Your Auto Insurance Company Is Liable for the Bills
In general, under the Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) portion of your automobile insurance policy, your auto insurer is “liable to pay benefits for accidental bodily injury arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle.” Among those benefits are payment of medical bills related to the accident.
What If I Was Driving Someone Else’s Car?
The same general rule applies. Even if you were permissively driving someone else’s motor vehicle at the time of an accident, your own automobile insurer at the time of the accident is responsible for covering the medical expenses.
What If I Don’t Have Insurance? The Order of Priority.
If you did not own a car covered by auto insurance at the time of an accident and sustained injury while either permissively operating another person’s vehicle or riding as a passenger, there are multiple possibilities as to which auto insurer is on the hook for those bills.
To address these situations, the Michigan No-Fault Act sets forth an order of priority that identifies which insurance company is liable for a victim’s PIP benefits as a result of an automobile accident. In general, the order of priority is as follows:
First: auto insurer of the injured driver or passenger
Second: auto insurer of the injured driver or passenger’s spouse
Third: auto insurer of a relative of the injured driver or passenger who is domiciled in the same household, also referred to as a “resident relative
What If No Automobile Insurance Is Available? The Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.
If none of the scenarios set forth in the preceding section apply to an auto accident victim, then he or she would next apply for PIP benefits through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (“MACP”).
The MACP was established by the State of Michigan in 1973 to provide financial assistance to people injured in an accident but have no insurance available. In those cases, the MACP will assign a claimant to a Michigan insurance company that participates in the plan to help cover the benefits.
Is There a Time Limit to Bring a Claim for PIP Benefits?
Yes. In general, you must bring a claim for PIP benefits against the applicable auto insurance company within one (1) year from the date of an accident. Though there are certain exceptions.
For example, if you have provided notice to your insurance company of an auto accident within a year of its occurrence and the they initially pay your PIP benefits, you then have one (1) year from the date any outstanding charges were incurred to bring a claim.
What If My Health Insurance Paid the Medical Bills? The Health Insurance Lien.
After an auto accident, it is very common for certain medical expenses such as an ambulance or hospital ER visit to be billed to the victim’s health insurer. Whether it’s Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare, Medicaid or another related health plan, in most cases the health insurer is going to have a right to be reimbursed for any payments it makes towards medical treatment related to the accident. This is known as an enforceable right of subrogation or an insurance lien.
Should you fail to timely bring a claim against your auto insurer following an accident and your health insurer has paid for such treatment, you could potentially be personally responsible for repayment of that lien.
IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT AND ARE WORRIED ABOUT MEDICAL BILLS, CONTACT US AT MACOMB INJURY LAWYERS SO WE CAN PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS.
CALL US TODAY AT (586) 333-3000 TO SPEAK WITH ONE OF OUR EXPERIENCED ATTORNEYS. WE CAN HELP!