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Auto Accident FAQ
More Information and Answers to a Commonly Asked Questions:
What is PIP?
Personal injury protection (PIP) is no fault coverage similar to health insurance but on your auto policy for your injuries and your passengers injuries. This coverage is available regardless who is at fault. Yes, you can be the cause of the accident and you will still be covered. There’s no deductible and no co-payment. There is other separate coverage that will cover the other party if you were at fault. You may also be covered if you were hit in a crosswalk by a car or on a bicycle or borrowing someone else’s car.
Do I have (PIP)?
The Massachusetts Department of Insurance requires automobile insurance carriers in our state to issue all automobile policies it writes at least $2000 worth of coverage. Most people are unaware of this coverage or even know what it is and therefore very few people use it. You end up paying for coverage that they don’t inform you about and you’re entitled to.
Why? Insurance is not understood and most people rely on their agent and claims adjusters to advise them on what to do after an automobile accident. Insurance is a multi-billion dollar industry and they are in business to make money. Like all businesses they are trying to keep their costs down. Your treatment is a cost to them. So, what is Good for them may not necessarily be Good for You.
What will a claim do to my insurance rates and policy renewal?
If you are not at fault your insurance policy and rates remain the same.
If you are at fault, MA insurance code does not allow an automobile insurance carrier to immediately drop you from their policy for filing one PIP claim. They have the right not to renew your policy, but this is uncommon in most circumstances. Your insurance carrier may raise your rates 5% for a sole PIP claim.
Why doesn’t the other guy’s insurance pay for my medical expenses and why should I use my insurance?
Massachusetts is what they call a “non-fault” state. That means your automobile insurance company covers your medical expenses and the other automobile insurance company covers there medical expenses. Or, you no one is at fault in regards to medical expenses. That makes sense, you pay for your insurance they should cover your medical costs.
Why Do I Have To Use My Automobile Insurance to Pay for Treatment ?
Can’t I Just Use my Health Insurance.
The simple answer is NO. The Massachusetts law requires treatment resulting from an automobile accident first bill to your automobile insurer. You’re health insurance benefits may be coordinated after the PIP and/or Med Pay limits been that. If by accident or inexperience you’re health insurance is billed first and finds out that you were in an accident they could request to be reimbursed form you.
My Attorney Says He’s Taking Care of All the Bills?
Good Attorneys helped negotiate payment for many of your bills. However, they did not submit or process medical bills. That is done solely at the treatment facility. Our office does all the billing and coordinating of your benefits. We use the latest Electronic Medical Records and Electronic Billing Software to make sure this process happens quickly and correctly.
Why should I have to pay for my medical bills out of my settle?
In most cases you should not have to. If the treatment facility used for your automobile accident provided the necessary information, properly submitted bills in a timely manner and used professional collecting techniques with your insurance company there should be no problem and no balance. However, in some cases your automobile insurance Company may denied coverage. We have experience in collecting in such cases. We hole the insurance company responsible all necessary and reasonable treatment expenses. When necessary, we use our own legal apartment attorneys to protect your rights and collect any outstanding balances on your behalf.
The Four Phases of a Whiplash Injury
During a rear-end automobile collision, your body goes through an extremely rapid and intense acceleration and deceleration. In fact, all four phases of a whiplash injury occur in less than one-half of a second! At each phase, there is a different force acting on the body that contributes to the overall injury, and with such a sudden and forceful movement, damage to the vertebrae, nerves, discs, muscles, and ligaments of your neck and spine can be substantial.
During this first phase, your car begins to be pushed out from under you, causing your mid-back to be flattened against the back of your seat. This results in an upward force in your cervical spine, compressing your discs and joints. As your seat back begins to accelerate your torso forward, your head moves backward, creating a shearing force in your neck. If your head restraint is properly adjusted, the distance your head travels backward is limited. However, most of the damage to the spine will occur before your head reaches your head restraint. Studies have shown that head restraints only reduce the risk of injury by 11-20%.
During phase two, your torso has reached peak acceleration – 1.5 to 2 times that of your vehicle itself – but your head has not yet begun to accelerate forward and continues to move rearward. An abnormal S-curve develops in your cervical spine as your seat back recoils forward, much like a springboard, adding to the forward acceleration of the torso. Unfortunately, this forward seat back recoil occurs while your head is still moving backward, resulting in a shearing force in the neck that is one of the more damaging aspects of a whiplash injury. Many of the bone, joint, nerve, disc and TMJ injuries that I see clinically occur during this phase.
During the third phase, your torso is now descending back down in your seat and your head and neck are at their peak forward acceleration. At the same time, your car is slowing down. If you released the pressure on your brake pedal during the first phases of the collision, it will likely be reapplied during this phase. Reapplication of the brake causes your car to slow down even quicker and increases the severity of the flexion injury of your neck. As you move forward in your seat, any slack in your seat belt and shoulder harness is taken up.
This is probably the most damaging phase of the whiplash phenomenon. In this fourth phase, your torso is stopped by your seat belt and shoulder restraint and your head is free to move forward unimpeded. This results in a violent forward-bending motion of your neck, straining the muscles and ligaments, tearing fibers in the spinal discs, and forcing vertebrae out of their normal position. Your spinal cord and nerve roots get stretched and irritated, and your brain can strike the inside of your skull causing a mild to moderate brain injury. If you are not properly restrained by your seat harness, you may suffer a concussion, or more severe brain injury, from striking the steering wheel or windshield.