When people have a slip and fall or a trip and fall accident in public places, such as a public sidewalk, a restaurant or a store, they are often embarrassed and want to get up and move on as fast as they can. Because of the adrenaline, pain from the slip or trip and fall accident may be masked for the injured individuals. They may think they just need to go home and rest. However, after the adrenaline wears off, pain often starts to set in. Injured individuals then realize they may need medical treatment. When they go to see a doctor, it is not uncommon to discover that they may have a fractured ankle or a hairline fracture in the foot and need future medical treatment.
One question injured individuals may have is, who pays for their medical expenses? If they fell at a store, can they go back to the store and ask the store to pay for the medical expenses? This article will answer these questions and discuss who pays for an injured individual’s medical bills after a PA slip, trip and fall accident.
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Business Pays For Medical Bills
Businesses and public establishments such as restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores, etc., must carry business/commercial insurance, which covers claims of bodily injury or other physical injury that may occur on the business premises, such as a customer injured after a fall down accident.
Included in the business liability policy may be a type of coverage that pays for the customer’s medical bills related to the accident on the premises. This type of coverage is called the medical payment coverage (also known as med pay), and it pays for an injured individual's medical expenses regardless of fault. Thus, even if the customer’s accident and injuries are due to their own negligence or fault, the medical payment coverage would still cover their medical expenses up to a certain amount.
For instance, if a customer dining at a restaurant in Philadelphia trips and falls on her way to the bathroom, her medical bills are covered by the restaurant’s medical payment coverage even if she tripped over her own feet and caused the accident.
However, medical payment coverage is not a mandatory coverage businesses must purchase, though it is in many commercial insurance policies. In addition, the amount of coverage is minimal and is typically only enough to cover initial medical bills, such as emergency room visits. Each business liability policy is different, and the amount of med pay coverage is only known after a claim is made.
Med Pay Coverage Exhausted
Since most med pay coverage is minimal, it will quickly exhaust if injured customers need extensive medical treatment. What happens in that situation? Who pays for the medical bills after med pay is exhausted? In that case, injured customers would use their own private health insurance to pay for the medical expenses.
As with most private health insurance policies, there are co-pays and deductibles. If injured individuals have to use their own health insurance to pay for the medical expenses as a result of fall accidents, how can they recover the expenses they paid?
The only way injured individuals can recover for the medical expenses incurred is by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties. Thus, if a slip and fall accident happened in a restaurant located in Center City, Philadelphia, the lawsuit would be filed in Philadelphia County.
When an injured individual asks a business to pay for medical expenses through med pay coverage, the business may send forms for the injured individual to complete. It is important to read all the forms before signing. The injured patron wants to make sure they are not signing away their rights to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
In addition to recovering medical expenses as part of the damages, the injured patron may also recover other damages such as:
Business Does Not Have Medical Payment Coverage
If the business does not have med pay, then the injured individual is responsible for the medical bills even though the accident happened on the business premises. The injured individual would use their health insurance to pay for the medical treatment.
Again, the injured patron can then file a lawsuit to recover for the expenses incurred.
Suing a business after a slip and fall accident in PA can be overwhelming. Seek counsel from experienced personal injury lawyers at White and Williams. Call 877.944.8396 to schedule a FREE consultation.
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