I am repeatedly asked; “If I am involved in a motorcycle accident that is 100% the other persons fault why am I, or my insurance company, responsible for the medical bills?”
This question is asked even more frequently if the other side admits fault and pays for the damage to your motorcycle.
Although I know the reason behind it, every time I respond to this question, the answer still make little sense to me; it never makes sense to the injured party.
The simple answer is that Pennsylvania is a “No-Fault” state, which literally means that no matter who is at fault, the injured party is responsible for their own medical bills.
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 $15,000.00 in medical coverage is required on cars registered in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
However, because no medical requirement exists on motorcycles in Pennsylvania, 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.
Although this has long been the law, many people, including some doctor’s offices, assume that the other insurance company will pay.
Occasionally, the other insurance company may even say they will, however this rarely, if ever, occurs and merely gives false hope to the victim of the accident.
Regardless of Fault, Injured Party Must Initially Pay Bills
In PA, most motorcycle policies do not provide medical coverage and therefore, if you have private health insurance, they will pay your medical bills.
I have learned over twenty-five plus years worth of discussions between motorcycle accident attorney and client or potential clients, it is a very bitter pill to swallow if you’re involved in a Pennsylvania motorcycle accident due to no fault of your own.
This is especially true when you have neither medical coverage on your motorcycle policy nor any private health insurance. In that case, before you can blink an eye, the medical bills start coming in fast and furious followed by collection notices.
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.
This is why you hire a motorcycle accident attorney.
Practically speaking, any outstanding medical bills will be paid when the Pennsylvania motorcycle accident claim is settled.
Forcing the Other Side to Pay
In a situation like this, the only way to force the other side to pay your motorcycle accident medical bills, is to make a claim and either settle a motorcycle accident in Pennsylvania quickly, or immediately file suit and litigate the claim.
The problem with both of these solutions, is that most insurance companies don’t move as fast as we would like them to, and meanwhile the injured victim begins getting collection notices and marks against them on their credit report.
Litigation 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.
Once this process begins, the only way to protect yourself is to have your motorcycle accident attorney immediately arrange payment plans or who may be able to convince the medical providers to accept letters of protection, which asks the providers to hold up on any collection efforts until the accident claim is resolved.
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.
However, this needs to be accomplished quickly because once these matters end up in collection they automatically get reported to the credit agencies and undoing that is much more difficult than preventing it from happening in the first place.
But, the Insurance Company Said They Will Pay
If you find yourself in this situation, do not get lolled into a false sense of security because the other insurance company has told you they will cover your motorcycle accident medical bills.
While they may in the long term, it only happens in the rarest of circumstances without a lawyer involved.
Otherwise I suggest that you contact a competent motorcycle accident lawyer in PA to make sure that you don’t find yourself being victimized twice as a result of the negligent actions of another.