So, you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident and been injured. Now what? What do you do about your medical bills? What about your lost wages? What about the damage to your vehicle? These are important questions that demand answers.
The answer starts before the auto accident. It’s starts with the day that you purchased your motor vehicle coverage. Many consumers are buying insurance online and don’t have the full benefit of an insurance agent or broker. They don’t get the “old fashioned” insurance in person consultation. Cheapest is not always best, especially when it comes to protecting your rights and security through insurance coverage.
First Party Benefits are insurance coverage to protect you and your family. Pennsylvania requires drivers to carry First Party Benefits. The term “First Party” is legal speak for you the policyholder. These are medical and other benefits for you, regardless of fault. The minimum coverage in Pennsylvania is $5000. This means that this is the maximum payment per person, per incident. You have the option to obtain higher coverage. This could be particularly important if you do not have health insurance. If you do not have health insurance coverage, you should obtain higher coverage so that your medical bills get paid in the unfortunate event of a motor vehicle accident.
Other options are also available: accidental death, funeral, extraordinary medical benefits and income loss. Again, these are benefits payable to you as the policyholder. While there are limits to this type of coverage, The Patberg Law Firm highly recommends that you evaluate additional coverages. This will require additional premiums but could provide key financial support during a stressful and traumatic moment in your life. You do not want to have to wait for the other driver’s insurance carrier to make payment! This could take weeks or months or even years.
After contacting the police, the first step when you are in a motor vehicle accident is to contact YOUR insurance company. This can be done through your agent, through information on your insurance policy or even on the insurance carrier’s website. You should do this immediately. The insurance carrier will then send you a First Party Benefits application and authorizations for medical and wage information. You should complete those and submit them to your insurance carrier. This is coverage you paid for and are entitled to.
All healthcare provider’s bills must be forwarded directly to your insurance carrier for payment. If the insurance carrier wishes to challenge those bills, they must use a PRO or peer review organization to confirm that the services are reasonable and medically necessary.
The Patberg Law Firm recommends that you obtain at least $10,000 in coverage. This coverage can be obtained for a minimal increase in premiums and will further protect you from amassing large medical bills. After these benefits are exhausted, your personal health insurance should then step in and pay the medical bills.
If you have questions about your insurance coverage before or after a motor vehicle accident, you can contact Attorney Rolf Patberg at the Patberg Law Firm at 412-232-3500 or email Attorney Patberg at Rpatberg@patberglawfirm.com. This is a free service provided by the Patberg Law Firm, which is located in Pittsburgh’s historic Deutchtown neighborhood and travels anywhere in Pennsylvania to serve its clients. Home and hospital visits available.
Next issue: Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage in Pennsylvania.