Car accidents are the most common type of personal injury claim that draw more than one insurance company into negotiations and proceedings, but other kinds of accidents may require involving your own insurance carrier as well. Knowing when to get your insurance company involved and how to deal with the claim is important to seeing a successful or trouble-free outcome.
When to Contact Your Insurance Company
Since you have injuries that need to be treated, your medical insurance comes into play. In some personal injury claims though, other types of insurance coverage may also be involved:
- Car accidents require you notify your car insurance company, even if the other driver was at fault for your injuries.
- Other Personal Injury Accidents require you to get medical attention. Your medical claims are usually processed through your health insurance at the time that you receive medical attention, even if another insurance company ends up being responsible for the expenses.
No matter the circumstances of your personal injuries, you should contact all of the appropriate insurance carriers as soon as possible after the accident to inform them of the situation.
Getting Medical Attention
It is essential you be treated for your injuries. You should also seek treatment sooner rather than later. Not only is this important to your health and wellbeing, but it also affects how seriously your claim is taken by insurance companies.
If you don’t seek medical attention, the insurance adjuster that handles your claim can argue that your injuries weren’t very serious. This argument can affect any settlement offer you receive.
Car Accidents and Insurance Responsibility
Medical bill responsibility varies by location with car accidents. The circumstance of the accident and the determination of fault can also influence which insurance company pays expenses.
- In No-Fault States: If your accident happens in a “no-fault” state, your insurance company is responsible for your medical expenses. Every state in the “no-fault” system sets its own limits for medical expenses. In most locations, the limit is $10,000 or less. If your bills exceed this limit, you will be responsible for paying the others out-of-pocket or by filing them through your regular health insurance provider.
- Med-Pay Insurance: In states without “no-fault insurance,” the responsibility for your medical bills depends whether you and/or the other driver have “med-pay” coverage. Medical expenses may be paid by the med-pay plan of either driver, up to the limits of the plan, which are usually $10,000 or less. Anything over and above the med-pay plan allowance is your responsibility. File those bills through your regular health insurance company like usual. Any amount your health insurance doesn’t pay, you will be responsible for.
- Standard Medical or Health Insurance: If you and/or the other driver don’t have med-pay coverage and you don’t live in a “no-fault” state, you’ll be responsible for paying your medical bills. Those bills should be filed with your regular health insurance carrier like usual. Any expenses your medical insurance provider doesn’t cover will be your responsibly.
Insurance Company Interviews and Investigations
Any car accident requires you to inform your insurance company. In states where fault must be determined before a claim is settled, the insurance company may have many questions for you. They will investigate the details of the accident and usually conduct phone interviews with you, the other driver, and sometimes witnesses. They will review police reports and other documentation in determining the claim as well.
An attorney can help you through the investigation process. Your lawyer can assist with understand which insurance company is responsible for paying your medical bills. They can also potentially get you a better settlement from your own or the other driver’s insurance company.
Liens Against Your Settlement
Keep in mind that if your medical insurance covers expenses for your injuries they may be entitled to reimbursement for what they paid. If you receive payment for those same expenses from a car insurance “med-pay” policy or through some other settlement agreement, then your medical insurance can put a lien on your settlement.
Insurance companies often work out the details of reimbursement on their own. Sometimes however, an attorney’s help may be needed to resolve liens or finalize reimbursements.