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Posted on 02-09-2016

Can PIP Pay For Treatment Following A Baltimore Bus Accident?

As a Baltimore Chiropractor that spends the majority of my time treating patients involved in Baltimore City car accidents, I see my fair share of post traumatic headaches, neck pain, and back pain. As stated in previous blog posts, car accidents are not the only Baltimore injuries that can produce these symptoms. I also see motorcycle accident injuries, slip and fall injuries, bicycle injuries, and pedestrian injuries (in cases where pedestrians are struck by motor vehicles).

Recently my office has been seeing more and more MTA bus accident injuries. In these instances either a bus strikes another motor vehicle (I don't see many of these) or a bus is struck by a large vehicle causing injury to its occupants, or a bus loses control due to snow or ice and injures its occupants.

Bus injuries offer some potential problems to the injured parties (my patients). Firstly, buses are not equipped with seat belts to restrain occupants. So if there is an impact, it is not unusual for the injuries seen to be worse than those sustained in Baltimore auto accident injuries. Bus occupants can fall off of their seats, fall on top of other occupants, can hit their heads on windows, etc. I recently treated a woman who had teeth knocked out when she fell down the bus' steps during an impact. I had to refer her to a dentist friend of mine who is taking care of that component of her injury.

Another challenging feature of treating Baltimore bus accident patients is that there is rarely money available for their care. While that is not a problem for me and the team at Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic (as we are willing to wait for a case to settle before being paid for our treatment), it usually deters, and in some cases, prevents injured bus occupants from seeking treatment in the first place.

If you recall, Maryland licensed drivers and occupants of their vehicles usually have access to a benefit called PIP. This takes care of paying bills for ambulance rides, xrays, chiropractic care and rehabilitation, and lost wages. Occupants of buses are NOT provided with coverage if they are riding a bus. So if they are injured through no fault of their own on a bus they CAN NOT  use this benefit to help pay for their treatment. These unlucky individuals typically end up finding personal injury attorneys to represent their interest who then refer them for treatment to many facilities in the city (including our office).

While there is no PIP coverage available under the bus' insurance, it is important to note that these injured bus passengers typically do have other options in terms of how to pay for their treatment. Firstly, if they own and insure a motor vehicle, then their personal PIP policy from their motor vehicle will cover them for these injuries. Yes, even though the injuries occurred outside of the car, the PIP policy will still pay for treatment. You can think of this PIP policy as being like an umbrella that you carry with you wherever you go, regardless of which type of motor vehicle you happen to be in at any given time. If a patient does not own and insure a motor vehicle, then they can sometimes be covered under the PIP policy of the homeowner that they are living with provided that that homeowner owns a vehicle that has PIP (and depending on the language of that insurance policy). Secondly, if PIP is not available through other insurance policies, the injured bus patient can also use health insurance if they have it. Our office is in network with many health insurance companies in this region.

Clearly figuring out if PIP is available to an injured patient in Baltimore City is complex, but we would be more than happy to help you determine if there is insurance available to help you pay for your injuries and lost wages while you recover. If you, or someone you know, has been injured as a result of a Baltimore bus accident, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic. We can help you determine if there is insurance coverage (whether it is PIP or health insurance) that may be available for you to receive treatment.

Dr. Gulitz

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