A few weeks ago I wrote about the accident I had in a snow storm on I-25. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but that accident was nevertheless my fault. While there was nothing I could have done to avoid the accident, the driver of the semi-truck that I hit at least maintained control of his vehicle. While I am grateful that he was not hurt in the accident, I was. The driver of the semi-truck’s insurance didn’t have to pay for my injuries—he wasn’t at fault. My insurance at the time of the accident covered the damage and injuries I caused to the other vehicle (liability insurance). I also had coverage for any injuries I sustained, in the event that the other driver was at fault and was under-insured, or not insured at all (UM/UIM). (Which was not the facts in this case). What coverage really helped me though, was the med-pay coverage I had, which paid for my medical treatment after my accident.
For decades in Colorado we had another type of insurance called PIP insurance. Each driver carried their own insurance and if they were injured in a car accident, even one that was their fault, PIP insurance covered some medical expenses and lost income that resulted from the accident. In 2003, that law was allowed to expire and we went to the at-fault insurance we have today. But that system left many injured at-fault drivers, and especially the ambulances and emergency rooms who treated them, without any insurance to cover the injuries from accidents they caused.
That is when the legislature implemented med-pay coverage. It requires that unless a driver specifically opts out of the coverage, they will have at least $5,000 in coverage for injuries they sustain in an accident regardless of who was at fault. But like they do, insurance companies began to try and find ways around the coverage. Most notably, without telling you this when you are buying your insurance, many insurance companies impose a time limit on the coverage. This can show up in a couple of ways. Some people have injuries that take a long time to treat. Others try conservative treatment but eventually realize they have no choice but to have surgery. While med-pay coverage should provide help, many insurers will not cover the treatment because of the arbitrary time limit.
If you have been denied med-pay coverage by your insurance company because of their time limits, don’t give in; talk to a lawyer you can trust to fight to get you the coverage you paid for.
By: Craig Valentine