Leonardo Angiulo: Auto Accidents + Recovering Damages
Monday, June 30, 2014
Let's say you find yourself as the passenger in a car like this. What happens next? What do you do? Let's say you are hypothetically facing a catastrophic injury. You take an ambulance ride and you get yourself to the hospital. Thanks to modern medicine, there is a fair chance that you are going to live. Of course, for many people it's only after they are sure they will live that they learn how much work their recovery is going to take. And just like anything else worth doing, recovering back to full health can be an expensive and time-consuming proposition.
Massachusetts happens to be a compulsory insurance coverage state. This means, chances are, both the car you would have been riding in and the car that struck yours will have insurance. Now I think we can all agree that no one likes having to pay for auto insurance. It probably seems like just another thing that you never use but have to shell out for. Like the Fire Department. Probably the only thing worse than a mandatory insurance premium is suffering some kind of life changing injury and learning there is no one to pay your medical bills or compensate you for your injuries. Just like the Fire Department you don't really know how important it is until you need it.
And making sure people get treated after they are in a car accident is so important the legislature passed a law just to make sure it happened. Under the personal injury protection (“PIP”) statute not only requires the availability of these funds but mandates that they paid in a timely fashion upon presentation of appropriate documentation. Practically, the way this plays out is the first $2,000.00 of medical bills gets paid from the PIP monies with the next $6,000.00 in benefits being allocated for things like co-pays and lost wages.
Honesty is the best policy
When it comes to insurance companies nothing gets done without the appropriate paperwork. For the recovery of initial damages there is a PIP application form that is generally provided by the appropriate company and includes things like your biographical information as well as broad description of your injury and a description of the accident. Keep in mind that this is often your first impression for the insurance company and it's not the kind of thing you want to rush. Because, if you are significantly injured, the contents of this document may be used against you later on like at trial or during a deposition. If you shade the truth, or make a mistake by not paying attention, it will only haunt you in the long run.
When it comes to car accidents, the initial shock and emergency treatments can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, our auto insurance system is designed in such a way that impact of the first stages on your life is financially cushioned by compulsory obligations of insurance companies. While there may be a fight as to the ultimate value of your mental or physical injury as a result of the accident the good news is that you will be treated immediately and the costs of such treatment shouldn't be coming out of your own pocket.
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