Monday, November 22, 2010

Paying for Medical Help After an Auto Accident

 

If you have sustained an injury in a King County automobile accident, the first thing you ought to do is go to the emergency room to get the medical attention you need. As a Renton injury lawyer, I have personally witnessed the detrimental effects that not immediately seeing a doctor can have, both on a person's wellness and on their accident case as well. Most of the time, people don't have a good understanding of the insurance claims process, and how the car insurance they have purchased can help them immediately pay for their medical bills. To make sure you are prepared in case you happen to be in an accident, it is important to have a good understanding of what you should do when dealing with your insurance company.
Once you have received any treatment you may have needed from the emergency room after an accident, you should notify your car insurance company immediately and open up a PIP claim. PIP is short for “personal injury protection,” and if you do not have it already, you should immediately purchase as much coverage as you can afford. PIP coverage is no-fault coverage, and therefore even if you caused the accident, it will still pay for your recovery. I can’t tell you how many times throughout my career as a Bellevue auto accident lawyer that I have witnessed PIP coverage essentially save my clients. A lot of people fear that by opening up a PIP claim, they're going to see their rates drastically increase, but there is actually a law in the state of Washington that prevents this from happening. Because of this, you don't need to fear that opening up a claim will cost you in the long run.
Your insurance company doesn’t just let people make claims without a fight, though. They will likely send you to see a doctor of their choice at some point with the goal of cutting off your PIP coverage. The doctor makes a lot of money every year taking in patients from insurance companies. Because of this relationship, they are inclined to say that you are no longer injured – which allows the insurance company to cut off your claim. This procedure is called an “independent medical examination,” or IME, but there is nothing independent about it. Despite this, it is important that you show up for the appointment and are 100% honest with the doctor at all times.

You may still feel like you need medical help after the insurance company cuts off your PIP, in which case you will need to go through your normal healthcare provider. If the accident was someone else’s fault, then you can still get this paid for eventually if you have filed a claim against their insurance company. At this point, it is a good idea to seek a free consultation from a seasoned Bellevue car accident lawyer to see if you need representation.



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