The Georgia Governor’s Office of Traffic Safety reports that 12% of traffic accident fatalities are caused by motorcycle accidents. Fortunately, 95% of motorcycle collision victims survive the accident. Unfortunately, many motorcycle accident survivors suffer from serious injuries, including spinal damage, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, facial and dental injuries, and joint damage. Even when injuries do not seem to be life changing, it is important for accident victims to visit a physician and to follow the doctor’s advice. Motorcycle helmets provide some protection from brain injuries, but the consequences of a concussion are not always obvious.
The Importance of Seeing a Doctor After a Motorcycle Accident
Bleeding and swelling of the brain are hidden until they produce sudden pain. By that point, it may be too late to provide life-saving treatment. Any time a motorcyclist’s head collides with the road or another vehicle, the rider should be evaluated by a neurologist or other physician who is trained to diagnose concussions. Other injuries also require immediate attention. An impact with the rider’s chest might cause organ damage or internal bleeding that is not immediately apparent. Left untreated, road rash can cause a serious infection. Joint and muscle injuries can turn into lasting disabilities if they are not evaluated and treated appropriately.
Lack of health insurance is a problem for motorcycle accident victims. Obtaining and following through on treatment is vital because treatment promotes healing. Treatment also helps with accident settlements. When injury victims do not receive treatment, the failure to document injuries in medical records makes it very difficult to prove that those injuries are real. When accident victims delay or stop treatment, insurance adjusters argue that the injury must have healed and that any later treatment must have been prompted by an unrelated accident. To promote healing and fair settlements, it is imperative that motorcycle accident victims see a doctor. Here are some options a motorcyclist who has no health insurance can consider.
Obtaining Emergency Care for Motorcycle Accident Victims Who Have No Health Insurance
Ambulances and paramedics are called to the scene of the most serious accidents. If a paramedic recommends an Emergency Room evaluation, it is always wise to say yes. An ER doctor must evaluate every significant injury to determine whether it is life-threatening. Any injury that could result in death or serious disability must be treated until the victim’s condition stabilizes. While hospitals can bill patients for ER services, they cannot refuse treatment of serious conditions. The Emergency Room is often the first opportunity for injury victims to obtain necessary care, or at least get an evaluation of their condition.
Seeking Medicare and Medicaid for Motorcycle Accident Victims Who Have No Health Insurance
Medicare is available to motorcycle riders who have reached the age of 65. Even if the rider is not yet receiving Social Security benefits, he or she may sign up for Medicare. Many physicians have agreed to bill Medicare for primary or specialized care.
Medicaid is available to certain individuals who meet low-income guidelines. Minors and the disabled are typically covered. Motorcyclists whose injuries will likely prevent them from working again may be entitled to Medicaid coverage. If you are eligible for SSDI, you are probably eligible for Medicaid.
Using Medical Pay Coverage for Motorcycle Accident Victims Who Have No Health Insurance
While motorcycle accident claims are made against the driver whose negligence caused the rider’s injuries, the motorcyclist’s own motorcycle insurance might include medical payments coverage. That coverage pays the rider’s medical bills, up to the policy limits, regardless of fault. Medical payments coverage usually has a substantially lower limit than liability coverage, but it provides a good starting point. It often makes sense to let hospitals wait for payment of emergency room bills after your case settles, while using medical payments coverage to pay your treating physician.
Deferred Payment Agreements for Motorcycle Accident Victims Who Have No Health Insurance
Some doctors will agree to wait for a personal injury case to settle before demanding payment. In most cases, doctors want a lien against the proceeds of the claim. A motorcycle accident lawyer can advise clients about the advantages and disadvantages of using a deferred payment agreement to obtain treatment. Experienced attorneys can often refer clients to doctors who have agreed to accept deferred treatment agreements in other cases.