When Your Car Insurance Isn’t Enough for Your Medical Bills
The advice still remains. You need to check your car insurance policy before you’re hurt in a car accident. The frightening truth is that you might not have enough coverage for your medical bills.
A Supreme Court case decided earlier this year made this revelation even more critical. Among other things, PIP benefits pay for your medical bills. You could save a few dollars and opt for just $15K policy limits.
So, what’s the problem with choosing a small amount of coverage? Truth be told, that amount of money can be easily fade away with just a hospital visit and some standard tests. Meanwhile, you’ll be fuming if you find out you can’t even sue the person who caused your accident.
You may or may not know of the Limitation on Lawsuits option on your policy. It’s exactly as it sounds. You save money on your coverage by agreeing to only pursue a lawsuit if your injuries fall within certain guidelines.
It was a bit of a Catch 22. The Supreme Court case consolidated two cases where the injured parties only had access to $15K in PIP coverage. Both of the victims had enough medical treatment that maxed out their policy limits.
The two plaintiffs had something else in common. Neither of them met the criteria outlined in the statute describing compensable injuries. Likewise, both blamed their accidents on someone else.
However, the Supreme Court disagreed with their contention that the negligent parties needed to pay the amounts over the $15K. After all, the victims could have purchased $250K in PIP coverage.
New Law Says Medical Bills are Eligible for Payment
The Legislature acted within a matter of months after the Supreme Court decision came down. The case claimed that the law was unclear. How could someone be expected to pay medical bills in a system that was designed as no-fault insurance?
The ruling said that the decision to take limited coverage shouldn’t turn New Jersey’s system into one based on fault. Therefore, it disallowed lawsuits strictly based on medical bill reimbursement for anything over $15K and less than $250K.
The good news is that the Legislature’s new statutory amendments change the law. You can sue for outstanding medical bills. And, providers can’t attempt to collect additional money for you as long as they abide by the NJ PIP rate schedule.
While all of this sounds great, there’s something to keep in mind. You should find the extra dollars and max out your PIP coverage. What happens if you’re hurt because of something you did wrong?