Legal Insights & Articles

How to Pay Your Medical Bills Following an Auto Accident in Washington State

As the summer months approach, more people are taking to the roads to travel and enjoy the warmer weather. With more cars on the road, it’s pretty much a given that more car accidents will occur. If you suffer an injury in an auto accident in Washington state, you’ll likely be faced with costly medical bills. During this economically uncertain time, it’s especially important to understand your options for repaying your medical bills. Although Washington drivers are not required by law to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, many people decide to opt for coverage. If you have PIP insurance, let’s take a look at whether you should use your PIP insurance or your health insurance to pay for your medical bills following the car accident.

Use PIP Insurance First

If you have PIP insurance, you’ll want to use these benefits before you seek coverage from your health insurance. At a minimum, PIP insurance allows policy holders to claim up to $10,000 for “reasonable and necessary medical costs.” Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, your PIP coverage can help you cover the costs of your medical bills caused by the injuries you sustained. You have up to three years after the accident occurs to claim these benefits. 

If You Need More Coverage, Use Your Health Insurance

In some cases, the PIP insurance benefits may cover all the necessary medical costs incurred by your injury. However, there are times when your injuries may be more severe and require extensive or expensive treatments. Once you’ve exhausted the $10,000 afforded to you under your PIP insurance coverage, you can turn to your health insurance to help you with the remaining costs. It’s important to recognize that you cannot “double-dip,” or request that both your car insurance and health insurance pay the full amount at the same time. Use your PIP benefits first, then turn to your health insurance for assistance with any remaining costs.

Seek Help When You Need It

If you don’t have PIP insurance, you can ask your health insurance carrier about your benefits. Whether your insurance is through your employer, a health savings plan, or a government program—such as Medicare or Medicaid—you should contact your provider to understand your options. The healing process following a car accident can be difficult, as it involves your physical and financial recovery. That’s why the dedicated and compassionate personal injury attorneys at Henderson Taylor Law Firm remain committed to helping clients throughout Clark County receive the personalized legal services they need. Call our Vancouver office today at (360) 737-1478 to schedule a consultation.