Car accidents often lead to injuries. These can be minor or severe injuries and are often very costly. Who pays for medical bills in a car accident in New York?
Unfortunately, the answer isn't as straightforward. The type of injuries sustained, the injury threshold, as well as New York's no-fault law all play an important role in determining who has to pay for the medical bills after a car accident.
No-fault Insurance in New York
When it comes to car insurance, New York is a no-fault state, meaning the victim's insurance company should pay for the medical expenses regardless of who caused the collision. The maximum payout for no-fault insurance in New York is $50,000.
If the at-fault driver does not have auto insurance or fled the scene of the accident, victims will need to access the underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage in their policy.
However, if the injured person is a passenger, the driver's insurance company should cover the medical bills. Cyclists or pedestrians hit by a car can claim compensation for their medical bills from the at-fault driver's insurance company.
If the at-fault party is an underinsured or uninsured driver, the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC) covers medical bills of up to $50,000 for pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists.
Under New York law, all drivers are required to have no-fault insurance coverage. This is often referred to as personal injury protection (PIP). This insurance is used to cover medical bills when the policyholder is injured in a motor vehicle accident.
PIP insurance generally covers the following types of medical bills:
Transportation - e.g ambulance
Emergency medical treatment
Surgery and other medical procedures
Physical therapy and rehabilitation
Mental health counseling
If the medical expenses exceed the amount of no-fault insurance coverage, injured victims will have to turn to their health insurance company to cover the remainder of the claim.
Does Health Insurance Cover Car Accidents?
While most health insurance providers cover car accidents once the no-fault coverage has reached its limit, they do have limits on how much they're willing to pay. Furthermore, any injured person that files a personal injury lawsuit and wins their claim might have to pay back their health insurance company.
Another important concept to be aware of is "balance billing." This refers to the process of the victim's medical provider trying to bill the victim directly for amounts the insurance company forced them to negotiate or write off. This is an unethical practice that the hospital is not allowed to do. Thus, anyone who thinks they're being treated unfairly by a medical provider needs to contact a experienced auto accident attorneys in Long Island who can assist with the legal process.
What If the Injuries Sustained Exceed the Victim's Insurance Coverage?
In this case, injured people should file a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible for the accident. This could be the other driver or a company. The available compensation as well as the applicable legal process will differ based on the type of accident and the parties involved. Hence, it's crucial to speak to a lawyer who has experience in the particular field of law.
What Is New York's Serious Injury Threshold?
The severity of the injury plays a crucial role in determining compensation for medical bills. Therefore, it's vital to define what a serious injury is. Under New York law, a serious injury includes:
A significant limitation of the use of a body system or function
Loss of a fetus
Permanent loss of use of a body function, organ, system, or member
Permanent consequential limitation of a body member or organ
Medically determined non-permanent injury or impairment that prevents the victim from substantially all their daily activities for 90 days or more in the 180 days after the accident
Filing a No-fault Insurance Claim in New York
Parties involved in a car accident need to file a no-fault claim with their own auto insurance companies within 30 days of the collision. The insurance company should pay for any accident-related costs up to the value of the policy coverage.
One of the many no-fault benefits is that drivers can claim costs related to the accident even if they were at fault or caused the crash.
However, drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or cyclists that weren't responsible for the accident may file an additional negligence claim against the at-fault driver for pain and suffering and other damages. It's vital to remember that no-fault laws do not prevent victims from suing the responsible party if they were negligent and caused the injured persons' injuries.
Hiring a professional attorney to handle the claim is the best way to ensure all insurance claims are filed on time and correctly. They can also help answer questions like, "Can you go to jail for a car accident in New York?"
What Happens If the Insurance Company Refuses to Pay?
Insurance companies are known for being difficult. Therefore, there are times when they might refuse to pay medical bills after a car accident or underpay for these expenses. The best course of action when this happens is to hire a personal injury lawyer that will negotiate with the insurance provider. Under these circumstances, the attorney will ensure the policyholder gets fair compensation for their injuries or will file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today!
When trying to recover from the injuries brought on by a car accident, it's vital to hire a knowledgeable and compassionate personal injury attorney who is well-versed in all areas of New York personal injury law. The experienced car accident attorneys at The Law Office of Carl Maltese in Long Island, New York, have been representing accident victims for many years. Therefore, clients can count on us to recover compensation that will help them get back on their feet and return to their normal lives. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, contact us today for a free consultation.