Magnuson Lowell Blog
Each week we post a blog about relevant legal issues. Glance through our various topics to learn more about a particular legal situation.
Injuries after an auto collision are very common. Whether a rear-end or T-bone collision results in broken bones and a trip to the emergency room or whiplash and a trip to the chiropractor or physical therapist, payment will be required. Medical care in Washington can be quite expensive. In fact, a simple trip to the emergency room with even basic imaging may result in thousands of dollars of medical expenses and – in the early stages of an insurance claim – it will be your responsibility to ensure payment is made in a timely fashion.
If you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, rejoice, because your auto insurance carrier will pay for a minimum of $10,000 in medical expenses without deductibles or copays. If you waived PIP insurance, however, you’ll have four options. You can stop getting medical treatment altogether. This option is poor for multiple reasons. First and foremost, medical research establishes that failing to get medical treatment after a collision can lead to worsened symptoms that last longer. Your insurance claim will also be more difficult to establish. Without medical treatment, the insurance company will only have your testimony to rely upon while evaluating your claim. Documentation from medical records is a major part to any claim, and ceasing treatment early creates significant trouble in substantiating a claim.
Instead of ceasing treatment, you could (1) pay for treatment out of pocket; (2) utilize medical insurance; or (3) work with your medical providers and agree to pay medical expenses at the conclusion of your insurance claim. You purchased health insurance for a reason, and you might as well use it. Of course, with health insurance you will encounter deductibles and copays. However, those costs will be substantially less than paying for the treatment out of pocket.
If you do not have health insurance or your health insurance will not pay for the required treatment, it may be wise to work with healthcare providers directly. Especially if you are represented by an attorney, some medical providers (notably chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists) are willing to provide medical care without payment until your case is closed. At that point – regardless of the final resolution to the claim – you would be responsible for the outstanding balance of your medical bill. This is an attractive option to allow for medical treatment where otherwise treatment could not be obtained.
If you’re involved in a motor vehicle crash, speaking with an attorney will ensure you take the correct steps to protect your insurance claim. In the initial phase, that will be helping you determine the available coverages – PIP or health insurance. If you have no insurance or you’ve run out of insurance, your attorney can work directly with the healthcare provider to help you get the treatment that you need. The experienced attorneys at Magnuson Lowell PS will help guide you through the complicated processes involving insurance so that you can get the treatment you need to fully recover.