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APIP: PAYING MEDICAL BILLS AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT

By: Rachel A. Abbott, Esq. and Robert R. Jones, Esq.

When young attorneys begin helping people injured in car accidents, they are often surprised and overwhelmed to learn of the different types of insurance coverage under a car insurance policy. In a prior entry, we discussed basic No-Fault Insurance (sometimes called "Personal Injury Protection" or "PIP") which covers up to $50,000.00, sometimes more, of medical expenses, lost wages and incidental costs, such as travel expenses. If you have car insurance in New York State, there is usually something listed separately from basic No-Fault Insurance called Additional Personal Injury Protection or APIP.

APIP is additional insurance coverage that you may purchase to cover medical expenses, a portion of lost wages and incidental expenses after basic No-Fault is exhausted The amount of APIP coverage depends upon how much you are willing to buy and what an insurance company is willing to sell. For example, let's assume Harry has $25,000 of APIP coverage. One morning, Harry is rear-ended by another driver on 81 South heading towards Kirkwood from Binghamton. The other vehicle hit Harry at a high rate of speed causing Harry's car to spin out of control and it rolls several times. Harry breaks many bones, needs several surgeries and extensive physical therapy. Harry quickly uses up all of the $50,000 coverage under his basic No-Fault Insurance. Now, APIP kicks in to cover Harry's medical expenses, a portion of his lost income and various incidental expenses up to the limits of his policy, in this hypothetical, $25,000. In total, this is $75,000 worth of insurance coverage for Harry.

Just like with basic No-Fault Insurance, it does not matter who is at fault for the accident and it is something provided under your insurance policy, not the other driver's policy. Just like with basic No-Fault Insurance, it is very important to notify your own insurance company as soon as possible that you were in a car accident. If you do not notify your insurance company right away about a car accident, your insurance company may deny all coverage to you

Again, the amount of APIP coverage can vary and you can purchase different amounts of coverage.

Harry must keep in mind that if he pursues a lawsuit against the driver who hit him that his insurance company, unlike with basic No-Fault Insurance coverage, will have a right to be reimbursed for the amounts it paid as part of the APIP coverage from his settlement proceeds or a jury verdict.

Talk to an insurance agent about your APIP insurance coverage and what amount is right for you.

If you have been injured in a car accident and are wondering about basic No-Fault, APIP or whether you have a claim against another driver's insurance, the personal injury attorneys at Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP are available to help you. There is no charge for a personal injury case evaluation.

Rachel A. Abbott, Esq. and Robert R. Jones, Esq.

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