Personal Injury in the News - August 6, 2010

The Maine Legislature recently passed a law concerning auto insurance company reimbursement of medical bills. This will impact most personal injury/automobile accident cases.

Virtually all auto insurance policies, among other things, have medical payments coverage which pays the car crash medical bills incurred by people in the car the policy insures. This is paid without regard to who was at fault. A person may collect and keep their medical payments. It does not have to be used for medical bills. Moreover, it may be collected even if a person also has health insurance that is paying the bills. Most medical payments coverage on auto policies is not high, usually anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000. However, a few thousand dollars shortly after a wreck can be a lifesaver for people out of work or otherwise in financial need.

Auto insurers have provisions in their policies requiring they be reimbursed when the case is settled with the person who caused the accident. A recent statutory change limits when and how an insurer may be reimbursed. It provides that if the final settlement is $20,000 or less, the insurer may not require its customer to reimburse them for these payments. That means that the insurance customer may keep both the medical payments that they received from their own insurer and the full amount of the settlement. 24-A M.R.S.A. § 2910-A.

This is great for people injured in accidents because they can get cash early after the wreck and keep the full settlement with the wrongdoer.

Written by: Stephen B. Wade