Do you have your car insurance policy handy? Go ahead and pull it out, or pull it up on that insurance app you have on your phone (isn’t technology amazing?). We’ll wait.
Ok, scan or scroll on down toward the bottom. You’re looking for the words “Medical Payments Coverage” or “Personal Injury Protection.” Found it? Good!
Medical Payments Coverage, usually just called “Med Pay,” is an important part of your automobile insurance policy in the state of Arkansas. No, it doesn’t cover your property damage or that of the other driver; instead, it insures your physical health. Med Pay is coverage that will pay for up to $5000 of the medical bills you incur within two years of your car wreck (as long as they’re accident-related, of course). This coverage works regardless of whether the accident was your fault or the fault of another driver.
Are There Laws About Med Pay in Arkansas?
If you’re thinking that Med Pay sounds pretty important, Arkansas lawmakers agree with you. Every insurance company in Arkansas is legally required to offer you Med Pay coverage when you apply for an auto insurance policy. The state legislature took it one step further and created a requirement that if you choose not to have Med Pay coverage, you have to sign a written statement saying that you’re waiving the coverage. The law was created as a matter of public policy because lawmakers felt it was so important for injured Arkansans to have some type of coverage to help pay their bills after an accident, whether or not they were at fault.
Are There Penalties for Using Med Pay?
The legislature has also felt that this coverage is so important that you shouldn’t have to fear negative consequences if you use it. In Arkansas, insurance companies cannot penalize you in any way for using, applying for, or dealing with Med Pay in any way. That means the company cannot raise your premiums or deduct points simply because you used your Med Pay coverage.
Can I Afford Med Pay?
You may have been tempted to waive Med Pay coverage in an attempt to lower your monthly insurance premium. But even if you’re looking to cut costs, don’t cut Med Pay. It’s a very small portion of your monthly premium, probably less than two cups of coffee from Starbucks, and it’s well worth the peace of mind you’ll have if you’re involved in a car accident and need medical attention.
The beauty of Med Pay is that it starts working immediately to help cover your ambulance ride, emergency medical services, hospital visits, and chiropractic therapy.
How Do I Know if I Have Med Pay?
Check your policy or contact your insurance provider. It’s possible that Med Pay is available to you under the law if you never signed a written rejection, even if you haven’t paid premiums for this coverage or didn’t intend to have it when you applied for the policy.
Why Should I Use Med Pay if the Wreck Wasn’t My Fault?
Even though the wreck is the other driver’s fault, it’s still in your best interest to always use your medical benefits or any other health insurance you may have to pay for your medical expenses. If you’re injured, you need medical treatment immediately; the other driver’s insurance will only cover medical bills after you’ve completely finished treating. In the meantime, you still need treatment.
The law in Arkansas does not allow evidence of collateral sources, such as Med Pay or health insurance, as evidence in a trial or hearing. Therefore, you can still get credit for medical bills you have incurred from the at fault driver although they have already been paid by your Med Pay for health insurance.
Your insurance company can request money back out of your third-party settlement for some of the proceeds it has paid for your medical benefits. This is called subrogation. Until 1997, insurance companies in Arkansas would recover around two-thirds of the medical benefits they had provided from the victim’s settlement. That changed when our state Supreme Court ruled that an injured person has the right to be “made whole,” and that comes first before the insurance company has the right to get back the money it’s used to cover your healthcare costs, for which you’ve already paid premiums.
Problems with Med Pay? Taylor King Can Help
If you’re dealing with Med Pay or injuries from a car accident, you don’t have to walk through it alone. The lawyers at Taylor King Law deal with insurance adjusters and complex insurance coverage questions every day. An experienced Arkansas injury lawyer will make sure that you get any Med Pay benefits you’re entitled to, as well as getting the benefit of the doubt when it comes to subrogation with your insurance company in order to maximize your settlement.
To ensure that your rights are protected, call Taylor King today at 1-800-CAR-WRECK to begin a FREE consultation and get answers to your questions.