August 16, 2017 08:20 PM
When you're hurt in a car accident, do you know who pays your medical bills? Here in New York State, the answer might surprise you. We discovered that out as we investigated the case of a truck driver who was hit by a suspected drunk driver. When the truck driver got a medical bill, News10NBC searched for answers.
It was 2:00 a.m. Trucker Gordy King was headed west on 490 near Bushnell Basin when he saw headlights approaching.
"About a hundred yards in front of me, I realize that this person was in my lane,” said King.
It was a wrong-way driver barreling right toward him.
"The whole right side of her car was taken clean off," said King.
Miraculously, wrong way driver, Shannon Busacco suffered only minor injuries. She's been charged with DWI. King wasn't hurt.
"So I signed a waiver stating that I wasn't going to the hospital. And then they said, ‘We'd really like to check your blood pressure just to make sure that you're okay.’"
He later got a bill for $300 for that on-scene medical check.
The Perinton Volunteer Ambulance Service is the agency that responded to King’s accident. The president explains that New York has a No-Fault Law making King’s auto insurer responsible for the bill. When News10NBC explained that to King, he was incredulous.
"My auto insurance?” he asked. “I was minding my own business on that road that night."
But in New York and eleven other states, the No-Fault Law requires your auto insurer to pay your medical bills in an accident - regardless of who caused the accident. Experts say the law ultimately benefits you, the consumer, because you then don't have to sue the insurance of the at-fault driver to get your medical bills paid.
"Obviously that takes a lot longer to bring a court case and bring a resolution there. With no-fault, our auto insurance companies are ready and go pay the claims in an expeditious manner,” Marc Craw, Vice-President of the New York Insurance Association, a trade group for insurers. Craw says your auto insurer can then get reimbursement from the at-fault driver's insurance. But motorists fear their insurance premiums will go up if they file a claim.
"The fact that it happened of no fault of your own should mean that your insurance premiums should not go up for that reason,” Craw explained.
It’s a system that's supposed to serve you. That's cold comfort for King who is still fighting the bill.
"When you see something wrong you say something,” said King. “I've been taught that all my life."
King is now working with the ambulance service and his employer to resolve the issue. Because he was driving a company truck at the time, the company insuring the truck is likely responsible for the bill.
If you need medical treatment because of a car accident, here's Deanna's do list.
1. Make sure you report the accident to police within 24 hours.
2. You must file a no-fault claim with your auto insurer within 30 days.
3. If your insurer fails to pay or you believe your premiums were raised as a result of the claim, file a complaint with the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Updated: August 16, 2017 08:20 PM
Created: August 16, 2017 07:43 PM
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