No matter who is at fault, car accidents are emotionally jarring and exceptionally dangerous. Regardless of who is at fault for the accident, it is important to understand how your first-party benefits work.
Fortunately, Pennsylvania is a “no-fault” state. What this means is that when there is an auto accident, we as Pennsylvanians will first turn to our car insurance policy regardless of who is at fault.
Every car insurance policy in Pennsylvania must have at least $5,000.00 in these first-party benefits.
These benefits are considered primary benefits and are to be used until they are exhausted. In practical terms, that means that these benefits are available and should be used for any accident related medical treatment.
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This, of course, is great news for anyone who may not have health insurance to otherwise cover their medical expenses. For those who do have health insurance, use of these first-party benefits means that any co-payments which that would otherwise be due for under typical circumstances will not be due.
Where to Access the Benefits
The auto insurance laws in Pennsylvania are written to maximize availability to these first-party benefits.
This means that even if an individual themselves does not have their own car insurance policy, there will still likely be an avenue to access first-party benefits. There is a priority order as to which policy an individual will collect their first party benefits from.
First, you would collect from a personal auto insurance policy if you have one.
Second, if you do not have your own insurance policy, you collect under any policy that you may be considered an “insured.”
Under the insurance laws, that includes those household relatives. So, if you live with your parents and do not have your own personal policy, then you would collect under your parents. This also extends to siblings or even grandparents if they reside in your household.
Third, if the first two are unavailable and you were a passenger in a vehicle, then you would collect your first-party benefits from the driver’s policy.
Finally, if all of the above are unavailable and you get hit by a car as a pedestrian, you would collect your first-party benefits from the policy covering the car that hit you.
How to use the Benefits
Once you or an attorney determines from what policy your first-party benefits will be sourced, a claim for those benefits needs to be made.
This is often as simple as calling the insurance company to explain what happened and informing them that a medical claim needs to be opened. A claim number will be provided, which can be given to your medical providers for them to bill.
Any further information the insurance company may need to provide the benefits will be communicated to you or to your attorney.
Recovering compensation after an automobile accident.
If you or a loved one were injured in an automobile accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Berger and Green. Our attorneys will provide you with a free no-obligation consultation to evaluate your case. Call 412-661-1400 to speak with an attorney today.
Since the insurance process can be rather complex, it is always beneficial to have a personal injury attorney working on your case. The attorneys at Berger and Green will make sure you get the compensation you deserve.