Who Pays the Medical Bills After a Car Accident?
Last updated Friday, September 15th, 2023
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Will Help You Get the Urgent Medical Care You Need
Medical bills lead to over 60 percent of personal bankruptcies in America.
A broken leg, traumatic brain injury, spinal damage, organ damage, and other major injuries can cost you tens of thousands of dollars to fix.
It’s not surprising to hear cases of car accident victims with minor injuries running away when they see an ambulance coming.
Here are some of the medical bills you are likely to get served with after a car accident:
- Emergency transportation
- Medical tests
- Consultation fees
- Treatment and medication costs
- Aftercare and rehabilitation expenses
- Medical equipment investment
- Mental health therapy
You may be blessed to walk away with your life. But how can you enjoy it when you’re stuck in a medical debt trap indefinitely?
Paying it out of your pocket is impossible for most people who are living from paycheck to paycheck. So who will pay for your damages? The driver who caused your accident? Do you have to approach their insurance agent or yours?
In this article, we’ll take you through a step-by-step guide to clear your medical debt after a car accident. We’ll cover all the scenarios and how to adapt to them to get the settlement you deserve.
Understanding Financial Responsibility
Your health is not the only responsibility that you’ll have to take up after a car accident. Expect to take up a lot of financial and legal responsibility. However, your health should be your first responsibility.
All bills are NOT created equal. You need to seek urgent medical attention after a car accident. The adrenaline pumping through your veins can make you overlook injuries that aren’t clearly visible.
What looks like a minor bruise over your chest could be a sign of a punctured lung. So you should get medically diagnosed, treated, and cleared as soon as possible.
It’s essential to do this for your financial security too. Your insurer holds you responsible for getting an official diagnosis and quick treatment after the accident. Any delays on your part can qualify as negligence in their books. And they will swiftly chop away at your insurance payout to penalize you.
A visit to the hospital is no walk in the park. You’re too overwhelmed by stress and pain to handle the obligations of tackling your medical bills. You may barely be able to turn to one side of the bed without wincing in pain.
Gathering evidence from the accident scene, sorting your insurance paperwork, and negotiating with multiple parties can easily overwhelm you. You need a knowledgeable and compassionate car accident injury lawyer to take care of this.
At Isaacs & Isaacs, you can find a personal injury lawyer who will take charge of every legal responsibility to secure your health and finances. We have helped several car accident victims fully cover their medical debts and make a complete recovery.
Determining Fault: Fault vs. No-Fault States
Things are not as simple as “you break it, you pay for it” after a car accident. Yes, liability plays a huge role in your medical debt settlement. But you need to clearly present the cause and circumstances of the car accident.
The strength of your evidence will determine who will be liable to cover your damages. But what’s more important is to know whether you’re in an at-fault or no-fault state.
When an accident happens in an at-fault state, the driver at fault is primarily liable for covering your damages. Insurance representatives of both parties will evaluate the evidence to determine the driver at fault. It can be a simple or a complex process. It depends on the clarity of evidence and cooperation between both parties.
Many states also follow a comparative negligence standard. So if you share more than 50 percent of fault for the accident, you can’t seek compensation from the other party involved in the crash.
What happens if you get into a car accident in a no-fault state? Each party will file a claim against their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. They will cover your medical bills and other damages up to the policy limits. However, it may barely cover a few weeks of medical costs if your injuries are severe. You have the freedom to file a lawsuit against the liable party to get a better settlement in that case.
Our team of car accident injury lawyers will take the most effective legal action whether you’re in an at-fault or no-fault state.
Responsibility for Medical Bills
Large claims can take weeks or months to process. It may even take years to secure your settlement if you end up filing a lawsuit.
Can you afford to put your treatment on hold till you get it? Absolutely not. Establishing fault and getting compensated by the liable party can happen later.
You may need to get a $10,000 surgery to repair your damaged spine the day you crash. That’s why clearing your medical bills should be at the top of your priority list. A personal injury lawyer understands your immediate and long-term financial needs. They will quickly work with your insurer to process your medical claim.
Your insurer is likely to offer you 3-4 times more than the initial offer they would’ve given if you didn’t have a lawyer.
Fault Scenarios: Implications for Medical Bill Settlements
You need a lot more than your word to establish liability when another driver causes the accident. Every driver owes a duty of care to their fellow drivers and pedestrians.
You have to prove their neglectful actions were the proximate cause of your accident, which led to your injuries.
You’ll have to gather your police accident report, document your medical treatment, get eyewitness statements, and other valuable proof. Multiple insurance parties and lawyers will evaluate this evidence and process your claim.
No-Fault States and Automobile Insurance
All drivers in no-fault states are legally required to own personal injury protection coverage (PIP). It doesn’t matter who is at fault for the accident.
Both parties will have to first file a claim against their PIP to cover their personal damages and injuries to passengers. So you can tap into its benefits even if the other driver isn’t insured.
These policies have a minimum coverage amount and a maximum per-person coverage limit.
Dealing with Uninsured Drivers
Your settlement also depends on the policy coverage of the driver at fault. Uninsured or underinsured drivers probably won’t be able to cover your damages. And in many cases, you won’t get much by filing a lawsuit against them either. They probably don’t have any assets to compensate you.
This puts you in a vulnerable position when you’re suffering severe injuries.
Fortunately, your uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) can come to your rescue. You can file a claim against your own coverage if the other driver is uninsured or poorly insured.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Here are a few scenarios where uninsured motorist coverage can help you:
Accident with an uninsured driver – Helps cover medical bills for both you and your passengers. You can also get compensated for damages to your car.
Accident with an underinsured driver – Covers medical expenses for both you and your passengers. You can pay off your car repair costs too.
There are states like Ohio that don’t require you to purchase UIM coverage. You may think you’re saving money by ignoring it, but you could be losing a lot more in the future.
Remember, liability insurance financially safeguards you if you hurt someone else. However, UIM coverage helps you if someone hurts you in a car accident.
Role of Health Insurance Policies
It’s possible that accidents are not covered by your health insurance plan. You may need an accident cover as part of your standard plan to use it.
You may be wondering which insurance will kick in to cover you if you get into an accident. Usually, your auto insurance will cover medical bills before your health insurance comes into play.
You should get in touch with your insurance provider to understand how these policies work in your state before buying them. You’ll be paying premiums and deductibles for both of them. So it’s important to know you’re paying for something that’s worth the investment.
You’re fully responsible for paying off your medical bills after a car accident. Whether it’s your fault or not, your insurance claim may take time to process. You can recover the damages you incurred once your settlement comes through. Here are the steps you need to take if someone else is at fault for crashing into you: No-fault states require both parties to file a claim against their personal insurance coverage (PIP) to cover their medical bills. It doesn’t matter who is at fault for the accident. You can file a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) to cover your damages. Your auto insurance will kick into action to cover your injuries after a car accident. Your health insurance will only come into play if you meet two conditions:
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is responsible for medical bills after a car accident?
What happens when someone else is at fault in the accident?
How do no-fault states differ in terms of medical bill payment?
What if I'm injured by an uninsured driver?
When does health insurance come into play?
You’re fully responsible for paying off your medical bills after a car accident. Whether it’s your fault or not, your insurance claim may take time to process. You can recover the damages you incurred once your settlement comes through.
Here are the steps you need to take if someone else is at fault for crashing into you:
No-fault states require both parties to file a claim against their personal insurance coverage (PIP) to cover their medical bills. It doesn’t matter who is at fault for the accident.
You can file a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) to cover your damages.
Your auto insurance will kick into action to cover your injuries after a car accident.
Your health insurance will only come into play if you meet two conditions: