Who Pays for Medical Bills Following a Car Accident?
The days, weeks, and months after an auto collision can be overwhelming. If you have suffered serious injuries and are receiving medical treatment, it does not take long for medical bills to start accumulating. This may beg the question of who is responsible for paying these bills.
The at-fault driver is ultimately responsible for the medical bills
If your actions were not the cause of the accident, the driver who caused the accident is responsible for the harm he or she caused, including the cost of your medical treatment. While that answer seems simple, it can take months and even years to get the at-fault party to pay.
But what happens with the medical bills I receive in the meantime?
Although the at-fault driver is responsible for paying your medical bills, hospitals, physicians, and physical therapists will not wait for you to settle before they seek payment for the treatment you received. As you are on the mend, you may start to receive bills – sometimes shockingly high bills – in the mail. If these accumulating bills are not paid in a timely manner, you risk being sent to collections which can affect your credit.
How am I expected to pay my mounting medical bills?
This is where your insurance comes in handy. Health insurance should be your first choice for payment of medical bills. Always provide the doctor’s office or hospital staff with your health insurance details so your health insurer can be billed directly. While you may still have to pay co-pays or deductibles, these amounts are often a fraction of the full price of the medical treatment.
If you do not have health insurance or if you have difficulty paying your deductible or co-pays, you may have some coverage under your car insurance which can help. Many car insurance policies provide for personal injury protection (“PIP”) or medical payments (“med pay”) coverage. While the amounts available under these forms of coverage are often limited, they can be useful in avoiding you paying money out-of-pocket to pay off your medical bills. Accordingly, be sure to check your auto insurance policy to see what benefits are available to you.
Because the at-fault driver is normally responsible for paying your medical bills, if you settle your case or secure a verdict after your insurance has paid for some of your medical bills, you may be required to repay the insurance companies out of your settlement or verdict. This is called “subrogation.”
An experienced Cincinnati car accident lawyer can provide guidance to maximize your insurance benefits and navigate any obstacles that ensue following an auto collision.
Car accidents present complex issues, but Burg Simpson’s experienced Cincinnati car accident attorneys are here to help. We know the ins and outs of the personal injury claims process. While you focus on your recovery, our award-winning personal injury team will investigate the accident, detail the impact it had on your life, and fight for the money you deserve in negotiations with the insurance companies. Call 513-852-5600 or fill out our contact form for a free, no-obligation consultation today!