Question: How do I pay my medical bills after a car accident?
St. George Attorney Answer: Paying medical bills after an auto accident can be a tricky business. The bills will likely get paid by a variety of sources. Each source may have to wait to be paid back until the case is completely resolved.
- The first payer that will kick in with a Utah Car Accident is the PIP coverage on the vehicle you were in when the accident occurred. This coverage will be primary. Most drivers carry PIP coverage of $3,000 per person. That is the state minimum. Some insurance companies will sell up to $100,000 in PIP benefits.
- The second payer will typically be any other PIP policy that is available to stack. For example, if you are a passenger in a friend’s vehicle and the two of you are rear-ended. Your friend’s PIP would kick in first. Let’s say he had $3,000 in coverage, but you had $5,000 on your own auto insurance. Your own policy may allow a supplemental stack or a true stack. A supplemental stack would give you an added $2,000 in the above example, and a true stack would give you an added $5,000 on top of the $3,000 you already got from your friend’s policy.
- Health Insurance will kick in after PIP benefits have been paid. If you have three separate health insurance policies, the first to kick in will typically be the one paid for by your employer, then the one paid for by you, then one paid for by a family member if the policy applies to you. Health insurance is extremely important in these situations and it serves as a great benefit to the injured party. It is important to remember that your PIP benefits do not count toward your health insurance deductible.
- Your own personal funds if you were not insured and are able to pay medical bills as they are incurred. Injured parties will need some cash on hand to navigate through this process, particularly if they do not hire an attorney.
Question: How Do I Get Medical Treatment if I Don't Have Any Money?
St. George Attorney Answer: It is important that you always inform your medical providers that you are seeing them because of injuries related to a car accident. Many doctors, hospitals, chiropractors, etc., will see you on what is called an Attorney Lien. Seeing you on a lien means that your provider will hold out their bill for payment until your case has been resolved. That way, you don’t have them sending you invoices every month. Doctors typically will not see you on a lien unless you have an attorney. This is because they want an experienced attorney to be able to analyze your case and tell them that they can treat you with confidence because they will eventually be paid.
Question: Why won't the insurance company for the person who caused my injuries automatically pay my medical bills as they occur?
St. George Attorney Answer: Simply put, the law does not require them to do this. The law requires that the tortfeasor (the party responsible for your injuries) makes you whole. The insurance company seeks to do this in one lump sum. They want to wait until all of your treatment is complete before they pay a dime. This helps them in many ways. It pinches the injured victims financially and thereby forces them to incur fewer bills than they may have otherwise. It also gives the insurance company an opportunity to analyze your case as a whole so they can attack it better. There are tons of different varieties of pitfalls that injured victims may fall into after an auto accident. In order to get maximum recovery, your recorded medical treatment needs to be nearly flawless. Only an experienced injury attorney can help you ensure that happens.
In summary, if you get to the right doctors, and you have an attorney that gets liens set up, you have good PIP coverage, and health insurance, the months following a car accident may not be so bad after all. However, missing any of those four key ingredients can make getting a fair recovery nearly impossible. If you hire McMullin Injury Law, our focus will be handling all of this nonsense. That way, your focus can be on getting back to optimal health.