Having an auto accident and dealing with mounting medical bills can be very stressful. Fortunately, even if you do not have health insurance, there can be some initial coverage for those medical bills under your or someone else’s auto policy. These medical benefits are called first party, or personal injury protection (“PIP”) benefits. Auto insurers in Pennsylvania are required to provide them by law, specifically via 75 PA. CS. 1711(a). At a minimum these medical benefits must provide $5,000 in medical coverage. However you can chose to have medical benefits coverage up to at least $100,000. You can also elect to have extraordinary medical benefits coverage up to $1,100,000.
Where does this medical benefits coverage come from? If you are a named insured under an auto policy for a car you or your family member own, you will receive medical benefits coverage from that policy. If you do not have a car, or are not a named insured under an auto policy, you can still get first party medical benefits coverage though. In this scenario, the medical benefits coverage would come from the auto policy of the motor vehicle you were in when the accident happened. So if you are a passenger in a friend’s car, or were driving a friend’s car with their permission and you were in an accident, the auto policy for your friend’s car will provide you first party medical benefits coverage up to the policy’s limits.
What happens after the medical benefits coverage is used up? You will get what is called an exhaustion letter from the insurance carrier for the policy notifying you that the medical benefits are exhausted. From that point on you will have to look to your personal health insurance for medical coverage. If you do not have health insurance but do have a valid auto accident claim, any unpaid medical bills or out of pocket medical costs will be included as part of your damages claim.
If you have any questions about an auto accident you were in the attorneys at the Thistle Firm are here to help at 215-568-6800.