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Who Pays My Medical Bills if I am Hurt in a Car Accident?

In Minnesota, we have a law called the "Minnesota No-Fault Statute." (Minn. Stat. 65B.44). This law provides that all licensed vehicles must carry insurance. The portion that pays your medical bills is called "personal injury protection" or more commonly known as "no-fault" benefits.

The minimum coverage any insurance company can offer is $20,000 for medical care and an additional $20,000 for wage loss/replacement services (Next blog post will be...WHO PAYS MY WAGE LOSS IF I AM IN A CAR ACCIDENT AND AM HURT?). This is true even if you are a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or a passenger in someone else's car.  Your auto insurance (or potentially someone else's) will be responsible as long as a car is involved.

If you own multiple vehicles, you should ask your insurance company to "stack" the coverage. This can double, triple, or even quadruple the amount of no-fault benefits available to you (2 cars-$40,000; 3 cars-$60,000; 4 cars-$80,000, etc.). Stacking is generally a smart thing to do. If you have not stacked your coverage, you should strongly consider talking to your agent and adding that additional coverage. Your agent is supposed to offer that coverage when they sold your  policy. (Minn. Stat. 65B.47, Subd. 7).

Unfortunately, as insurance companies go, no-fault benefits are often denied. Typically, the no-fault insurance carrier (usually your own insurance company) will send you to one of their select doctors that will question your need for medical treatment. The doctor's opinion is used to deny your claim. Fortunately, in Minnesota, we have a relatively streamlined process through the AAA (American Arbitration Association) that provides for a fairly quick and cheap resolution to disputes for no-fault benefits under $10,000. (See https://www.adr.org/mnnofault.) Obviously, it is important to challenge a denial earlier rather than later so you can take advantage of the arbitration process rather than have to start a lawsuit in district court if the amount is in excess of $10,000.

If you have been hurt in a car accident and have questions about claims that you can make against the other driver that caused the accident or any of the no-fault benefits as discussed above, please contact us by telephone or online. In our next blog post,  we will discuss wage loss when you are hurt in a car accident cannot work.

For more information on insurance coverage, click here for a prior blog on the subject.

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