Who Pays the Medical Bills After a Car Accident?
If you’ve been in a serious car accident, you’re faced with a tremendous amount of stress. Dealing with the driver-at-fault, police, insurance companies, lost time at work, the list goes on and on. And, depending on how serious the accident was, you may have been hospitalized. Questions begin to surface like, who pays for my medical bills after a car accident? Is it my health insurance or their car insurance? What if my health insurance policy does not cover all of my medical costs? Meanwhile, frustration towards the driver at-fault mounts. Shouldn’t they pay for this?
There are several answers to how your medical bills can be paid after an accident. The first step is contacting your auto insurance company immediately after the accident. They begin to investigate and determine at-fault (provided by the police report), plus assess vehicle damage and injuries. Based on their assessment and investigation, a settlement is offered from the at-fault insurance company to the injured party.
Hopefully, this settlement will cover the damages, both property and medical. However, settlements can take months, sometimes years to be reached. If you are not happy with the settlement amount, then contact a personal injury attorney. They can help with recovery from:
Medical bills from car accidents follow a similar protocol that all hospital injury expenses follow. For example, you are rushed to the emergency room after a car accident. Assuming that you have health insurance coverage, you are responsible for paying your standard co-pay or deductible for treatment. Frustrating albeit to pay this cost out-of-pocket, it’s better than waiting on an insurance settlement to pay the costs. Paying co-pays upfront (out of your pocket) also allows you to continue seeking medical treatment, if necessary. Therefore, it is advised to use your own health insurance when seeking medical treatment from a car accident injury.
It’s important to note that health insurance companies will only pay for what is included in your policy. For example, after the car accident, you are taken to the hospital by ambulance. But, your health insurance plan does not cover ambulance expenses. You could be on the hook for payment. If this is the case, contacting an attorney may prove to be helpful.
Another option is that you may be able to negotiate a plan with your healthcare provider to pause payment until your injury claim is settled. An attorney can also help with this negotiation process. The good news is that in most cases, your health insurance should cover all the expenses. In the state of Georgia, drivers are required to carry the following policy limits which allow for the coverage of expenses:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury accident liability insurance
- $50,000 per accident for injury to two or more people
- $25,000 for property damage
It may seem like health insurance companies pay the medical bills after a car accident – but that is not exactly the case. In actuality, the at-fault driver’s car insurance company pays the bill. After your medical treatment, and behind the scenes, your health insurer seeks reimbursement from the at-fault insurance company for your medical treatment. A tricky scenario because multiple insurance companies come in to to play!
Not as common, but some auto insurance policies include medical payment coverage. If your auto insurance includes this type of coverage, you can simply submit your bills directly to them for reimbursement.
In some cases, if you are the not-at-fault driver then you can negotiate to include your out-of-pocket expenses in the settlement agreement. Again, this settlement comes from the insurance company of the driver at-fault.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you are interested in taking legal action to pay for medical bills, you would benefit from hiring a lawyer. Lawyers can also offer guidance on a settlement and file the lawsuit in small claims court.
HS Law, specifically, can help with car accident aftermath. They’ve handled thousands of personal injury and property damage cases and helped victims recover damages. The consultation calls are absolutely free.