Pitfalls to Getting Your Hospital Bills Paid After an Automobile Accident
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
One of the toughest challenges facing injury victims of an auto accident is paying for their medical bills. Under Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws, your auto insurance provider pays your medical bills when you make a claim, but navigating the system can be difficult if you do not have auto insurance coverage.
It is crucial to understand the pitfalls of the auto insurance system and what your options are if you need to get your hospital bills paid when you are injured in a car crash.
Not Choosing the Right Auto Insurance Coverage
Med Pay coverage only covers medical expenses if you or a passenger in your vehicle is injured in an accident. In Michigan, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) covers both medical expenses and other losses, such as lost wages and replacement services such as household work you cannot do due to injury.
As of July 1, 2020, you can choose your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical limit in your auto insurance policy. PIP medical coverage includes medical care, rehabilitation, and recovery. The medical limits for PIP include:
- Unlimited coverage
- $500,000 per person per accident
- $250,000 per person per accident. Alternatively, you may choose this option if you, your spouse, or a relative at your home have private health care coverage that is not Medicaid.
- $50,000 per person per accident if you, your spouse, or relative at your home has Medicaid or has another auto insurance policy with PIP medical coverage.
You can also choose no PIP coverage if you have Medicare Parts A and B and your spouse or relative at your home has another auto insurance policy with PIP medical coverage. If you do not select PIP medical coverage, the insurer will issue your policy with unlimited PIP coverage and charge you the fee for this coverage.
Not Filing On Time
You should file a no-fault benefits application with your auto insurance company immediately following the accident. The sooner you do so, the better chance you have of getting reimbursed for your medical bills and maintaining your legal rights under Michigan’s no-fault laws. Not filing on time is one of the biggest mistakes injury victims make because you will be automatically denied if you do not file your claim within one year of the accident.
Not Keeping Accurate Records
Ensure you include as many details about your injuries on the application as possible. If you do not give all the information about your injuries in your application, your insurance company might refuse to pay out any payments related to your medical treatment. They could claim this is because the injuries were not sustained from the accident when it was first reported in your application.
Keep track of your medical records and statements, pay any bills, and file them with the insurance company after your accident to receive payment. Michigan’s motor vehicle law states that if you do not submit your medical documents within one year of your medical treatment, the auto insurance company is not obligated to pay them.
You can submit your medical statements independently, but you can also work with an auto accident attorney at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., who can gather evidence and negotiate with the insurance adjuster.
Not Considering All Your Options
If you do not have any auto insurance coverage, you have other options to help pay your expenses under Michigan’s no-fault laws.
No Fault’s Order of Priority
Michigan’s no-fault “order of priority” determines the order for which the auto insurance will pay your benefits. If you do not have your own auto insurance policy, your spouse’s auto insurance provider will pay. The next in line is a relative who lives in the same house as you.
Private health insurance can cover medical costs when you, your spouse, or a relative coordinate with the insurance company in return for a reduced auto insurance premium. This means that your health insurance is the primary insurer, and once your health insurance claim is exhausted, payments then fall to your auto insurance.
However, the costs of medical care you incur exceeding the unlimited coverage under PIP are your responsibility if you have no health insurance.
Michigan Assigned Claims Plan
If your spouse or relative at home does not have auto insurance, Michigan’s no-fault law will still protect you if you apply for the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. Through this plan, an insurance carrier will be chosen to pay your auto no-fault insurance benefits.
If your medical expenses exceed the medical coverage in your auto insurance policy, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for excess and future no-fault benefits. You are eligible for compensation for any economic losses, pain and suffering, and medical bills that exceed PIP coverage.
A Personal Injury Attorney at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Can Help
If you need help after an auto accident getting your medical bills paid, you can learn more about your options from a personal injury lawyer. At Cochran, Kroll, and Associates, P.C., our experienced legal team can help you seek fair compensation for your injuries. Call us today today to schedule a free consultation at 1-866-MICHLAW (866-MICH-LAW).
Do Medicare and Medicaid cover PIP in Michigan?
According to federal law, Medicare and Medicaid are considered secondary payers, meaning they would not be responsible for the medical costs of accidents if no-fault coverage is available.
Under Michigan’s no-fault laws, if your no-fault auto insurance policy has certain PIP medical limits, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid could cover your medical costs once your no-fault coverage ceases.
What if I get injured in a car accident if I was using my employer’s car?
If you are injured in a car accident while driving your employer’s furnished vehicle, the company’s auto insurance will cover any medical expenses. If you were working at the time of the accident and sustained injuries, then workers’ compensation pays for these bills.
What if I got into a car accident with someone else’s child as my passenger?
If another person’s child is in your car and gets hurt in an accident, the child will collect no-fault benefits under their parents’ auto insurance policies. The Michigan Assigned Claim Plan can handle the claim on behalf of the child if neither parent has auto insurance.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.