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Who pays for medical bills after a car accident in Pennsylvania?

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Lee Anthony Ciccarelli - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Lee Anthony Ciccarelli

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You may be thinking who will pay for your medical bills after you have been injured in a car accident.  The costs of medical treatment is very high and can bankrupt a family if they are not properly covered and represented.  Learn more about your rights and the benefits of retaining an experienced Pennsylvania car accident lawyer when you or a family member have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania. 

Seek the best advice on medical injuries and medical bill payment

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there are over 350 traffic accidents and about 200 injury accidents on state roads every day. If you were hurt in a car accident, you are probably facing medical bills, lost time at work, lost wages, physical therapy and a lot of uncertainties on how you will pay those bills.

According to PennDOT, when someone is hurt in a car accident, the estimated cost (which includes lost wages, loss of production, administrative and medical expenses, and vehicle loss or repairs) can be over $300,000. If someone is disabled, that cost can be over $1 million. Dealing with the aftermath of a serous car accident can be overwhelming.

a no-fault state

Pennsylvania is a no-fault state. That means that regardless of who is at fault, your own insurance covers the initial medical bills associated with your medical treatment.  This is commonly referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage in your insurance policy that will pay for your medical bills. However, PIP coverage is limited, and if you suffered a serious injury in a car accident, PIP will probably not be enough to cover everything.  It is another reason why consulting with an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer makes sense and why so many injured clients think it is a smart decision. 

PIP does not cover pain and suffering, disability or lost earnings capacity. For those expenses, you might be able to recover your losses from the other driver’s insurance company if you can prove that driver was at fault. It is best to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney who understands the state’s laws.

Limited Tort Vs. Full Tort Coverage

The state allows for two insurance options as part of its PIP coverage: limited torts and full torts:

  • Limited tort coverage

This allows drivers to save money on their premiums. While the premiums are smaller, limited tort coverage limits what you can recover after an accident. For example, it limits your ability to collect noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment in life. It does allow you to recover out-of-pocket medical expenses and losses from the negligent driver. It is very important to know that there are exceptions to limited tort that can allow you to make a pain and suffering claim even if you have elected the limited tort option.  Your best option to contact an experienced attorney to discuss your rights and options. 

  • Full tort coverage

This allows you to file a claim that includes collecting for pain and suffering, and other losses. There will be a higher premium for this coverage, but it provides more protection.

No-fault rules do not apply in all accidents. For example, “no fault” does not apply in accidents involving commercial vehicles or motorcycles. For this reason, it’s important to discuss your accident case with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine your options.

It is important to understand that the insurance company of the at-fault party will not pay your medical bills or any other expenses until your case is resolved either through settlement or a verdict. Until your case is resolved, you will need to find another source of medical coverage such as an employer-sponsored health plan, Medicaid or Medicare.

Once your case is resolved, the insurance company that covered your medical expenses is likely to ask you to repay the medical expenses it paid while you were waiting for the money. This is called subrogation. An experienced attorney can negotiate with your insurance company to help you keep as much of the settlement or award as possible.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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