Frequent Questions following an Auto Collision
Keith Halperin DC: Interview with attorney Paul Ayan
1. I’ve been hurt in a collision that wasn’t my fault. Will the other driver pay my medical bills?
The person at-fault is ultimately responsible to pay for all of your damages arising from the collision. However, the at-fault insurance company will normally not pay a dime until you settle your whole claim. You DO NOT want to settle your claim until you know the extent of your damages. You will not know a number of your damages until you have recovered and completed your medical treatment.
2. What is included in my bodily injury claim beyond the medical bills?
You are entitled to special damages and general damages. Special damages are quantifiable monetary losses, including but not limited to medical bills. General damages are essentially compensation for pain and suffering resulting from the collision.
3. Since the other insurance company won’t pay my bills up front, who will?
If you bought Personal Injury Protection (PIP) under your auto insurance, your medical bills will be paid using your PIP.
4. What if I don’t have PIP?
If you don’t have PIP coverage but have health insurance, then your bills should be paid under your health insurance. If you have neither PIP nor health insurance, there are some providers that will work on a lien basis. In other words, the provider will wait to be paid until your claim settles. Otherwise, you may have to pay your medical bills up-front and then be reimbursed upon settlement of your claim.
5. What if I can’t pay my bills up-front?
It is best to contact the health care provider as soon as possible and explain the situation. Many providers will allow you to set up a payment plan. Whatever you do, do not ignore the bill. It is worthwhile to make small payments. If you make no contact whatsoever, your bill is likely to be put into collections more quickly.
6. Not only am I not at fault, but the other driver does not have insurance; now what?
If you have Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM), (which you are STRONGLY encouraged to have) then your insurance company will handle your claim as if it were the at-fault party’s insurance, and you will be able to recover all your damages. If you do not have UIM coverage, you will most likely be out of luck in recovering your damages.
7. Why is my insurance company forcing me to undergo a medical exam with a doctor who is not treating me?
Insurance companies use these exams to limit, reduce or stop your current treatment, thereby limiting, reducing or stopping the amount the company will pay out on your behalf. Rarely are these exams for your benefit.
8. Why is my own insurance company refusing to pay my medical bills?
The insurance industry is one of the few industries that make money by not paying for what you have purchased. Their profits are fueled by limiting, reducing and denying claims.
9. Is chiropractic treatment covered by PIP?
Yes, chiropractic care is covered, and unlike health insurance, a referral from your primary care doctor is not required. PIP also does not limit you to 12 chiropractic visits like some health insurance plans.
10. How much chiropractic treatment does PIP cover?
This answer depends on many factors and will be different in every case. Pursuant to the insurance policy language, PIP will only pay for treatment that is “reasonable and necessary” for injuries related to the collision. Again, insurance companies will use their own examiners to determine what is “reasonable and necessary.” The amount of PIP coverage is also confined by the limits that you purchased. PIP policy limits are often $10,000, but higher limits can be purchased at a higher premium.