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Nov 122014
 

Part 1 – Car Accident Medical Bills & PIP

Philadelphia is the largest and most populated city in Pennsylvania, and accordingly, has the highest numbers of auto accidents like car accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, etc. This is one of the reasons that car insurance rates are so high in the city and county of Philadelphia.

Individuals injured in car accidents in Philadelphia are often misinformed about how medical bills get paid. In fact, the question of how car accident related medical bills get paid is probably the most common question after a car accident happens.

Related: What is a UIM claim in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania’s No-Fault System & Car Accidents

Like most other states, Pennsylvania employs the “no-fault” system when it comes to getting medical bills paid after a car accident. The no-fault system applies to residents of Pennsylvania who are covered under a car insurance policy issued in this state. In a nutshell, the no-fault system works like this: if you’re injured in a car accident, you make a claim for medical bills under your own car insurance policy. This applies even if the accident was someone else’s fault. That’s what “no-fault” means; it simply does not matter whose fault the accident was. There is no way to get around this. If you have PIP coverage and have auto accident related medical bills, you will have to make a PIP claim with your own car insurance company.

This seems counterintuitive to many people, especially those who were injured in an accident caused by another party. It may seem unfair. However, the no-fault law was intended to keep people from going into debt after a car accident.

It is important to note that this aspect of PIP law does not, in any way, affect the ability to sue the at-fault party for causing the accident, injuries and damages. In other words, someone injured in a car accident caused by another person would make a PIP claim for medical bills with their own insurance company. Then, they can file a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault party and obtain financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering, depending on the facts of the case.

PIP Claims for Medical Bills

Claims for medical bills after a car accident in PA are usually referred to as PIP claims, or personal injury protection claims. Under every car insurance policy issued in this state, there will be a PIP coverage amount. The state required minimum PIP coverage amount is $5,000 per person covered under the policy, and per accident. While some people choose higher limits, such as $10,000 or $50,000, many Pennsylvania residents stick with the minimum limit. PIP coverage is what kicks in and pays for medical bills after a car accident. PIP claims for medical benefits are handled in the same way as other insurance benefits are handled, such as health insurance or homeowners’ insurance.

How to Open a PIP Claim after a Car Accident in Philadelphia

PIP claims may be opened by notifying your insurance carrier of the need to make a PIP claim. The adjuster will send you a PIP claim form which requires basic information about the accident and your injuries. Once you send the PIP claim form back, your insurance company opens the PIP claim and gives you a claim number which you provide to your medical providers.

The Importance of Giving Your Auto Insurance Information to Medical Providers

Time and time again, individuals injured in auto accidents in the Philadelphia area provide their private health insurance information to medical providers such as emergency room hospitals, or they will provide the auto insurance information of the at-fault driver. This is due to a misunderstanding about how PIP works. Providing your auto insurance information to health care providers at the outset can prevent a great deal of confusion later.

Click here for part 2 of this article and learn about how medical bills get paid after PIP limits are reached.

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