Who pays my medical bills if I'm injured in a car accident? | No-Fault Series, Part 1: Medical BillsMay. 3, 2022
If I am injured in a car accident in Minnesota, who will pay my medical bills?
No-Fault Series, Part 1: Medical Bills
By Melissa Heinlein, Esq.
Most of my clients that have been injured in a car accident have a lot of questions about how their initial medical bills are going to be paid and how the insurance process works. This is part 1 of a 4 part series about no-fault automobile benefits, All car insurance polices in Minnesota must provide a certain thresholds of benefits to you through your own automobile policy. These make up your no-fault or personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. Below is a discussion about the medical benefit component of those benefits.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, as a Minnesota resident, you have robust coverage built into your auto insurance. Minnesota Statute 65B.44 requires auto insurers to provide a minimum of $20,000.00 for medical expenses resulting from an accident-related injury. This means that regardless of your carrier, and regardless of whether you were at fault for the accident, you have access to that medical coverage through your PIP benefits. This can include medical, surgical, x-ray, optical, dental, chiropractic, rehabilitative services, prescription drugs, prosthetic devices, and ambulance or other necessary transportation to receive care.
Of course, there are some guidelines you must keep in mind. Auto insurers are obligated to cover accident-related care that is reasonable and necessary. Use your common sense and carefully follow your doctor's recommendations. Think in terms of what will be shown in your medical records. If it is clearly stated in your medical records that your doctor ordered a certain kind of care, like physical therapy or occupational therapy, then your insurance company will be hard-pressed to prove that the care wasn't reasonable or necessary.
Insurance companies are in the business of making a profit, and they will look for reasons to cut off your medical benefits. Following your doctor's recommendations is key in showing your insurance company that every step you're taking is reasonable and necessary... and would not be happening if not for the accident!
Ultimately, where you pursue treatment is your choice. Your insurer cannot require you to go to a specific facility. When your no-fault claim is opened, you receive a claim number that can be used for your treatment at any medical office or hospital. Your own personal health insurance should not be used so long as you are still eligible for PIP medical benefits and the $20,000 limit has not been met.
Many folks who suffer soft tissue injuries of the back and neck (common in rear-end collisions) find chiropractic care to be a great source of relief. Minnesota's no-fault statute recognizes the value of chiropractic care, listing it as an essential form of treatment that must be covered so long as it is reasonable and necessary. That said, the way insurance companies view chiropractic treatment is not as favorable as how they view treatment from a MD (Medical Doctor). For your claim to be evaluated and compensated fairly, we highly recommend that you see a MD as soon as possible following the accident. The strongest claims feature a doctor's diagnosis of your injury or injuries in the immediate aftermath of the accident, as it is the best possible proof that the injury was directly caused by the auto accident.
You should continue to follow up with your primary care provider as long as you are treating for accident-related injuries, not just for the benefit of your personal injury case, but for your best recovery outcome.
If you have been injured in a car accident and have questions about what benefits you are entitled to through your no-fault benefits, please call for a free consultation. I would be happy to discuss your concerns. At Lord + Heinlein, we are your powerful legal voice.