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Mike Myers
Mike Myers
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Getting The Bills Paid

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After an accident, one of the most important considerations is getting the bills paid. There is – depending on the type of accident – a number of potential payers.

In an automobile accident, it’s important to check whether the injured person carried PIP (personal injury protection) coverage. In an automobile accident, PIP provides the primary layer of coverage. In addition to checking the injured person’s own policy, check the PIP coverage carried by the driver of the car in which the injured person traveled. The driver’s PIP coverage could cover the injured person if they were, for example, a passenger.

In auto cases, after exhausting PIP coverage, health insurance provides the next layer of coverage. The health insurance is a little bit different than PIP because it pays a negotiated rate for a service rather than 100 cents on the dollar (like PIP). Also, the usual limitations associated with the health insurance contract apply. For instance, there may be a limitation on the number of massage therapy appointments the injured person can make with coverage. This is one of several reasons why it’s important to carry as much PIP as you can afford – even if you have healthcare insurance through work, for example.

If there is no PIP coverage or the PIP coverage has been exhausted and there is no health insurance coverage it’s important to determine eligibility for governmentally funded programs such as Medicare or Medicaid. Most personal injury attorneys should be able to help injured clients explore these benefits.

In some cases, there simply isn’t insurance. And the injured person is not entitled to benefits provided by the government. In these cases it’s important to arrange treatment on a lien basis. The lien provides security to the provider. When providers treat on a lien basis they don’t seek to collect money for those services as those services are performed but rather wait until the personal injury case is resolved. When it is resolved, a portion of the proceeds are paid directly to the provider. Again, it’s helpful to coordinate treatment on a lien basis through a personal injury attorney because he or she likely has relationships with providers in different fields (such as chiropractic care, massage therapy, physical therapy, etc). Treating on a lien basis is typically more feasible through providers like massage therapists or chiropractors than it is, for instance, through neurosurgeons.

The expenses associated with the care an injured person has received following an accident plays a big part in determining the value of their case. More importantly, it’s important to get the healthcare you need following your accident because it speeds recovery and ensures the most complete recovery possible. It’s important to get all the care you need.

In premises cases (for instance, a trip and fall at a private home) there is something similar to PIP coverage. It’s similar because it’s a "no-fault" coverage and is available to pay healthcare expenses. It’s called med pay and it’s offered under many homeowners and business insurance policies. Typically, med pay ranges between $1,000.00 and $5,000.00. In premises cases this is the first layer of coverage. After med pay is exhausted the same analysis they will use for car accidents applies.

When fishermen or other maritime workers are injured, their employers have an obligation to pay for their healthcare expenses. This obligation is called "sure." The obligation to pay care extends until the injured maritime worker reaches maximum medical improvement.