When I meet with a client following a car accident, I often find that there is some confusion with regard to who should be paying for their medical care. Many times, clients tell me that they have been submitting their medical bills to their private health insurance carrier. Sometimes clients believe that medical coverage should be provided through the vehicle that hit them because they were responsible for causing the accident. Other times clients tell me that they have yet to seek medical treatment as they do not have private health insurance and they do not know what to do.
What these clients don’t understand is that medical treatment for injuries related to a car accident are actually covered under their car insurance policy. In Pennsylvania, all car insurance policies are required to provide a minimum of $5,000 in first-party medical coverage. This coverage is commonly referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and is provided regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident. Only after this PIP has been exhausted should medical bills be submitted to a private health insurance carrier.
While this may seem like an inconsequential detail, the failure to take full advantage of PIP benefits can have an adverse impact on your recovery. This is because private health insurance companies frequently have a statutory right to be reimbursed for a portion of the payments made for medical treatment arising out of a car accident while PIP providers do not. In other words, if your medical bills are paid by a private health insurance carrier that carrier will likely be able to assert a lien against any proceeds recovered in relation to the car accident. If the medical bills are paid by the your car insurance carrier, there will be no such lien.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a car accident have questions regarding your rights, please contact me for a free consultation here in my Yardley, Pennsylvania office to discuss your questions in more detail.