How are Medical Bills Paid After a Car Accident in Pennsylvania?
After a car accident, an injured person has plenty to think about and worry about. Concerns regarding their medical treatment, their inability to work, and their need to either replace or repair their car occupies their thoughts. One primary concern is who or what is going to pay for everything. If you have auto insurance, then a portion of your medical costs should be covered, no matter who was at fault. If you do not have coverage or your insurance does not cover your needs, it might be possible to file a claim against another driver’s insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit. Our experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers at the Reiff Law Firm look at how medical bills are paid after a car accident in Pennsylvania.
Does Auto Insurance Pay My Medical Bills after a Crash in Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania gives its citizens a choice when it comes to their auto insurance. While it is a primarily “no-fault” insurance state, Pennsylvania calls its policies “limited tort” policies if they are no-fault policies and “full tort” policies if they still allow you to sue for injuries instead of taking no-fault coverage.
“No-fault” means that no matter who caused a car accident in Pennsylvania, the driver’s own personal insurance provider will cover the initial medical bills related to any injuries suffered in the crash. If you have full tort insurance, you can reject your first-party benefits and sue the at-fault driver to have them pay for your damages. In either case, you probably have coverage that will pay for some – but not necessarily all – of your damages after a car accident injury.
Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Cover My Car Accident Injuries and Medical Bills in Pennsylvania?
Most people who are injured in a car accident assume that the driver who caused the accident will have to pay for all of their medical bills. This is not exactly accurate. Every insurance policy issued in Pennsylvania must provide a minimum Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage of $5,000. These first-party benefits are available no matter who was at fault and go towards your medical costs. PIP benefits will cover a variety of expenses after a car accident, including medical bills, lost income, funeral expenses in a fatal car accident, and certain out-of-pocket costs associated with your injury.
However, PIP benefits do not cover all your potential damages. Pain and suffering damages are not recoverable through most Pennsylvania auto insurance policies’ PIP benefits. Often, these types of damages are significant. Fortunately, if you were not at fault, you are often entitled to seek these additional damages through a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver or any other party that contributed to the car accident. It is essential to talk to our experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney to discuss what compensation is available and which parties could be held responsible.
What if Insurance Doesn’t Cover All Damages after a Pennsylvania Car Accident?
It is possible to exhaust your first-party PIP benefits. In fact, in cases of serious auto accidents, it is not uncommon to exhaust your PIP coverage. Medical expenses such as an emergency room examination, diagnostic tests, or surgery can quickly eat away at your $5,000 minimum. When your bills exceed your PIP limit, then your personal health insurance and out-of-pocket payments usually cover the rest of the overage. However, if another driver was at fault, you can often hold them legally responsible for your additional medical costs, co-pays, deductibles, and other expenses.
You could also seek compensation for pain and suffering if you were not at fault. However, Pennsylvania law regarding non-economic damages is complicated. Pennsylvania’s limited tort law makes often results in injury victims not being fully compensated for all of the losses they incurred.
What’s Covered Under Limited Tort vs. Full Tort Coverage in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania law permits drivers to choose from two insurance options, limited tort and full tort.
Limited tort coverage allows a Pennsylvania driver to have lower insurance premiums, but the lower cost comes at an additional price. Limited tort coverage does what it sounds like: it limits your ability to recover monetary compensation in a tort (civil lawsuit). More specifically, it sets a limit on what you could collect for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. However, you are still entitled to recover medical expenses and other economic damages from the negligent driver or party. If you have limited tort coverage, you still need the representation of our skilled Pennsylvania attorney because exceptions to limited tort exist that could let you fight your case in court and get higher damages.
On the other hand, full tort coverage allows the injured person to file a lawsuit from the beginning that includes pain and suffering, along with other non-economic damages. This coverage comes with a higher premium but might help you get better compensation in the event of an accident.
Call Our Pennsylvania Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation About Getting Compensated for Medical Bills
Car accidents can result in devastating physical and financial consequences. While your insurance may pay a limited portion of your medical expenses, it is unlikely to cover all the costs you incur. This is especially true when you have also suffered significant emotional or mental anguish. If you were injured in a car crash that was not your fault, contact our skilled Pennsylvania car accident attorney to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 to schedule a free consultation to review your legal options and rights.