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Dealing with Insurance Companies

In general, the best policy is to not provide insurance companies with blanket medical authorizations as this gives them permission to examine all your medical history to gather potential ammunition for denying your claim due to a pre-existing condition.

Who Pays the Medical Bills due to Injuries from an Auto Accident?

There are several possible sources to pay your medical bills. If your car insurance coverage includes personal injury protection, it can pay for both medical bills and any lost wages. Normally this coverage is available no matter who is charged with fault for the crash. Without PIP coverage, your regular health insurance may pay for medical expenses. Keep in mind, if health coverage pays for medical bills and you settle a claim with another party, you may have to pay the health insurance company for the amount they have paid. The company’s right to be repaid after receiving a settlement from an individual found negligent is subrogation. Recently, the Texas Supreme Court set a precedent favoring this practice, giving Texas health insurance companies a strong right of subrogation; however, a recent statute has made it easier for injured victims to lower the subrogation amount claimed by health insurance companies.  The state of New Mexico provides greater protection for the auto accident victim from the health insurance company in subrogation claims. The negligent driver’s insurance company may have the responsibility of covering past and future expenses for medical care due to the wreck, up to the limits of the driver’s insurance policy; however, this payment depends on finding the other driver to be liable for the collision and damage.

If your coverage includes personal injury protection, it should be used first in paying medical bills as it normally does not require you to repay it.

Unlike many other El Paso Personal Injury law firms, Attorney S. Clark Harmonson of Harmonson Law does not charge clients who collect PIP.

Is There Help for Individuals Without Health Insurance or PIP who are Unable to Pay Medical Bills?

Your auto accident attorney is often helpful in preventing collection efforts and making arrangements for covering medical costs once the case is settled. In addition, many health providers offer services to the individual based on a letter of protection (LOP), which is your agreement to pay for their services from the auto accident settlement claim. S. Clark Harmonson of the Harmonson Law Firm is an El Paso Personal Injury Lawyer who has good working relationships with many of the local providers that treat clients based on the LOP.

How Much PIP Insurance Should be Purchased?

It is best to purchase the largest amount possible to receive the greatest protection in covering medical bills as well as lost wages if an accident occurs.

Do Insurance Companies Automatically Pay Claims for UM/UIM accidents?

No. Even the insurance company you pay sometimes asserts defenses against claims by disputing the injuries as well as medical treatment. If this happens, you may qualify for a bad faith case against the insurance carrier. Laws in Texas as well as New Mexico include specific provisions in the statutes to deal with unfair practices on the part of insurance companies. Additionally, common law imposes insurance companies with a duty to deal with their clients in good faith and fairly.

What About UM/UIM?

As with PIP, it is important to purchase the largest amount of UM/UIM coverage possible to receive the greatest protection whine involved with “hit and run” drivers or with drivers who do not carry coverage or have the minimum amount of liability allowed.

What can be done if the Insurance Company Denies a Claim?

Policy holders may be able to file a lawsuit against their insurer for Insurance Code violations. This code is a part of the Consumer Protection Act, and the suit would be for breach of good faith duty and fair dealing or for breach of contract. Personal Injury Attorney S. Clark Harmonson of El Paso’s Harmonson Law Firm has experience in these types of claims for Texas clients as well as those in New Mexico.

What Can You Expect From an Insurance Adjuster?

While the insurance adjuster may be friendly, he or she is not your friend and not concerned with ensuring you receive just compensation for injuries. His or her concerns are protecting the negligent driver as well as ensuring you receive the least amount of money possible to settle the claim.

If the Insurance Company Compensates for Damage to the Car, Do They Automatically Compensate for Injuries and Medical Bills?

No, the insurance company’s goal is to pay as little as possible on any claim. In addition, many companies assign one adjuster to the property damage and a separate one to deal with injuries. This firm does not charge clients a fee to assist with property damage settlements.

The information in this brochure is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for specific legal advice.  Nothing herein shall constitute or create an attorney-client relationship.  Please feel free to contact our El Paso Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation about your Texas or New Mexico car accident claim.
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