How are Medical Bills Paid After a Car Accident?
After you’ve been treated following a car accident, you may be wondering how you will be paying for the medical bills and other expenses. In Minnesota, how your medical bills are paid will depend on specific circumstances unique to your crash.
No-Fault PIP Insurance
Minnesota follows a no-fault system requiring auto insurance policies to automatically include Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This means that accident victims can have damages covered by their own auto insurance regardless of who was at fault for the accident. After a collision, those involved will notify their insurance company and will receive a minimum of up to $20,000 in PIP coverage for medical care and up to $20,000 for wage loss/replacement. More specifically, PIP will cover
- Medical expenses at least up to $20,000, including ambulance, acute care, chiropractic, surgery, rehab services, hospitalizations, prescriptions, etc.
- 85% of an injured person’s gross income up to a maximum of $500 per week, up to $20,000 total (or more depending on your policy)
- Cost of a substitute employee to cover work of self-employed person
- Cost of covering household chores performed by an injured homemaker
In most cases, the car owner only needs to report the accident to their insurer to have medical bills and lost wages paid for anyone injured in the car.
If your car accident occurred while working, then workers’ compensation will kick in first to cover medical bills. In Minnesota, you typically have the right to choose the doctor who will treat you for a work injury. However, if your employer participates in a certified managed care plan, then you may have to be treated by a doctor or clinic that is part of the plan’s network. When you see a healthcare provider, it is important to tell them the treatment is for a work-related injury. Keep track of any out-of-pocket medical expenses which can be reimbursed later.
Once your PIP coverage is exhausted, your regular health insurance will cover a portion of your medical bills just as it would for any other type of injury. Unfortunately, that means you will be responsible for your deductible and any co-pays. However, if another party was responsible for the accident, you might be able to seek reimbursement.
The At-Fault Party
When another party is at fault for a car accident and certain injury thresholds are met, you can sue the at-fault party for further compensation. The state allows you to step outside of the no-fault system if the crash resulted in:
- A permanent injury or disfigurement;
- More than $4,000 in medical expenses, services, or products (not including diagnostics like x-rays or MRIs);
- A disability lasting for more than 60 days; or,
Whether you file an injury claim with the at-fault party’s auto insurer or file a lawsuit, the medical bills which were not covered can be included in your claim. Minnesota requires these minimums of liability coverage: $30,000 per covered person, $60,000 per accident.
How Can An Attorney Help Collect Damages for an Accident in Minnesota?
Battling to collect the money you need on top of extensive injuries can be incredibly stressful after a car accident. With a car accident attorney on your side, they will handle every aspect of your claim for you. That means they will file all necessary paperwork by the deadlines, gather the evidence you need to prove fault, and document your medical bills and other expenses. While you focus on your recovery, you can have peace of mind knowing an attorney will be negotiating with the insurance companies and assessing all of your legal options to ensure you are fairly compensated.