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The biggest concern a person will likely have to deal with after sustaining an injury in a motor vehicle accident are medical bills. Just a routine examination in a hospital emergency room following an accident can cost several thousand dollars. If you need to undergo any additional treatment the bills can be astronomical.

1. No Fault Benefits

New York is a no-fault state. Therefore, you will be qualified immediately following your accident for no-fault benefits. Further, since New York is a no-fault state your car insurance coverage will be your primary source of insurance coverage for your medical treatment. This means that all medical bills must be submitted to the no-fault carrier for payment. Any bills submitted to your private health insurance will be denied if no-fault insurance is available to you.

The only exception to this rule is if you are in a motor vehicle accident while at work. For example, if you are making a delivery for your job and are rear-ended. In a scenario where you are injured during the course of your employment, workers compensation insurance will become the primary insurance policy and no-fault will be secondary. However, if you are on your way to work or on your way home from work and off the clock, no-fault will still be your primary insurance.

No-fault insurance will cover all of your medical bills up to $50,000 or if you are terminated from coverage, as per an Independent Medical Exam. Therefore, sometimes, you may need medical treatment but no longer have no-fault benefits to pay for that treatment. In this situation, you will be left with a few options. First, you can submit your medical bills to your health insurance carrier. The carrier will likely want to see a denial from no-fault before agreeing to pay for medical treatment.

2. Medicaid & Medicare

If you are a Medicaid recipient you can submit your medical bills to that entity once no-fault is denied. There are two issues I see arise with this situation. First, not all doctors accept Medicaid. Therefore, you might need to switch healthcare providers. While this is inconvenient, it is better than the alternative of receiving no treatment. The second issue that arises is that unlike no-fault, Medicaid must be reimbursed for medical payments should you receive a settlement.

Medicare works similar to Medicaid in that it will cover medical expenses once your no-fault benefits are denied. Also, like Medicaid, if a settlement is reached, Medicare will be entitled to reimbursement for its expenditures.

3. Healthcare Provider

Another option to get medical bills paid is to approach the healthcare provider about accepting a lien on your personal injury settlement. I often can get a healthcare provider to continue treating a client while their case is proceeding and await settlement before receiving payment. Obviously, this will not be an option if you are not pursuing a bodily injury settlement. It is also likely a last resort as it is always better to get an insurance company to pay for the treatment up front because they are only entitled to repayment if you receive a settlement. On the other hand, a doctor’s lien will usually stipulate that you are responsible for the bill should there be no settlement.

4. Personal Injury Lawyer

The last option for getting medical bills paid is through a personal injury lawsuit. If another person causes your injuries, they are responsible for any economic damages associated with that injury, including medical bills not covered by no-fault. There is a caveat to this rule. It must be proven that you have suffered a “serious injury” from the motor vehicle accident before the responsible party is required to pay for your economic losses. “Serious injury” is defined by a law.

Finally, should you run into any problems with receiving medical payments, it is always a good idea to speak with an attorney. They can often solve the problem and get you reimbursed for your losses.

Property damage generally refers to your vehicle and any property in your vehicle that is either damaged or completely ruined in the automobile accident. You can make a claim for your property damage one of two ways. You can file a claim with your insurance carrier if you have purchased collision coverage. Another option is you can pursue reimbursement through the other party’s insurance carrier. There are benefits and drawbacks to both options, as I will discuss below.

Using your collision coverage to pay for your property damage

Filing a claim through your automobile collision coverage has several advantages. First, your own insurance company has a vested interest in making you happy since you are a paying customer. They will be more responsive to your needs and provide better customer service. Since you are entitled to collision coverage as per your insurance contract, fault is not an issue. Therefore, there is no need to complete an investigation of the accident prior to paying for your property damage claim thus speeding up the process.

The only drawback to filing a claim through your insurance carrier is there is usually a deductible. A deductible is an agreed upon amount of money you must contribute to the repairs or replacement of your property damage. Most deductibles range between $500 and $1,000 dollars. The good news is that, after completing your insurance company’s accident investigation, you may be entitled to full or partial reimbursement from the other person’s insurance carrier. Further, your carrier will fight to get the money back for you. This is accomplished in an inter-insurance company arbitration proceeding against the offending vehicle’s insurance company.

Filing a collision claim is a better option than pursuing a claim through the other vehicle’s carrier. The only time I recommend a client with collision coverage to pursue a claim through the other carrier’s policy is when they do not have the financial resources to pay their deductible.

Pursuing a claim through the offending vehicles insurance carrier

When pursuing a claim through your own collision coverage is not an option, you can file a claim with the other vehicle’s insurance carrier. However, fault will be a key issue in the claim. This is because the carrier will only be responsible for their client’s proportionate share of fault in the accident. Therefore, prior to issuing any payments, the insurance carrier will complete a thorough investigation. This will include obtaining a police accident report, witness statements, and an inspection of all damaged property.

The insurance company will likely be biased. If there are multiple versions of the accident, they will likely accept the version favorable to their client. Further, they will be less responsive to your needs as they have no financial relationship with you. Also, the carrier does not have to make a settlement offer to you. They will only do so if they feel it is in their best interests to settle because they have no chance of winning if the case goes to court.

However, if the carrier refuses payment or offers a payment that is less than you feel is acceptable, you can pursue recovery in court. Unfortunately, this is an arduous process and will likely require the services of an attorney.

Should you agree on a settlement with the carrier, you will likely be asked to sign a release. Be careful when signing a release with an insurance company. Read it carefully and make sure you understand the contents. Never sign a document you do not fully understand. Further, make sure that the release pertains to your property damage only. This is extremely important because signing a general release will bar you from pursuing a bodily injury claim. Even if you do not believe that you are injured, never sign a general release in a property damage settlement. You never know if you are suffering from latent injuries that may reveal themselves later on.

If you’ve recently been in a car accident and your car has been damaged, you might be wondering how to go about covering the costs of repair. If you have collision coverage, great! We believe everyone should have collision coverage. Collision coverage can be seriously helpful should you ever be hit by an uninsured motorist.

Knowing what to do in regards to insurance and covering the property damage to your car can be confusing, especially if you’re a safe driver and have never been in an accident. But we’re here to help explain. You have options to cover your property damage with collision coverage: go through your own insurance, or the other driver’s. Both have their pros, and both have their cons.

The Pros of Going Through Your Own Insurance Carrier

The Cons of Going Through Your Own Insurance Carrier

The Pros of Going Through The Other Driver’s Insurance Carrier

You may believe that you are not at all at fault for this car accident. And so, you choose to file a claim against the “at-fault” driver’s insurance carrier so their collision coverage can pay for your car’s damage. There’s one important pro in this decision.

The Cons of Going Through The Other Driver’s Insurance Carrier

We know how confusing it can be to deal with insurance companies, even if it’s your own. So we take every chance we can get to clarify confusion, answer questions, and be an informative outlet for our followers. We hope you never have to deal with this scenario, but should you need to, we hope this helps.