An auto accident can be a difficult thing to go through. Not only can it cause physical damage, but it can impact you mentally, emotionally, and financially as well.
The repercussions of car crashes are often not limited to a specific time frame, either. An accident can affect you for months or even years after it has occurred, especially if you have sustained extensive injuries or serious mental trauma.
Not only can all of these things be hard to deal with on their own, but sorting out who pays your medical bills at the same time can bring with it another layer of difficulty. While you may not feel up to dealing with much, especially not complex legal issues after you have been in an accident, understanding how medical costs are paid after a car accident can enable you to make more informed decisions and have better outcomes overall.
If you have been in an accident and need to know more about how medical bills are managed after car accidents in Queens, New York, then here are some things to keep in mind.
What You Need To Know About Insurance Policies
Understanding your insurance policy and how it protects you in the event of an accident is important if you want to know where to begin seeking help and getting back on track. When it comes to insurance, different states tend to have different policies. New York is what is known as a no-fault state.
This means that your insurance provider is required to cover your medical expenses in the event of an accident, no matter who is at fault. While this may not seem fair to some, it can help to ensure that those who are injured are properly covered.
The purpose of the no-fault law is to make sure that those who need compensation receive it quickly, rather than have to spend long periods of time hashing out who was at fault, and who deserves how much compensation. Even though this may seem odd to some, it can help those who are injured get the support they need in a timely manner.
Additionally, if you are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle when an accident occurs, then their insurance policy should cover you and your medical expenses. If you are injured while riding a bike, driving a scooter, walking, or jogging, the insurance of the motorist who was driving should cover your injuries.
While New York’s no-fault law dictates who pays the medical bills in a car accident there are limitations to how much coverage you can get from your auto insurance policy. The typical maximum payout for an accident is $50,000 per person.
This is meant to cover medical expenses, as well as lost wages. It will typically also cover other things that are considered necessary medically. Some of these things include prescription medication, prosthetics, physical therapy, hospital stays, ambulance rides, and surgeries.
Another thing to be aware of is that while a no-fault policy may cover many physical issues, they do not cover mental or emotional ones. This means that you will not receive compensation for things like emotional distress, or pain and suffering, even if you feel that you can prove that these things occurred.
Even though many things will be covered by your policy if you are in a no-fault area like Queens, New York, that doesn’t mean that you will be fully covered. While your auto insurance policy is the first and often primary source for coverage, it may not provide you with all the necessary coverage.
If you have sustained serious injuries that require a long hospital stay, multiple surgeries, or lots of physical therapy, you may end up with extensive medical bills that go well beyond the $50,000 mark.
In instances where your medical bills exceed the limit, you will then be held accountable for paying the rest of the bills out of pocket. When this happens, many will seek assistance from their health insurance carrier, or may even begin to think about contacting Queens car accident lawyers to talk about things like a civil lawsuit.
What You Need To Know About Situations Where You Have To Pay the Bills
Even if you are in a no-fault state, there may be some situations where you will be required to pay some or all of the bills yourself. One reason you may be required to pay all of your bills on your own is if you did not follow protocol.
Typically, if you have been in an accident you will have 30 days to submit a car accident claim to the insurance provider. If you do not do this, then they could potentially deny your claim, which would force you to then manage the bills on your own.
Something else that may prevent your medical care from being covered is if some of your treatments are not typical medical treatments. If you choose to get care that is considered controversial or experimental, an insurance company may choose not to provide coverage for it. This can include things like alternative medicine, or treatments from some specialists.
Yet another time when an insurance provider may not cover your medical bills if you were committing a crime at the time that the accident occurred. For example, if you were charged with drunk driving, or if you were driving without a license.
Along with that, you may not get your medical bills covered if you are under any contractual obligations. For example, even though some may have no-fault coverage, their health or auto insurance contracts may stipulate that they are responsible for a deductible up to a certain amount, or a co-pay. Being familiar with your contracts can help you to prevent any unexpected financial issues in the event that you are involved in an accident.
What You Need To Know About Health Insurance
After you have reached the limit on your no-fault policy, the next option to consider should be your health insurance provider. Different providers will have different policies, and limits on how much they can help you. Being familiar with your health insurance provider’s policies on car accident injuries can be beneficial.
Something else to keep in mind is that while most health insurance providers will cover your expenses after the $50,000 limit has been reached, they are unlikely to help if that limit has not been reached yet. Also, something else to keep in mind is that if you do file a civil lawsuit and win, your health insurance provider may seek to obtain reimbursement from you for the portion of the bills that they paid.
What You Need To Know About Lost Wages
If you have been in an accident with injuries that were serious enough for you to spend time in the hospital, then you will likely have missed time at work. This can be especially true for very serious injuries, or injuries that impact your mobility.
If you have a highly active or physically demanding job, then you might need to spend even more time away from work than if you had an office job. Depending on your injury extensive physical therapy may be required to enable you to function at work properly.
The same may be true if you have experienced issues that impact you mentally and emotionally, like PTSD or anxiety. This can add up to a lot of lost wages. Additionally, you may not always be able to get your reimbursement for lost wages quickly, especially if you are suffering from issues that are mental or emotional. In this situation, it could be beneficial to have professional help to ensure that you receive your reimbursement while you are unable to work.
Even though you might have more struggles if you are trying to prove that you are unable to work due to mental or emotional issues, in most situations where there is clear physical damage a no-fault policy will cover lost wages. To begin the process of getting your pay reimbursed, you will first need to visit your doctor. If your doctor has assessed your health and determined that you are unable to perform basic work duties, you will then go on to the next step.
The next step typically involves you, your workplace, and your doctor filling out some forms and turning them in to the insurance company. After the insurance company has received all of the forms, they will then begin to reimburse you.
Most no-fault policies will pay you up to $2,000 a month for your lost wages. However, if there is a supplemental policy in addition to the standard one, then you may receive up to 80% of your lost wages, but not more.
What You Need To Know About Filing a Civil Lawsuit
If health insurance does not cover the remaining medical bills that you have, filing a civil lawsuit is an option. While some may prefer to avoid this route if, at all possible, there can be some situations where it is in your best interest to pursue a lawsuit.
While no-fault laws usually prevent you from filing a lawsuit against the vehicle owner who caused the accident, there are certain circumstances where these laws are bypassed.
Often, the laws can be bypassed if the personal injury is deemed a serious injury. It is important to understand that not just anything can be deemed a serious injury. Here are the categories that can be counted as serious injuries:
- Loss of a fetus
- Significant disfigurement
- A non-permanent injury that prevents a person from performing daily tasks 90 days out of a 180-day period after the accident
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
To many, this list may seem very clear. However, the reality is that what constitutes a serious injury can sometimes be vague, or otherwise difficult to understand. Because of this, it is often beneficial to seek the help of a Queens car accident attorney if you feel that you have experienced a serious injury.
What You Need To Know About Finding the Right Queens Car Accident Lawyer
Finding the right legal help can be essential if you need an accident attorney in Queens, New York. Because there are so many laws, and some of them may be difficult to decipher, getting professional assistance can help you to make sure that you are taking the right steps.
This can be especially important to think about in the wake of a car crash, when you are likely more vulnerable, and also less able to do the necessary research to protect yourself.
The right lawyer for this situation will understand the no-fault law well and will know how your case is impacted by it, as well as other local laws. A quality lawyer will also be able to tell you if a case is not worth the time and effort, or if they think that your injuries may not meet the threshold of a serious injury.
A Few Parting Considerations
Sustaining injuries from a car accident can be life-changing for Queens car accident victims. Not only can a car accident have a serious impact on your physical health, but it can also be detrimental mentally, emotionally, and economically if you are forced to miss work for an extended period of time.
Because a car accident case can take such a big toll, it is important to understand what your options are for coverage. Not only that, but even though some laws may seem clear-cut, the reality is that there can be many stipulations that are vague or otherwise difficult to comprehend. By understanding how to get the best help, you can not only save yourself funds but help relieve stress as well, while you work to recover and restore balance to your life.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident, contact Abrams & Associates, P.C.to schedule a free consultation and learn more from experienced car accident attorneys about how to navigate the new situation that an unexpected car accident has put you in.