Before heading out on the road with a motorcycle, every rider should confirm that they have health insurance. Without health insurance, a person who has been in a motorcycle accident may have difficulty finding good medical care. Hospitals are rarely content with being paid at the end of a personal injury case. They prefer to be compensated as soon as possible, and having health insurance following a Cleveland motorcycle accident can make that happen. An experienced attorney could consult with a person about the coverage they have and what they should consider getting before going for a ride.
In Cleveland, an individual does not have a duty to involve their health insurance company after an accident other than to give their policy information to the healthcare provider. However, if their insurance provider sends them a letter asking if the treatment was rendered, then policyholders must truthfully respond. If the company tries to deny those benefits because of this, the person can appeal that decision.
If the injuries were minor and they only suffered a few days of soreness, it could be acceptable to see what the defendant’s insurance company offers as a settlement. If the treatment was expensive and led to long-term complications, they should consult with a lawyer to receive proper compensation. An attorney could help get someone’s insurance company to accept their claim and potentially negotiate a reduction in any subrogation amount.
An uninsured motorcyclist might have to be responsible for all of their medical bills, or they may have the option to settle with the defendant. It can be difficult to determine how much to ask for until the initial treatments are complete and the injured party knows whether long-term or permanent care is necessary. However, it may be a struggle to get this information from the hospital if there is no insurance to immediately pay for it. Some healthcare providers might work under a letter of protection but those are few and far between.
It is helpful for motorcyclists to have uninsured/underinsured motor vehicle coverage in the event that they are struck by a driver who does not have insurance. In this instance, the rider could still make a claim under their own policy. If a rider does not have this coverage when struck by an uninsured driver, they could theoretically go after the driver’s assets. However, if the defendant did not have driver insurance, it is unlikely they would have any other significant assets to pursue.
Most health insurance companies have subrogation language as part of their contract with an individual. This means that for everything that the company pays out on an individual’s behalf as a result of medical treatment caused by a negligent third party, they have the right to request that amount of money be paid back to them after a settlement or judgment is reached. Most companies may accept some reduced compensation if necessary.
State law now includes something called the “make whole” doctrine: if the settlement is less than the amount it would take to make the injured party “whole again” (meaning back to the same state they were before the crash), then the subrogation claim must be reduced by the percentage that the patient is not being made whole. This essentially means that if the claimant is a long way from being at their previous level of health, the amount that would have to be paid back to the insurance company could be reduced or eliminated.
The physical and financial recovery that someone could face is largely dependent on what kind of insurance they have before a collision ever occurs. Health insurance is a key part of recovering damages in a Cleveland motorcycle accident and should be taken care of before ever setting foot on the road. The Law office of Tittle & Perlmuter could discuss your case options if you have been injured while riding a motorcycle. Contact an attorney today to learn how your insurance factors into your recovery.