Who Pays My Medical Bills after a Car Accident?
If you have been an injured vicitim in a car collision, you will definitely have doctors’ bills to pay. Because you know that you were not at fault for the collision, you aren’t expecting that you will have to pay these bills, so it may be a surprise to you that this is exactly what you must do. This is hard to believe, so you may be asking, “Why?”
Who Pays My Medical Bills after a Car Accident?
This is a very important question to ask after a car collision. Some people believe that the other driver’s company will pay all of the bills if another driver causes a collision. This is the wrong way to think about medical bills after a car accident.
Right after a car accident, you may not be responsible for the collision, but this is a fact that will only be determined after your company, the other driver’s company and the police officers conduct an investigation. Until this can be done and the at-fault driver can be named, the medical facilities will expect you to pay all of your bills.
The reason that there must be an investigation first is because after a car collision, the authorities must determine liability for the crash. This means that they will decide which driver caused the collision. After the at-fault party has been named, this person’s company will be required to pay the bills of the injured victim. The company will pay the bills with the at-fault party’s bodily injury liability coverage.
Another very important point for you to know is that a company will not pay your bills after the at-fault driver has been determined. Companies wait until you have completed all of your treatment and your doctor has discharged you. After your treatment is complete, you will be at “maximum medical improvement.” This means that you will be completely healed, and it could take several months or even years before you reach this point.
Companies wait until the very last minute to release payment because it benefits them to do so. You may be struggling financially after your collision because you are unable to work. You may not have insurance and are unable to pay your bills as they come up. This is a situation that is difficult for you, but it is a company’s dream. If the company can keep the financial pressure turned up very high, you may agree to a lower settlement just so that you can receive a payment during this hard time.
What If You Leave Your Bills Unpaid?
Leaving your bills unpaid until you receive your settlement or award can be a dangerous tactic to pursue. Sometimes, cases don’t settle or receive an award for several months or years. If you aren’t paying your bills during that time, your creditors will send these bills to collections. If you are unable to pay them, they will cause your credit scores to go down.
There is also the possibility that the at-fault party’s company could refuse to settle the case. If you take it to court, the possibility exists that you could lose. Then, you may be required to pay your providers the entire amount that you owe them.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been an injured vicitim in a car crash, you must hire an attorney. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have a common injury or a more devastating injury. You need an attorney to ensure that you receive what you are entitled to receive.
Some people don’t want to hire a lawyer because they have always heard that lawyers charge huge sums of money. The fact is that a California PI attorney will work for you on a contingency basis. This means that the attorney will only receive payment if the case ends with a settlement for you. If your case goes to court, your lawyer will be paid if the jury offers you a monetary award. While the case is going on, you will not have to pay any bills.
The answer to the question above may not be the answer you were hoping to read, but there are many ways that you can pay your bills while you are waiting to receive a settlement or an award.
Arrange for a Payment Plan or a Medical Lien
Not everyone has a health plan, and medical facilities are aware of this. When they know that you have been in a car accident, they may be willing to work out a payment arrangement. Also, some providers are willing to wait until after you receive your settlement to ask for payment.
This option will require that you hire a California PI attorney because you will need to sign a personal injury lien that the provider will send to your lawyer. This contract will state that your attorney will pay the provider’s bills with your settlement money or the award. This option allows you to receive medical treatment without having to pay the bills right now.
If you don’t have health insurance, you may be able to obtain Medicaid after a car collision. When you should seek treatment is important. You would need to call your Medicaid office to find out. Then, you will be able to ask if you qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. If you meet the criteria for either of these government programs, you can obtain health insurance. Once you have been approved for either program, you can use the benefits to pay your bills.
Private Health Coverage
If you do have private health coverage, you can use it to pay for treatment of a common injury acquired during a car collision. When you are at the hospital or the doctor’s office, ask the staff to submit your bills to your health plan. This will ensure that they are paid immediately. When you receive your settlement, your California PI attorney will reimburse your health plan. The advantage of having a personal injury attorney is that your lawyer will negotiate the amount of money that you owe. This usually means that your company will accept less than the amount it was charged so that you can keep a larger portion of your settlement.
If you purchased MedPay, you will be able to use it to pay your bills. MedPay is optional coverage that you may have purchased with your liability policy. It is short for “Medical Payments.” The bodily injury liability coverage that you are required to purchase for payment of third party bills does not cover your bills or the bills of passengers in your vehicle if a collision occurs. MedPay covers your own bills as well as the bills for people riding in your vehicle.
MedPay covers you and the members of your family after you have been injured or killed in a car collision. It doesn’t matter who caused the crash. If you are the one driving the vehicle, MedPay will pay the bills for your passengers. If someone else is driving his or her own vehicle, MedPay will pay your bills if you are injured in a crash. If a motor vehicle strikes you while you are walking outside, MedPay will cover your bills.
Expenses that MedPay Coverage Pays
MedPay covers your reasonable and necessary bills. These include the following:
- Dental work to fix broken teeth
- Home health aides
- Hospital stays
- Ambulance costs
- Doctors’ bills
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Funeral expenses
It looks as if MedPay will take care of the majority of your bills. Although paying your bills through MedPay prevents you from leaving them subject to being placed with a collections agency, this may not be the best solution in this circumstance. Your company will negotiate with the doctors and the hospital at a lower rate, and you will not be required to pay the difference. You will not be entitled to this negotiated rate if you use your MedPay coverage to pay your bills.
Paying Out of Pocket
This last option may be the most distasteful to you, but it is only an option that you may consider. Before you decide to pay the bills with your savings accounts, make sure that you try to pay them with one of the options listed above. If you cannot use any of the above, your attorney will charge you for the bills as the case travels through the court. This is the only time that an attorney will charge you for anything. Your lawyer will keep a record of every dime you spend so that he or she can reimburse you after the case settles or after you receive a monetary award.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you don’t want to have to worry about the bills. The at-fault driver’s company will do everything in its power to make it appear as if you are not as injured as you actually are. They will use this scenario to deny you the payment that you are entitled to receive. This doesn’t have to happen to you if you hire a California PI lawyer to fight for you. Hire an attorney today.