Insurance companies may cover some of the costs of an accident related death, but dealing with insurance companies is no small task. Learn more about who can help you after an accident related death in this podcast with attorneys Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough.
John: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the Law Office of Mazow | McCullough. Today our topic is “what will a car insurance company pay for in the event of an accident-related death?” Welcome Robert and Kevin.
Robert: Thank you John.
Kevin: Thank you John
Are Medical Expenses Covered After an Accident Related Death?
John: So, will a car insurance company pay for medical expenses such as an ambulance ride or an air flight if that’s necessary after an accident?
Robert: Absolutely. In Massachusetts, when you’re involved in a motor vehicle crash, regardless of who is at fault, if there’s an injury or a death, the vehicle that the person who is injured or dies is in, the insurance company is responsible at least initially for payments related to any medical treatment that might happen. [This includes] an ambulance ride, any med flight, [or a] helicopter ride if necessary. Any accident-related medical expenses are paid for by the insurance company of the motor vehicle that the person was in.
There’s certainly at least a limit to that though. In Massachusetts, the outward limit to pay for medical expenses related to either an injury or a death is $8,000, and if medical bills go beyond that, you’ll be dealing with private health insurance or you’ll be dealing with the at-fault person’s insurance company to be reimbursed for medical expenses or all expenses related to a person’s death.
John: And those expenses can add up very quickly, especially when you’re talking about ambulance rides, med flights, or things like that.
Robert: Without question. The more serious an impact and the more serious an accident, the more significant that the medical bills are. So, you need to get right on top of that to make sure that any insurance that might be available – automobile, health or otherwise is immediately accessed by the person themselves or their family members [so they] can [be] reimbursed for those medical expenses.
John: Okay. What about in the case where somebody has died. Will a car insurance company pay for the funeral expenses for the deceased?
Kevin: John, the easy answer to that is yes. But it often requires a different analysis. What I mean by that is Robert and I are both licensed in Massachusetts and Hampshire, and the law can vary dramatically from state to state, including what forms of coverage are required. For example, in Massachusetts, they have two different types of insurance that may be available to you immediately after a collision involving a wrongful death.
That includes personal injury protection as well as medical payments coverage. In New Hampshire, they don’t have the personal injury protection coverage, but they do offer medical payments coverage. In either Massachusetts or New Hampshire, those types of insurance may be immediately available to you.
However, there could be liability insurance involved for the at-fault party, which often times doesn’t kick in immediately. You have to do the investigation and the analysis and the presentment of those funeral bills or expenses to get paid. There are numerous different types of coverage that may come into play that would provide payment for funeral expenses.
Personal Injury Coverage in Massachusetts
John: Okay. Can you explain a little bit more the personal injury coverage that’s in Massachusetts?
Kevin: Yes, Massachusetts is a state that has some compulsory coverages, and what I mean by that is, in order to have a motor vehicle lawfully on the roadway in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you have to have what’s called personal injury protection coverage. There are different types of deductible options available to a driver or a purchaser of that policy, but in essence, personal injury protection provides coverage, no matter who’s at fault, for injuries resulting from a motor vehicle collision.
Personal injury protection coverage also provides loss wage payments, co-pays, deductibles, and as we discussed already, funeral expenses.
John: And in the event that a car insurance company doesn’t cover the full cost of the accident, what request does a family have?
Robert: Because there’s a limit to the amount of coverage available to pay for medical bills or funeral expenses, often times, probably most the time, a family member who’s been [put] in a situation where a family member died, is going to be left with still significant medical and funeral bills to pay for. If the accident and the death was the fault of somebody else’s negligence, that person will be left with the option to sue them or make a claim against their insurance company to pay for any outstanding medical bills or funeral bills.
That’s something that they would need to certainly consult with a professional to make sure that all options of excessive bills and payments are looked at.
Kevin: Our own insurance and our own medical coverage can help a lot in the case of an accident or a death due to an accident, but once those bills go over and above what our own insurance coverage can cover, then that’s where we really need to get into that situation of looking to find the at-fault driver and make sure that they pay their share.
Robert: Absolutely, because, to add insult to injury, a person’s family member or loved one is injured, or killed in a car accident, and they’re left with astronomical bills. And, if it was somebody else’s fault, and that somebody else has his assets or insurance coverage, then that has to be looked at.
John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Robert, and Kevin. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Robert: Thank you, John.
Kevin: Thanks, John.
John: And for more information, visit helpinginjured.com, or call (978) 744-8000.