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Have you Been Injured in a Car Accident: Who Pays the Bills – New Jersey PIP Coverage

By: Attorney Michael J. Paragano

So you’ve just been in a motor vehicle accident and you’re injured…

You want to get treatment, but who is going to pay for it?

This is often a source of confusion for victims of car accidents. Despite being injured, many people choose not to get medical treatment because they are afraid of the costs associated with it. Well, you should not be afraid to seek treatment for your injuries.

In New Jersey, when you sign up for a car insurance policy, the insurance company is required to offer your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. What is PIP?

PIP coverage requires the insurance company to pay for medical treatment that you undergo as a result of your car accident, whether the accident was your fault or not.

The standard PIP policy is $250,000, meaning that the insurance company will pay for your medical treatment that is related to the accident up to $250,000. However, insurance companies also usually offer PIP coverage in the amount of $150,000, $75,000, $50,000 and $15,000. Of course, the lower the policy you select, the cheaper your insurance premiums will be.

Most insurance companies allow you to choose a deductible associated with your PIP coverage, such as $250, $500, or $1,000. This means that you are responsible for paying the deductible and once the deductible is met, the insurance company covers the rest of your bills.

When selecting the policy limits on your automobile policy, there are a few things that you should consider when it comes to PIP:

  1. The Choice is Yours

The great thing about insurance is that you have the option of being covered by as much or as little insurance as you desire. So it is your choice in deciding how much PIP coverage you want on your policy. With the rising costs of healthcare, you should select as much PIP coverage as you can afford. If someone selects a limited policy like $15,000 and their medical treatment exceeds that amount, the insurance company will no longer pay for their treatment. At that point, you may have to use your health insurance or pay out of pocket for continued treatment. In the end, you may have saved a few dollars in your premium but your outstanding bills can be large.

  1. Beware of Health Care Primary

Many insurance companies will offer the choice to make your healthcare the primary source to pay for your medical treatment. This is known as the “health care primary” option. Essentially, your automobile insurance company will not pay for your accident related treatment because you have chosen to have your healthcare pay for it. Again, while this may result in a lower premium, it may also result in greater co-pays and deductibles with your health insurance. Further, suppose you lose your health insurance and you haven’t switched your policy to the PIP option, you may be out of luck for your medical treatment and you may have large outstanding treatment bills.

  1. Do Not be Afraid to Treat


This is your life. This is your health. Do not be afraid to seek medical treatment. That’s what insurance is for. If you feel pain at the scene of a motor vehicle accident, go to the hospital for an evaluation. If you are still experiencing pain after the emergency room, follow up with your primary care physician or a specialist. The most important thing for a victim of a motor vehicle accident to do is get better. If you have PIP coverage, your necessary treatment will be taken care of. Focus on your health first.

  1. Speak to an Attorney

Insurance coverage and medical bills can be very confusing. Your best bet is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. At Pellettieri, Rabstein & Altman, our personal injury department has many attorneys who have years of experience with PIP coverage and the bills associated with medical treatment. We are here for you to answer any questions you may have.

The most important thing when you’ve been involved in a car accident is to get treatment. Cars get fixed. Work will always be there. But your body and your health is something that you have to take care of and make a priority.

Don’t be afraid to treat, that’s why you have insurance…

About the Author

Attorney Michael J. Paragano is an associate in the Personal Injury department at Pellettieri, Rabstein & Altman. He concentrates his personal injury practice in the areas of car accidents, truck accidents and other motor vehicle accidents as well as construction accidents, product defect cases and premises liability claims.

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