Medical expenses after a car crash or personal injury can be extremely costly.
In Tennessee, the medical bill for an emergency room visit averages $1,883.00. In Kentucky, the average medical cost of an ER visit is $1,740.00. This is just the cost of an ER visit, not including medical expenses resulting from ambulance rides (which are typically not covered by health insurance) and follow-up medical treatment, such as physical therapy. Understanding how to pay for the cost of medical treatment prior to a personal injury settlement is very important, because if mishandled you could be stuck with thousands in unpaid medical bills, especially if surgery is required.
Generally, in a personal injury case, like a car accident, the injured person is responsible for paying medical costs regardless of fault. Even if the person that injured you is clearly the at-fault party that caused your injuries, personal injury law does not require the at-fault party to immediately pay for ongoing medical care. When a personal injury settlement is reached or a personal injury lawsuit is resolved, then the at-fault party’s insurer will pay for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering. But a personal injury case can take 6-12 months or more to resolve depending on the type of injuries and medical treatment involved. Until your personal injury claim is resolved, it is generally your responsibility to pay for medical care.
However, in no-fault states like Kentucky, or auto accidents involving medical payments (“MedPay”) insurance coverage, there is car insurance for your medical expenses. The no-fault state of Kentucky requires auto insurance companies to write car insurance policies with at least $10,000 in no-fault auto insurance coverage, otherwise known as personal injury protection (“PIP”). $10,000 in PIP insurance coverage is mandatory for all drivers in Kentucky, except motorcyclists, though you can typically purchase policy limits up to $50,000 from your auto insurance company. Our law firm of experienced personal injury attorneys recommend purchasing the Kentucky state minimum of $10,000 in PIP insurance coverage. Once you purchase the state minimum of $10,000, rather than purchasing additional PIP, our law firm’s personal injury attorneys suggest purchasing more underinsured motorist coverage (“UIM”) instead. UIM provides you with added no-fault insurance coverage for any personal injury claims. To learn more about UIM coverage, please visit our article on Protecting Against the Underinsured, or schedule a free consultation with our law firm.
PIP will pay for medical treatment when a car accident results in injuries to the auto insurance policyholder or other drivers listed on the auto insurance policy. In addition to medical expenses, PIP will also cover lost wages resulting from a car accident up to the $10,000 policy limits, or more if higher insurance policy limits were purchased. One of the benefits of hiring an experienced personal injury law firm is that we take care of these things for you. If we know that a client suffered a serious injury from a car accident and will miss work in the future due to this injury, our law firm will send a PIP application to the client’s auto insurance company and reserve an amount of PIP for the client’s lost wages. That way, healthcare providers and health insurance companies cannot seek reimbursement for what is reserved, leaving you stuck with lost wages until your personal injury claim is fully resolved. If you already have enough UIM coverage, you may consider purchasing additional PIP to cover a lengthy lost wage claim resulting from serious injury. Only PIP will cover lost wages, not UIM or MedPay.
Although PIP is not attainable in Tennessee, another type of no-fault auto insurance coverage, known as MedPay, is available. Unlike mandatory PIP in no-fault states such as Kentucky, auto insurance companies are not required to include MedPay coverage on your auto insurance policy. Whether to purchase MedPay on your auto insurance policy–and how much–is entirely your choice. As experienced personal injury lawyers, our law firm recommends having at least $5,000 in MedPay coverage, and more if you can afford the added MedPay coverage. When deciding whether you need MedPay coverage, keep in mind that MedPay and health insurance are not mutually exclusive. MedPay can function as a safety net if your health insurance plan limit is exceeded or you receive charges that your health insurance does not cover, including an ambulance ride or chiropractic care. MedPay coverage can also be used to cover health insurance deductibles or copays incurred for medical treatment resulting from a car accident, regardless of fault. Unlike health insurance, MedPay does not require the insurance policyholder to pay any deductibles or copays. And MedPay is fairly inexpensive, often costing less than $10.00 per month. Overall, the benefits of having sufficient insurance coverage far outweigh the costs. Insufficient auto insurance and health insurance coverage could leave you stuck owing thousands in medical bills to a multitude of providers.
Similar to PIP, MedPay is a no-fault type of insurance coverage, meaning that MedPay can be used after any car accident, regardless of fault. MedPay coverage also applies if the auto insurance policyholder, or a driver named on the auto insurance policy, is hit by a vehicle while cycling, walking or riding public transit. However, MedPay does not provide as much insurance coverage as PIP because MedPay does not cover lost wages like PIP. If you are unsure about the type of insurance coverage you purchased, please set up a free consultation so that our experienced personal injury attorneys can answer any questions that you have. During this free consultation, we will provide you with legal advice on your personal injury case and property damage claim, including a free case evaluation.
If you do not have PIP or MedPay coverage, then you must rely solely on personal health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid to pay for your medical bills as they come due. If employed, you may have health insurance coverage through your employer. When a person is injured in a work related accident, workers’ compensation pays for medical care. Workers’ compensation will also pay for a percentage of lost wages, typically 2/3 of base pay. As medical providers submit bills to health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or workers’ compensation, a medical lien attaches to your personal injury claim. At that point, your personal injury case enters subrogation, meaning that the health insurance company, Medicare or Medicaid will seek reimbursement of the medical expenses paid on behalf of the injured person. The benefit of hiring our law firm of experienced personal injury attorneys is that we do a thorough job ensuring all of your medical liens are satisfied. Our law firm and experienced personal injury attorneys negotiate with auto insurance adjusters to settle personal injury claims with auto insurance companies for full value. We also negotiate with health insurance providers, medical providers, Medicare, Medicaid, and workers’ compensation to reduce the amount of reimbursement they are claiming through subrogation. Our law firm’s goal is to protect the settlement compensation you receive from the at-fault insurance coverage of the at-fault driver, or no-fault insurance coverage, such as UIM coverage.
Our law firm cares deeply about the attorney-client relationship. We communicate every stage of a personal injury case to our clients using our mobile application. Please contact our law firm if you have any questions. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are happy to provide a free consultation, answer any questions, and fully evaluate your personal injury claim.RedStone Team