Who Pays For My Treatment Following A Car Accident?
Posted on Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 at 2:45 pm
There are very specific rules in Pennsylvania which dictate who pays for your medical treatment following a car accident. Many clients are often shocked, if not outraged, to learn that their motor vehicle insurance will be paying for their medical treatment following a car accident. “Why would my insurance pay-the other guy hit me” is the most common question we are asked. We recommend that you read below of course and then schedule a consultation with an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer to discuss your case.
Pennsylvania Is A No Fault State
The reason that your own car insurance provides coverage following a car accident even though someone else may have been at fault is that Pennsylvania is what is known as a no-fault state. This means that your own motor vehicle insurance provides first party benefits, which include medical benefits, regardless of who is at fault in causing the crash. This is true whether you were driving your own vehicle, or were a passenger in someone else’s vehicle. In other words, if you are involved in a car accident in Pennsylvania and you have your own insurance policy, your insurance is going to pay for your medical treatment, regardless of what vehicle you were in at the time of the accident, and regardless of who was at fault in causing your injuries.
But Won’t My Premium Go Up?
Of course, the reason so many of us are worried upon learning that our insurance company is going to pay for medical treatment following a car crash is that we don’t want our insurance premiums to increase. Who wants to pay more money for insurance? Nobody is the answer!
Fortunately, if you are not deemed to be at fault in causing the car crash your insurance premiums will not increase even though your insurance company is forced to pay for your medical treatment. This also means that if you are forced to use a friend’s or relative’s insurance to pay for your treatment (as explained below) because you do not own a motor vehicle, their insurance will not go up either if they were not at fault in causing the accident.
What If I Don’t Own A Motor Vehicle?
As referenced above, if you are involved in a Pennsylvania car accident, the first source we look to in determining who will pay for your treatment is your own car insurance policy. This includes any policy on which you are a “named insured.” You may be a “named insured” on a policy even though you do not own the vehicle itself, for example, where your spouse owns the car but you drive it occasionally and are listed on the policy.
If you are not a “named insured” on a motor vehicle insurance policy, the next area of inquiry is whether you live with a “named insured” on a car insurance policy. For example, if you are the spouse, minor child, or relative of an individual with whom you live with, you will be entitled to first party benefits under their policy even though you are not specifically listed as a named insured under their policy. To qualify, you must be a relative, and you must live with the person.
If you do not qualify for benefits under your own policy or the policy of a relative with whom you live, the next source we look to is the vehicle you were in at the time of the car accident. You are entitled to coverage, assuming that the above coverages don’t apply, from the insured vehicle you were in at the time of the accident. For example, if you do not own a vehicle and do not live with a relative who owns a vehicle and are involved in a car accident while driving with a friend, you are entitled to have your medical treatment paid for by your friend’s car insurance company. Again, remind him/her that the premiums will not go up unless they were at fault! By way of another example, if you are a passenger on a SEPTA bus and are involved in a SEPTA accident, SEPTA would be required to pay for your medical treatment if you are not a “named insured” on another policy and don’t live with a “named insured” on another policy.
If you are a pedestrian, bicyclist, or otherwise not the occupant of a motor vehicle at the time of a car accident, you may look to the insurance policy of any motor vehicle that is involved in the crash for coverage for your medical treatment.
Do I Have To Pay The Insurance Company Back When I Settle?
No! Under Pennsylvania law, the insurance company who pays for your medical treatment does not have a right to get its money back from you if and when you settle your personal injury case.
Do I Need A Car Accident Lawyer To Help Me?
Yes! The laws are complicated, and having an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer is essential. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to guide you through the process and obtain the necessary forms for you to complete so that your medical benefits are covered following an auto accident. Of course, the first step will be determining which insurance company should be responsible for paying! Car accident lawyers only get paid when they obtain compensation for your pain and suffering and economic damages following a crash, so there is no reason not to have experienced counsel by your side.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, contact one of the experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC today for a free consultation, or call (215) 875-7030.