Part 1 of this article addressed injured victims' concerns about their legal rights to recovery and medical treatment as a result of a car accident. Part 2 of this article will address injured victims' concerns about medical bills and the concerns of injured victims who have limited tort on their car insurance policies.
3. What is a "serious injury"?
Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) defines a "serious injury" as "[a] personal injury resulting in death, serious impairment of body function or permanent serious disfigurement."
The questions then become what is a "serious impairment of body function" and what is a "permanent serious disfigurement."
Whether an injury is a serious impairment of body function typically depends on 2 questions:
1. What body function was impaired because of the injuries?
2. Was the impairment of the body function serious?
This analysis is typically done on a case by case basis, and each factor has to be examined in order to make the determination.
Related PA Car Accident Article: Pennsylvania's Limited Tort: When You Can Sue for Pain and Suffering (Part B: Serious Impairment to Body Function)
The analysis for permanent serious disfigurement depends on 2 issues:
1. How noticeable is the scarring after there has been a period of healing?
2. Is there medical evidence that says the scarring is permanent?
Again, this is a case by case analysis, and Pennsylvania courts examine all the facts and medical evidence in each case.
4. Who pays for my medical bills after my first party benefits on my car insurance are exhausted or used up?
After an injured victim's first party benefits are exhausted, the next level of medical coverage for medical treatment is the victim's health insurance policy. Many times, the health insurance policy requires a letter from the car insurance company to verify that first party benefits have been exhausted.
If a lawsuit is filed, then the medical co-pays can be claimed as part of the damages from the car accident. It is advisable that the injured victims keep a detailed log and receipts of the co-pays to document the out-of-pocket damages.
Victims of car accidents often have many questions about their legal rights and what they should do. If you have other questions that are not addressed in this article, feel free to contact Dan O'Brien and his team. They have helped many car accident victims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey with their claims and lawsuits. 877.944.8396.