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Who pays for medical bills in a car accident?

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by Kevin DeMello, esq.

Although in Massachusetts the system is supposed to ensure that everyone has health insurance, the reality is that many people fall through the cracks. Fortunately, there is some coverage available to anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident. It is called Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, and every driver in Massachusetts is required by law to carry it. PIP provides up to $8,000 of coverage for medical bills, lost wages, or co-payments related to an automobile accident. Often, however, $8,000 of PIP coverage is simply not enough. If you do not have health insurance, visit http://www.mahealthconnector.org, where you can apply for state-sponsored coverage or purchase subsidized health insurance if you qualify. In either case, PIP coverage will be involved in paying some or all of your medical bills. Massachusetts General Laws c. 90 s. 34m governs how PIP money is apportioned.

PIP is also available pay for 75% of lost wages that result from your automobile accident. If you expect to miss time from work for an extended period of time, it is important to notify the PIP insurance carrier to withhold payment of medical bills to reserve the entire $8,000 coverage for lost wages. This is especially important because health care providers will submit their bills directly to the PIP carrier, who will usually issue payments without checking with the injured person. As a result, it is often very easy for the entire $8,000 of coverage to be exhausted before a claim for lost wages is even made. Again, however, the $8,000 of coverage is often not sufficient to cover someone out of work for an extended period of time. In such cases, contact the Department of Transitional Assistance, or DTA at 617-348-8500. In many cases, the DTA can provide assistance to persons out of work as a result of an automobile accident.

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