False Assumption - 8. All my medical bills will be paid

Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007 by Ed Harper

All my medical bills will be paid because someone else is at fault. For an auto accident, the initial insurance you must look to for help in paying for medical treatment is your own automobile insurance. In the State of Washington, we have Personal Injury Protection (also known as PIP) offered with our auto insurance. Provided one is injured in an accident related to a motor vehicle, PIP will assist in providing medical care for an amount that is typically $10,000. Additionally, payment for loss of services (i.e. help with housecleaning, etc.) and wage loss benefits may also apply.

If someone has chosen not to purchase PIP (see my earlier post for more detail on the benefits of PIP!), health insurance can be utilized for payment of the medical bills. If and when a claim against the at-fault driver is settled, you have the obligation to pay back the PIP and/or health insurance company through the contractual provision called subrogation. Subrogation means that an insurance company that paid your bills can expect to be reimbursed for what they have paid out from your personal injury recovery. At Harper Law, we will handle the subrogation reimbursement with your insurance to ensure you receive as much money as possible from your settlement.

If you do not have PIP or health insurance, a health care provider may be willing to take a lien on the personal injury settlement or accept a letter, such as a Promise to Pay, allowing payment at the conclusion of the case. Sometimes a lien or Promise to Pay will be the only means an injured person has in which to obtain the much needed medical care. However, before you sign a lien or Promise to Pay, you must understand that the health care provider will then hold an interest in your personal injury claim; and you are then responsible to see that they are paid in full at the conclusion of your claim.

The third party insurance company (also known as the “at-fault insurance company”) will not provide you with any benefits (except in unusual situations) unless you are willing to sign a full release of liability, preventing you from bringing a claim for your injuries.

Do not sign a release. Let me say it again ~ do not sign a release of liability unless you have consulted with an attorney.

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Harper Law PLLC
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