Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This coverage is available to pay for your initial medical bills. Unfortunately, however, PIP coverage is limited, so it likely won’t be sufficient to cover the costs involved with serious injuries. This is a good reason why you should seek help from a car accident lawyer in Philadelphia.
PIP coverage helps to cover your initial medical bills when you have been injured in a car accident. It will cover your initial medical expenses even if you were at fault. The minimum PIP coverage Pennsylvanians are required to carry includes the following amounts:
- $5,000 of medical benefits
- $15,000 of bodily injury coverage per person
- $5,000 of property damage coverage
While motorists have the option of purchasing higher coverage amounts, many only carry PIP coverage that has the minimum coverage required by the state. PIP insurance is intended to pay for your accident-related medical bills through your insurance policy without waiting for fault to be determined in your car accident claim. PIP pays much faster than auto accident lawsuits.
Limited PIP insurance doesn’t provide coverage for lost earnings capacity, disability, or other types of pain and suffering damages. For these types of losses, you might be able to pursue a lawsuit against the other driver’s insurance company if the other driver caused your accident. You can learn about whether you have a viable claim by speaking to a Philadelphia car accident attorney at Raynes & Lawn.
Limited vs. Full Tort PIP Coverage
You can either purchase limited or full tort PIP coverage. Limited tort coverage is cheaper and comes with lower premiums. However, it limits what you can recover in damages following an accident. For example, you won’t be able to recover compensation for your non-economic losses with limited-tort coverage.
Choosing limited tort PIP coverage can help you to save money on your insurance premiums. However, you won’t be able to recover compensation for all of your losses. You can recover money to pay for your out-of-pocket medical costs up to your PIP limits. You can then file a claim against the at-fault driver for your other losses.
The second option, full-tort PIP insurance, allows you to file a claim with your insurance company that includes compensation for your pain and suffering. This type of coverage has a higher premium but offers more protection.
PIP coverage is not available in all types of accidents. For example, you won’t be able to use PIP insurance for accidents involving motorcycles or commercial vehicles.
Other Party’s Insurance
If the other driver was at fault in your collision, their insurance company might ultimately be responsible for paying your medical expenses. However, it won’t pay until your claim is resolved through a settlement or jury verdict. In the meantime, you will need to use a different source of medical coverage, including your employer-sponsored health coverage, Medicare, or Medicaid.
After your claim is resolved, the company that paid for your medical expenses will likely seek reimbursement for the medical bills it paid for you while your case was pending through a process called subrogation. A car accident lawyer in Philadelphia at our law firm can negotiate with your medical insurance company to try to allow you to keep as much of your settlement or verdict award as possible.
Consult a Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a car accident in Pennsylvania, you might be contending with rapidly mounting medical bills combined with other losses. If the other motorist caused your collision, you might be able to pursue compensation through a negligence lawsuit. Contact Raynes & Lawn today to request a free case evaluation at 1-800-535-1797.
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