What is MedPay in Oklahoma?
MedPay, also known as medical payments coverage, is a no-fault way to pay medical bills for you and your passengers when involved in an automobile related accident.
Does MedPay follow the Insured or the vehicle?
Yes! Medical payments coverage follows the insured and their named family members when they are involved in an automobile related accident, whether they are in their own car, or someone else’s. Medical payments coverage also covers the passengers in the covered vehicle being driven by the insured.
MedPay is no fault. The insurance company pays your reasonable medical expenses up to the limit of policy no matter who caused the accident. A great benefit of MedPay is that in Oklahoma the MedPay insurance company can’t ask for their money back (subrogation) from the insured or the insured’s relatives that are members of the insured’s household when they settle with the insurance of the person who caused the accident. 36 O.S. 6092 In Oklahoma we generally recommend using your MedPay first before paying for your medical expenses with health insurance. The health insurance will usually get subrogation rights (the right to be reimbursed for what they paid) when the claim is settled. By using MedPay coverage first, you may end up keeping more of your settlement.
What is the maximum amount that MedPay will cover?
Your medical payments coverage will list the amount of the policy limits. Generally the insurance will pay for medical expenses up to the policy limit per person covered.
Medical Payments Coverage can cover a variety of situations.
Will MedPay pay when the driver is beat to death by the passenger? As tragic as that fact pattern seems the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals had to hear a case on those facts in the case of Estate of Williams by Williams v. Preferred Risk Group Ins. Co., 1993 OK CIV APP 193. Tragically Glen Williams was attacked and beaten while sitting in the driver’s seat of his vehicle. As a result of the attack, Mr. Williams died still occupying the driver’s seat. The insurance company refused to pay on the MedPay policy, but the court ruled the policy did cover the circumstances.
Can Medical Payments coverage apply when getting shot at while getting out of the vehicle or while getting back in? Maybe. In the case of Willard v. Kelley 1990 OK 127 the court addressed whether police officer George Willard was “occupying” his patrol car as required by the medical payments policy. The facts involved in the case were disclosed as follows:
“¶2 While on patrol, police officer George Ray Willard spotted a vehicle driven by [803 P.2d 1126] then-suspected armed robber, Mark Wesley Kelley. As Willard attempted to stop him, a chase ensued. After colliding with two other cars, Kelley’s automobile came to a temporary halt. The patrol car stopped behind it. Willard quickly drew his weapon as he stepped out beside his car. He then heard a gunshot and felt his left arm drop from its raised position. Although he immediately ducked behind his car door, more bullets were fired from Kelley’s automobile. Several of them, penetrating the car door, struck Willard.”Id. at ¶2
The insurance policy defined “occupying” (one of the requirements for coverage) to include “alighting from” and “entering into” an automobile. Officer Willard was shot when he exited the car and while trying to get back in the car. The court found Officer Willard was injured while occupying the vehicle and remanded the case to a lower court to address other issues.
Although most people won’t be faced with injuries from gunfire, the main takeaway is that medical payments coverage can apply when injured getting into or out of a car. For example, medical bills resulting from someone slamming your hand in a car door while you are getting out of the vehicle can be covered.
Many other circumstances might be covered. You should consult with an Oklahoma attorney to see if medpay should cover your specific circumstances. J. Todd Willhoite is an attorney in Oklahoma who is happy to visit with you regarding whether your MedPay will cover your specific injury. Please feel free to call (918) 341-3101 to discuss your case.