Posted on Car Accident Law Blog / Who Pays for Medical Bills After a Car Accident?
Page Updated 12/14/2021
The process of getting compensation after a car accident is challenging at times. If you got hurt in an auto accident, you might have started to think about who will pay for your treatment.
Filing claims and getting compensation for your personal injury can pay medical bills. However, these are all future events that will not pay for your current medical costs.
So, who pays for bills following a car accident? The answer is not so simple as there are a lot of factors, like the type of accident, the state you live in, and the type of insurance coverage, which impact how their medical bills get paid.
Unless it is a car accident involving Med Pay or no-fault states, you are responsible for any accident that occurs and any bills that follow the accident. Car accident victims almost always have this misconception that the negligent party will bear the medical expenses on an ongoing basis, but that is not usually the case.
If you got injured due to someone else’s fault, the law does not require the defendant to pay for your medical bills as and when they come. But the law does require the defendant to pay lumpsum compensation that includes medical costs as part of the damages.
The medical bills can start to pile up and may need to be paid before the victim receives any compensation from the negligent party. This can put a tremendous financial strain on the victim and their families. Our personal injury lawyer can help you understand the law and provide you with the legal options to move forward.
Many insurance companies offer private insurance, and car accident victims with private insurance or Medicaid can file claims when they receive the medical bills. The insurance company is then responsible for paying for those, but the deductibles and coverage will depend on their insurance policy.
There can be situations where the victim’s insurance policy may not cover certain healthcare services, resulting in a claim denial by the insurance company. Once they deny the claim properly, the car accident victim must pay for the medical bills from their pocket unless they have Med Pay with their auto policy.
Health insurers’ refusing to cover any bills under their coverage is also referred to as “bad faith practice,” and our attorneys have vast experience in dealing with such situations. Victims facing bad faith practices where insurers deny claims without proper reasoning can establish an attorney-client relationship with our law firm and let our legal experts deal with the insurers.
Med Pay coverage is a type of insurance that kicks in after a car accident victim. The insurance pays for medical bills up to the policy limits. The good thing about Med Pay is that there are no deductibles; however, once the victim reaches the policy limits with their medical bills, the responsibility for paying medical bills shifts back to the victim.
Some drivers have Med Pay coverage on top of their health insurance to cover the high deductibles or health insurance co-payments associated with the latter form of insurance. For example, if a victim has a medical bill of $100,000 with a $6,000 deductible, the health insurance will pay for the medical bills, but the victim will need to pay $6,000 out of their pocket to cover the deductible. If the victim has Med Pay, the auto insurer will pay the first $6,000.
If a car accident victim does not have any form of health insurance, then they are responsible for paying the medical treatment costs from their pocket. Failure to pay medical bills can result in your case getting sent to a debt collector.
Some medical providers offer individuals the opportunity to spread the treatment costs over several years, easing the financial burden on the victim.
No-fault states require drivers to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or no-fault insurance covering partial or complete medical bills. Regardless of who is at fault, PIP provides coverage against injuries sustained in a car accident. Once the bills reach the policy limits, the responsibility of paying for medical treatment costs then transfers to the victim’s health insurance company.
Many states in the country offer medical lien protection, which means that medical providers provide medical services in exchange for a lien on the personal injury case verdict. When a personal injury victim does not have enough funds to pay for their treatment costs, the hospital may require them to sign a lien letter. The letter allows the hospital to recover payments from the compensation recovered.
There is no need for upfront payments for medical liens, but the medical provider will have to recoup the payments from the case winnings.
California is a fault-based state, so an injured person is responsible for paying their medical bills from a car accident. California requires drivers to have auto insurance with a minimum of $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident and a $5,000 minimum property damage liability. Car accident victims must file personal injury claims against the negligent party’s insurer to compensate for their losses.
If you got into a car accident that was not your fault, contact us at (213) 596-9642 and get a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer today. Whether a health insurer or an auto insurance company, our attorneys have protected more than 3,000 injured victims by recovering over $150 million for their losses.
We assist in protecting the rights of injured victims during the case and before filing claims. Our attorneys help locate a qualified and experienced lien doctor to care for you while we fight for fair compensation for your loss.
Contact us for more information on how we can help.