Dealing with Medical Bills in a Car Accident Settlement
April 29, 2020
If you were injured in a car accident that was somebody else's fault, you might wonder who is going to pay for medical treatment expenses. A personal injury settlement can be very beneficial - and also a favorable verdict on those rare occasions whenever a personal injury lawsuit ends up going to trial. However, these future outcomes will not help you with paying your medical bills right now. In this article, we will be discussing how to get your medical bills paid on a regular basis. It will depend on the kind of accident you were involved in, the state that you live in, and the kind of insurance coverage that is involved. For more information, keep reading.
General Rule: A Defendant Is Not Required to Pay Your Medical on a Continuous Basis
If you are involved in an accident, the most important thing that you need to know is you are generally responsible for paying your medical bills as they are incurred. The only exceptions to this are normally car accidents that take place in "no-fault" states (which we discuss below) and also accidents that involve "medical payments" (also called "med pay") forms of insurance coverage.
Even if it is clear that the person who injured you at fault, they are not required by law to pay for your medical bills on a continuous basis. The law only requires that, if another person is found in court to be at fault, that she or he is required to pay your damages. Medical treatment is a major part of these damages in a personal injury case. However, a defendant is not required to pay medical bills as they are coming in.
Car Accidents that occur in "No-Fault" States
If you have been injured in a car accident, fast payment of your medical bills will often depend on whether or not the accident occurred in a "no-fault" state. With no-fault car insurance, your own car insurance company will pay all or some of your medical expenses if you are involved in a car accident (quite often this will occur soon than in "fault" states) no matter who was at fault for your accident, up to your no-fault coverage limits.
Once your medical bills have exceeded the "no-fault" limit of your state, you are responsible to pay the rest. Your health insurance company will pay for your medical expenses if you have health insurance. If you are either on a state health insurance program via Medicaid or are on Medicare, then your bills will be paid by those entities. If you don't have Medicaid, Medicare, or any health insurance, then you will be responsible to work out payment agreements with all of your healthcare providers.
It is very important to note that once your medical bills have exceeded a certain amount (or when your injuries qualify as being serious enough (you can go outside of the no-fault system and you will be able to file a regular liability claim against an at-fault driver. However, it will take some time for this process to be resolved. Therefore, you will need to have a way to pay for your medical bills that continue to come in.
Car Accidents that occur in Non "No-Fault" States
If you are involved in a car accident that occurs in a state where there is not no-fault insurance, then you will usually be responsible to pay your medical bills as they are incurred. However, there are some drivers in those states that have "med pay" or medical payment insurance coverage. This "med pay" coverage pays the medical bills of passengers or drivers who are in a car accident with the person who is insured, up to the insurance policy limits of the "med pay, which are usually under $10,000. Once your bills have exceeded the policy limits of "med pay," you will then be responsible to pay them. It is not always required to have "med pay" coverage, so if neither the person at fault or you has "med pay" coverage, then you will be responsible to pay the bills.
Slip and Fall Accidents (Premises Liability)
In a slip and fall or premises liability case, the injured person is usually responsible for paying her or his medical bills, unless the liability insurance policy of the property owner includes "med pay" coverage. If "med pay" is included in the policy, then most likely the insurer will pay for the individual's medical bills up to the policy limits of the "med pay" coverage. After that, then the injured individual will be responsible to pay the medical bills.
If you have been injured in a work-related accident and file a workers' compensation claim, most likely your medical bills will be paid by the workers' compensation insurer. Typically, you are not required to pay any deductibles or bills. Many states also require you to be reimbursed by the workers' compensation insurer for your traveling back and forth from your medical appointments and for your transportation expenses (parking, tolls, and mileage).
Insurer Is Entitled to be Reimbursed
If a Medicare, a health insure, or a state agency that administers Medicaid benefits pay for your accident-related medical bills, they are entitled to receive reimbursement for the amounts they paid to your healthcare providers if you do get a favorable court verdict against a defendant or you get a personal injury settlement.