If you have been injured in a Seattle area car accident, you can quickly become overwhelmed with paper work from your insurance company and the defendants insurance company. You may have a lot of questions such as: Who should repair your car? Who should pay for your medical bills? Whose claim number should you use to give to your chiropractor or physical therapist?
Who should repair your car?
Generally, you can go with the defendant’s insurance company to repair your car and you will generally be treated fairly. However, there are a couple conditions for this statement. If your car has minimal damage, you may want to consider having your own insurance company cover the damages to your car.
The reason for this is because you do not want the other company to get the advantage of seeing your car when you can’t see their car’s damage, which may show much more than the damage to your car. Bumpers are solid and made to absorb impact but front ends of car are generally not as well protected, so your car may show little to no damage while their car shows a lot, which can be misleading showing a low impact. Low impact cases will limit the value of your case without a lawyer.
Another reason, is if your car is fairly new with very little mileage on it. If your car has very little mileage and is less than one year old, you are entitled to a diminished value claim which can be worth a few thousand dollars. You will want to have an attorney representing you for this portion of your case if you have a new car.
What claim number should you give your medical providers?
You should never give the defendant’s claim number to your chiropractor, physical therapists, etc. This gives the defendant insurance company and early view of your case and may increase phone calls pressuring you to settle your case. Only give your PIP claim number or medical insurance information to your medical providers.
Who should pay for your medical bills?
The defendant’s insurance company will pay for your medical bills, eventually. However, they will not pay for your medical bills up front unless you are hit by a car as a pedestrian, bicyclist, or were riding passenger in a car that was at fault for a collision. You must wait until you are fully healed and then the defendant’s insurance will settle with you for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering in one lump sum. They will never pay for you medical bills as you go and your bills will be sent to collections.
Who pays your medical bills right now then?
You have a couple of options to pay for your medical bills including your auto insurance policy persona injury protection plan, medical insurance, or pay them back on a lien basis out of the settlement.
Personal injury protection is an auto insurance policy that you can elect to have or not. Generally, it is $10,000 but some people elect to pay a little more for higher limits. Personal injury protection will cover your medical bills and lost wages. You do not need to have a referral from a medical doctor to see a physical therapist, chiropractor, etc., when using PIP, although it may help with your overall case.
Chiropractors can refer you to physical therapists, take x-rays, refer out for MRI’s, and refer you out to specialists. This is why starting with a chiropractor can be an excellent first stop to start your healing process after a car accident.
Medical insurance can be used for your car accident injury case to pay for medical bills right now while you are waiting to settle your case. Medical insurance often covers large hospital bills and other doctors’ appointments. However, medical insurance is not taken by some chiropractors. Additionally, most insurance plans do not include massage therapy or acupuncture, two types of therapy that really help people injured in car accidents heal faster.
Medical liens are a good option for those who do not have personal injury protection on their auto policy nor have medical insurance that is accepted by chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, etc. Most medical providers will allow you to obtain medical treatment on a lien basis as long as you have an attorney representing you for your car accident injury case. The medical providers will want you and your attorney to sign a lien that guarantees payment out of the settlement.
If you have any questions about your car accident injury case, please do not hesitate to reach out to me for a free consultation (206) 850-6716 or [email protected]. Hiring a personal injury lawyer does not mean filing a lawsuit but does mean maximizing the value of your case. Most cases do not need to go to trial but can be settled outside of court and usually within a couple months of you completing your treatment.