Medical expenses after a serious motor vehicle accident can accumulate quickly, adding another layer of stress to an already tumultuous situation. How will you pay medical bills when you are already strapped for cash and unable to work?
For residents of New York State, your car crash-related medical expenses should be covered by no-fault insurance. This insurance coverage is designed to pay for hospital and medical bills, without the need for assigning liability or pursuing litigation.
All drivers in New York are required to purchase no-fault insurance, which covers principle drivers, passengers, or pedestrians who are injured.
No-fault insurance coverage in New York
No-fault insurance is beneficial in that it is automatically provided regardless of who is responsible for the auto accident. The downside is that $50,000 is the maximum payout for medical costs, unless you had the foresight to purchase additional coverage.
No-fault policies are intended to cover “necessary” expenses such as:
- Ambulance service
- ER fees for initial medical assessment
- Diagnostic tests such as MRIs, ultrasound, and X-rays
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- Vocational rehabilitation
- At-home nursing care
- Mobility devices
In the wake of an accident – especially one that results in bodily injury – it’s prudent to have a skilled New York personal injury lawyer review the language of your policy to see if you have additional coverage and/or avenues of recovery.
Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green can play a pivotal role in protecting your rights after a car accident. It doesn’t take long to exhaust no-fault accident benefits, which is why it’s important to have a strong legal ally on your side.
Tapping into health insurance
If you receive Medicare or Medicaid and you have already tapped out your no-fault insurance, both entities will cover a portion of the remaining medical and hospital bills. However, Medicaid and Medicare are not universally accepted, and if you end up suing another party and recover a settlement, they can demand reimbursement on all claims paid. The same is true for medical claims paid by a privately-owned health insurance company.
In the event that you are filing a personal injury lawsuit against a third-party, another option is to request a medical lien from your doctors and health care providers on your pending settlement. This is an effective stop-gap that gives claimants access to medical treatment they would otherwise not be able to afford. The healthcare provider agrees to waive their fees until a settlement or damage award is secured.
Eligibility to file an injury lawsuit
In order to file an injury claim against another party and bypass the no-fault system, you must prove that you meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold. New York defines serious injury as:
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of an organ or body member
- A significant limitation of a bodily system or function
- Any non-permanent injury that prevents one from performing daily responsibilities and routines for at least 3 months in the 180 days following the accident
While most of these injuries are clear cut and easy to understand, others may need additional clarification from your attorney. In some cases, injuries involving soft tissues or vertebral discs can meet the serious injury threshold.
Explore your rights after a car accident
Outstanding medical bills should be the least of your concerns when you’re struggling to recover your health. A knowledgeable New York City car accident attorney can review your case and explain the process for getting your medical bills paid.
If you were hurt in a crash and want to explore your legal options and rights to compensation, reach out to Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators and know how to maximize the compensation to which you are rightfully entitled.
We have procured millions of dollars for injured clients over the years and are eager to put our expertise and resources to work for you.