Regardless of Fault, Injured Party Must Initially Pay Bills

Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyerLet me take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and healthy 2012 riding season!

This month’s column addresses a question that I am routinely asked;

Q: If I am involved in an accident and injured as a result of some one else’s negligence, why can’t I send my medical bills to that persons insurance company, after all, they caused the accident?

A: This question is asked even more frequently if the other side admits fault and pays for the damage to your motorcycle.

Given this, why won’t they pay for the medical bills?

The answer is simply because Pennsylvania and New Jersey are deemed to be “No-Fault” states. In a nut-shell this means, regardless of who is at fault, each driver shall initially be responsible to pay for their own medical expenses. This is generally not a problem if you are in an auto accident, because at least $5,000.00 in medical coverage is required on cars registered in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. However, because no medical requirement exists on motorcycles in either Pennsylvania or New Jersey, the bills initially become your personal responsibility. If you have private health insurance, they will generally step in and begin making payments on the outstanding medical bills, as long as they have been properly notified that the injuries were caused by a “motorcycle” accident and not an “automobile” accident. As simple as that sounds, it is remarkable how much time my staff and I spend educating the billing departments of various health providers that if they do not properly code the bills, they will be denied by the health insurance company.

When there is no health insurance, this is when the problems begin. “Why can’t the bills just be sent to the other person’s insurance company?” In this situation, the other insurance company will not pay the bills because they are not required to do so by law, you are not their insured and there is no insurance contract requiring them to do so.

Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there. Simply because the other insurance company is not responsible to pay for the motorcycle accident medical bills up front, doesn’t mean they can avoid paying for the bills forever. Practically speaking, any outstanding medical bills will be paid when the Pensnylvania motorcycle accident claim is settled.

The bad news is, as many of you know, if a case ends up in litigation, it can take anywhere from one to three years to resolve and in the meantime you may be hassled by collection agencies and these unpaid medical bills can effect your credit rating. In this situation as your motorcycle accident lawyers we normally contact the medical providers and request that they hold the bills until we resolve the claim, at which time we will pay any outstanding medical bill. Most medical facilities will agree, as they know that getting paid upon the resolution of the claim is their best chance to actually recover their money.

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