Although discussed in prior columns, lately I have been 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?”
Although I know the answer and 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.
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.
Automobile Cases are Different
In most automobile cases the system works pretty well because all motorists in PA, DE and NJ are required to have medical benefits on their auto policies, which will pay at least $5,000 toward medical bills.
However, in PA and NJ, most motorcycle policies do not provide medical coverage and therefore, if you have private health insurance, they will pay your medical bills. Most DE policies include $15,000 in combination benefits that may be used to pay for medical bills.
I have learned over twenty plus years worth of discussions between motorcycle accident attorney and client, potential clients, readers etc., that no matter how many times I explain this, 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.
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.
Once this process begins, the only way to protect yourself is to immediately arrange payment plans and/or speak with a motorcycle accident attorney 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.
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.
Given the above, 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. 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.