Car accidents are terrifying. When you sustain injuries in an accident, you feel fear, worry, and pain; this trauma interferes with daily life after the crash. In addition to physical trauma, you may suddenly face monetary losses that upend your finances. Although you may need ongoing medical care, you may not know who should pay for that care or how you will make ends meet.
Depending on the severity of your injuries and the level of medical care necessary to treat you, your medical bills may skyrocket. It is not uncommon for a short visit to the emergency room after a crash to cost thousands of dollars. This post explores some of the options car accident victims have for paying medical bills. Contact a car accident lawyer near you for more information tailored to your unique situation.
Medical Providers Demand Payment
It may surprise you that the providers who treat your injuries will seek payment from you after a car crash. Car accident victims may feel confused when they begin to receive bills and notices for payment from their doctors, hospital, and labs in the weeks following a crash. Many might assume that because the at-fault party caused the crash, the negligent party will pay for the treatment. However, this is not usually how medical bills get paid in car accident cases.
When you go into a hospital or medical facility for care, you are responsible for paying for those services. In most cases, hospitals do not require payment upfront in emergencies. However, they will send you a bill after the fact. Victims can feel stressed and worried at the sight of bills sent to them after an ER visit or hospital stay. How will you pay for these bills, and what financial arrangements are possible following a motor vehicle crash?
What types of medical bills can arise after a car crash?
Medical bills include any health service that addresses your injuries following a crash. These bills may cover many services from any time after the crash.
Examples of medical providers that can bill you after a motor vehicle accident include:
- Emergency transportation services such as helicopter rescue, ambulance, or fire department
- Medical facilities or hospitals, including separate bills from doctors, technicians, and laboratories
- Doctors and specialists for follow-up care
- Rehabilitation facilities
- In-home nursing agencies
- Medical equipment, prosthetics, and therapy providers
- Pharmacies for prescription medication
- Mental health providers
Do you pay for damages when you are not at fault for the car accident?
The reality is that the resolution of a car accident claim, dispute, or lawsuit can take weeks or months, depending on the facts of the case. The medical provider is not a primary party to the case, aware of who is at fault or concerned with the case’s progress. They provide medical care and, in turn, expect to receive payment. They expect their bills to get paid when requested, even if the victim is not the party at fault for the accident.
Shouldn’t the at-fault party pay for medical bills?
A car accident victim must file an insurance claim or lawsuit to receive compensation for medical bills from the at-fault party. In addition to establishing the claim with evidence proving the circumstances of the car accident, the victim must provide documentation of their medical bills. Because insurance companies and courts want to see each medical bill, it is up to you or your lawyer to keep careful records of all invoices.
In many instances, car accident compensation is a reimbursement process where you, your health insurance, or your car insurance may initially pay the medical bills. Once your claim resolves, if you receive compensation from another party, the portion allotted for medical damages will go to the party that paid for medical expenses. In some situations, a lawyer can help you make arrangements with a medical provider to wait for payment of their services until your case resolves.
Will your health insurance cover your car accident injury treatment?
Not all car accident victims have health insurance or adequate coverage to pay for all the medical treatment necessary after a crash. In these instances, the individual will bear the brunt of most of their medical bills as they await a resolution in their case.
Most insurance policies cover at least a portion of medical expenses after a crash, excluding deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance that is part of the policy terms. However, deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments add up quickly and often balloon to sizes that most people cannot pay outright.
If you eventually receive compensation for your damages in a car crash, you may need to use part of the award to reimburse your health insurer for payments made to care for your injuries. Additionally, you can seek compensation through a claim or lawsuit for the out-of-pocket medical expenses you directly paid for, even if insurance covered a portion of the cost.
When does a car insurance company pay for medical care after a car crash?
When another driver negligently causes a car accident that injures you, you can seek compensation for your medical bills and other losses by filing a claim with their insurer. The insurance company will process your claim, leading to a denial or a settlement offer. If you receive a settlement offer from the insurance company, they will account for medical bills included in your claim. If you accept the offer, they will not pay medical providers directly but instead will issue a settlement amount to your lawyer, who will disburse the funds on your behalf.
Furthermore, your own insurance company might also pay for medical bills depending on your level of coverage and the circumstances leading to the accident. When the other insurance company does not accept liability, or there is insufficient coverage for your losses, there are some situations in which your insurance company and coverage may kick in and compensate you for a portion of your medical payments or bills.
What is the process for seeking compensation for car accident medical bills?
To receive compensation for your medical bills after a car accident, you must include current and future medical expenses in your insurance claim. During the insurance claims process, you will have the opportunity to provide documentation of your medical losses.
Negotiating a settlement that benefits you and accounts for all of your medical expenses can be a challenge. Once an insurance company accepts liability for any accident, they will turn their attention to minimizing the amount they pay you. Get help from a qualified and knowledgeable motor vehicle accident lawyer to fight for every cent you deserve.
How can a lawyer help you include your medical bills in your claim?
If you are facing significant medical bills and your injuries require continued treatment and care, seek out the assistance of a car accident lawyer. Your lawyer’s goal is to represent you and pursue the compensation you deserve. Car accident lawyers understand how insurance companies will try to reduce their costs and what you will need to back up your claim.
Your lawyer will first estimate your losses, including all medical expenses. They must consider both current and future medical expenses to ensure you do not have mountains of medical debt in the future if you have not yet reached a full recovery.
Remember that a settlement agreement or the verdict in a lawsuit for a car accident is the final resolution. Once the case resolves, you cannot revisit it if you later realize you need additional treatment. A lawyer will work with you to prevent surprises and negotiate a settlement that accounts for potential future medical bills.
What can you do if you cannot pay your outstanding medical bills while your case is pending?
Accident victims commonly worry about how they will get the care they need when they do not have the money to pay for their medical care. If you have a car accident lawyer, they can help you make arrangements with your current providers or help you find providers that are willing to await payment for services while your case moves through settlement negotiations or legal proceedings.
There is potential relief from medical collections and billing companies when you have a pending legal matter related to a car accident. Your lawyer can represent you not only when dealing with the insurance companies and at-fault parties but can also help you manage your care providers and medical collections companies.
How else can a lawyer help you with medical bills for a car accident injury?
Having a lawyer working on your case can be a valuable resource when paying outstanding bills. Although you may not realize it, lawyers can negotiate medical bills to reduce the amount you owe. Depending on the circumstances, the services provided, and what insurance coverage you have, they may be able to reduce your medical costs significantly.
If you have questions about what to do about your medical bills after a car accident caused by another person’s negligence, speak to a car accident lawyer to learn more about your options. Do not face financial difficulties and stress on your own; a lawyer can help you get your finances back on track.