If you have been injured in an auto collision, there is a tangle of insurance coverage issues it is important for you to get right.
If someone else caused the collision and you suffered a significant injury, you have the right to make a personal injury claim against the insurance policy of the car’s driver and/or owner. But resolving that claim should wait until your recovery is complete or long-term consequences well understood. That often takes a year or more.
If the at-fault driver is uninsured, or does not carry enough coverage, Minnesota law requires that your own insurance have benefits that you can claim. This uninsured/underinsured coverage helps compensate the injured party when a driver is uninsured or underinsured.
Minnesota requires that all car owners carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage with a minimum of $20,000 medical expenses and a separate $20,000 for economic losses, including lost income (capped at $500 per week). That PIP benefit under your own policy pays no matter who is at fault and pays right away.
Medical bills go to your auto insurer first
It is important from the very first ambulance bill and emergency room visit that the medical charges are billed to your auto insurer, not your health insurer. Your PIP coverage is primary for crash-related injuries.
If your PIP medical benefit exhausts, only then should you turn to your health insurance to cover the bills. Nearly all health insurers request that you repay benefits paid when you achieve a settlement or verdict (called “subrogation”). Not all subrogation claims are owed, and the amount can often be reduced through negotiation by an experienced attorney.
If you are eligible for Medicare, or if the collision occurred while you were working and is covered by workers’ compensation, that adds additional complications.
These insurance coverage issues can be complex, and a mistake can cost you a lot. If you have been injured in a collision, it is best to get skilled legal representation right away. We nearly always accept injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no attorneys’ fee unless you are successful recovering from the at-fault party. In other words, there is no good reason to delay in getting an attorney involved on your side right away.