If you’ve ever read anything about personal injuries and the law, you might have come across the question of exactly who is responsible for paying medical bills after a car accident. While blame in an accident certainly (sometimes) comes into play when answering this question, the true answer is somewhat complicated. That could be because even a quick internet search could present you with loads of confusing information. Who pays for medical bills after an accident? Is it you? The at-fault driver? Your insurance company? The other driver’s?
Let’s explore this topic to make things a little clearer for you. One fact that’s for sure is that, when it comes to car accidents and personal injuries, you should trust only the best car accident lawyer in your area to help you work through such details. But it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of a background on the legal protocols surrounding your situation.
• Different states have different laws surrounding car accidents. In many states, the at-fault party becomes responsible for paying for your medical bills after a car accident. Provided the at-fault driver has car insurance, his or her liability coverage will pick up the costs of the victim’s medical bills and vehicle damages. Of course, liability coverage has limits. Drivers choose their limits when selecting their insurance policies. The higher the limit, the more the driver pays annually, but a higher limit means it will be less likely that the at-fault driver has to pay out of pocket for the victim’s medical bills and other damages. In “no-fault” states such as Florida, a victim’s own car insurance policy pays for medical bills, but, again, only up to the limits of the plan. After the limit has been reached, health insurance kicks in and begins working normally according to the individual’s policy.
• For the injured victims of car accidents, it is important to remember that, although the at-fault driver–and/or that person’s insurance company–is responsible for paying for medical bills, those parties won’t necessarily pay each bill as it comes in. Typically, the injured person pays for these bills as normal, through his or her health insurance, copays, deductibles, etc. The at-fault party then reimburses the victim when the injury has been fully treated. Victims with health insurance or medical payment auto insurance coverage will obviously have assistance with these payments. Overall, victims should be prepared to foot some of their medical costs immediately after an accident, at least until a settlement is reached with the other party.
• When everything is said and done, and the victim has recovered from the injury, the victim’s lawyer can organize a settlement package to collect from the at-fault party. Ideally, if the at-fault driver’s insurance company agrees to the terms of the settlement, the injured driver would receive reimbursement for all medical bills, as well as compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering. After all medical and legal bills and other damages have been paid for, the victim keeps the rest of the payout.
A few words should also be said here about being injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. First of all, it is a good idea for all drivers to purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage from their insurance provider. This way, should you ever get into an accident caused by such a driver, you can get much-needed assistance with medical bills and vehicle damages.
However, if you do not have insurance to cover uninsured or underinsured motorist accidents, you can file a claim with your insurance’s collision policy for the damages to your vehicle. But remember that your collision policy will not reimburse you for medical bills. So, without insurance to cover medical bills or accidents involving uninsured or underinsured drivers, your medical expenses will be your own.
There’s no doubt that car accidents are among the most frightening events that can happen to people from day to day. Of course, they can be made worse by bodily injuries that are expensive to have treated. You may find you need a car accident lawyer to help you wade through the often confusing network of personal injury law. An experienced attorney will help you figure out how to claim compensation from another driver’s insurance company and will even go to court with you if it comes to that (although most personal injury cases are settled out of court). If in doubt, call a lawyer to get some advice. It could end up being one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.