Who Pays for Medical Bills after a Car Accident in Massachusetts?
The last thing anyone wants to think about after a car accident is who is going to pay their medical bills. Massachusetts is what is known as a “no fault” state, which means that even if you are at-fault for an accident, you can still have your medical bills paid. Regardless of fault, each driver’s auto insurance company will pay for a portion of their respective drivers’ medical bills.
Personal Injury Protection benefits, also known as PIP, are required as a part of any Massachusetts auto insurance policy. PIP benefits cover your medical bills, lost wages and other related expenses arising out of an accident up to $8,000. However, if you have private health insurance and your medical bills exceed $2,000, the excess should be submitted to your health insurance carrier. Any bills not paid by your health insurance should then be resubmitted back to the car insurance company for payment. This includes and co-pays and deductibles not paid for by your health insurance.
If you have to miss time from work as a result of the accident, PIP will also cover up to 75% of your average weekly lost wages based on the 12 months immediately preceding the accident. This is of course as long as you were not paid by your employer and you did not already meet your PIP maximum.
Since Massachusetts is a no-fault state, there are only specific circumstances in which you can seek financial compensation, such as pain and suffering, from the at-fault driver. An injured party may only file a lawsuit seeking damages for personal injury and pain and suffering if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Reasonable and necessary expenses exceeding $2,000 for the treatment of injuries related to the accident;
- A broken or fractured bone;
- Permanent or serious disfigurement;
- Amputation of a limb;
- Loss of sight or hearing; or
Massachusetts has adopted the rule of modified comparative fault. Under this rule the plaintiff is barred from recovering any damages if his or her negligence exceeds that of the Defendant. Therefore, in order for you to prevail against the at-fault driver you must prove that you are 50% or less to blame for the accident. However, the Plaintiff’s reward is reduced in proportion to their negligence. An example of this is if the plaintiff was awarded $100,000 in damages, but found to be 25% at fault. In this instance the plaintiff may still recover, however the award would be reduced to $75,000.
It is important to remember though that there are time limits in which you may file your personal injury lawsuit. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for injuries arising out of a car accident is 3 years from the date of the accident.
The type of injury you sustained can be a critical factor in how long it takes to settle your claim. Depending on the severity of your injuries, it could take anywhere from a few months to a few years to settle your claim. In order to ensure that you are receiving maximum compensation, it is recommended that you settle your personal injury claim only once you have made a full recovery or you have a firm medical prognosis in place. The reason for this is because once you have settled your claim, no further compensation can be paid later. Therefore, if you were to settle before you made a full recovery or knew the extent of your injuries, you risk settling your claim for less than you deserve.
DelSignore Law will be by your side after your car accident
If you or a family member has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering. At DelSignore Law we will advocate for your position with the insurance company, and help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 781-686-5924. We can go over your case with you and explain whatever options you might have.