After my car accident, I’m getting medical bills from a collection agency. Do I have to pay them?

Are you getting bills from a collection agency for medical treatment of injuries from a car accident? You may not be legally responsible to pay these bills.

Most No-Fault policies have a $200 deductible which means that you are responsible for the first $200 of the claim, not the first $200 for each medical provider.

When you first see a doctor, you should have signed a legal form called an “Assignment of Benefits”. This form allows your doctor to submit the medical bill and get paid directly by the insurance company and also means that you cannot be charged anything for the medical service. For instance, if the doctor’s bill is $1,500 and the doctor receives $680, you are not responsible for the $820 balance. If the doctor does not get paid at all because the medical bill was not submitted within 45 days of treatment, you are not responsible for payment.

If you do not sign an assignment, the doctor will give you a bill for medical services which you must pay to the doctor. You must then submit the bill to the No-Fault insurance company within 45 days of treatment. If you paid $1,500 and No-Fault reimburses you $680, you will be out of pocket $820.

The No-Fault insurance company is entitled to have you examined by their doctors. If you fail to attend a No-Fault medical examination, your No-Fault benefits will be denied for the particular medical specialty of the examination you missed and No-Fault will no longer pay for medical bills relating to that medical specialty. If you are examined by the No-Fault doctor, the doctor will issue a report indicating whether you will continue to receive benefits.

If you have signed an Assignment of Benefits form and your No-Fault benefits are still available, you can continue to see your doctor without worrying about being responsible for medical bills. If your No-Fault benefits have been denied, you will have to find an alternative method of paying for the medical bills, such as health insurance, placing a lien on your car accident case or paying out-of-pocket.

If you are receiving collection letters for medical bills relating to treatment received for injuries resulting from your car accident, you are not responsible for payment if: you had a valid No-Fault claim; the bill is not for the $200 deductible; the treatment was rendered while your no-fault benefits were not yet denied; and you signed an Assignment of Benefits (if your doctor billed No-Fault directly, you must have signed an Assignment of Benefits).

Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is a Bronx car accident lawyer representing people in the Bronx, NYC & LI. Please call Phil Franckel for a free consultation at 1-800-HURT-911.