Dealing With Medical Expenses From A Motorcycle Accident
by Steven M. Bialick, Attorney at Law,
When a motorcycle driver is injured in an accident in Minnesota and receives treatment, there is often confusion regarding who should pay the medical bills. Healthcare providers and health plans often assume that the insurance coverage on the motorcycle is responsible for paying the bills. However, that assumption is often wrong.
In Minnesota, the law treats motorcycle accidents differently than car accidents. For example, medical benefits coverage is required for insurance policies that insure cars, but it is optional coverage for motorcycle policies. Even if medical coverage is elected under a motorcycle policy, the limit of that coverage is often less than medical coverage available under car insurance.
The following is a checklist for payment of medical expenses, which might be useful if you are injured while driving your motorcycle in Minnesota:
• First, check your motorcycle insurance policy to see if there is medical benefits coverage and, if so, what the limit of that coverage is. If there is coverage, have your medical bills submitted to that insurer, until the policy limit is exhausted.
• Next, if there is no medical benefits coverage under your motorcycle insurance policy or if the policy limit for that coverage is exhausted, and if you are covered by a health plan, have your medical bills submitted to the health plan. Make sure you meet all the requirements of the health plan such as going to healthcare providers that are covered by the plan and getting any necessary approvals or referrals that are required by the plan. You should also be mindful of any deductibles, co-pays, and exclusions under the plan.
• Generally, you will be responsible for paying any medical expenses not paid by your motorcycle insurance policy or a health plan. However, you can sometimes negotiate with healthcare providers for a reduction of the amounts you owe.
• If someone else was at fault for the accident, and if their fault was equal to, or greater than, any fault attributable to you, they and their insurers might be responsible for some or all of your medical expenses. This might be true even if the expenses were already paid by your motorcycle insurance, your health plan, or you.
Generally insurers for someone else will not pay for your medical expenses on a piecemeal basis. They will usually only pay a lump sum to settle all your injury claims.
Please note that, depending on the circumstances and language in your policy or health plan, your motorcycle insurance and health plan might claim the right to be reimbursed for medical expenses they paid if someone else was at fault for the accident.
• You should also be aware that there are different priorities for payment of medical expenses if the accident occurred while you were in the course of your employment and you are covered by workers compensation benefits.
Since this is a complicated area of the law, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident to determine what rights you might have and what statutes of limitations and other deadlines might be applicable.
Steven M. Bialick has been in the private practice of law since 1980. He practices in the areas of personal injury law and dispute resolution, and his office is located in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
This article is intended to provide general information only, and is not legal advice or a legal opinion on any certain facts or circumstances. Readers are encouraged to consult with an attorney on any specific legal questions or matters.