Suffering injuries from a car accident can lead to a long, hard recovery. Worrying about who will pay the resulting medical bills adds another emotional burden to your recuperation. An experienced personal injury law firm can help.
What Medical Expenses Can Occur From a Car Accident?
Different accidents can cause different injuries. Some more common car accidents include rear-end collisions, sideswipe or T-bone accidents, and head-on collisions.
The most common injuries from a car accident include soft tissue injuries, head injuries, internal injuries, and mental and emotional injuries.
- Bruising and contusions,
- Other neck and back injuries,
- Broken bones,
- Internal bleeding,
- Post-traumatic stress disorder, and
- Traumatic brain injury.
One or more of these injuries can cause expensive medical bills, including but not limited to ambulance service, emergency department tests and care, hospitalization, surgery, casting or other orthopedic supportive measures, therapy, medication, and follow-up care.
Who Bears Liability for Medical Bills Following a Car Accident?
In an at-fault state, the driver who causes an accident bears liability for damage to other vehicles and medical bills due to injuries from the accident. As such, the driver’s insurance will need to pay those bills up to the limits of the policy, and the driver will face responsibility for any additional amount.
Utilizing Your Health and Auto Insurance
Receiving compensation from a car accident doesn’t happen overnight. The ambulance service, emergency room, and physicians all want to prompt payment for their services.
In almost every state, the law requires drivers to carry liability coverage for bodily injury and damage. Once the parties settle, the liability insurer will reimburse the plaintiff who suffered the injury. But how should injured individuals deal with their medical bills in the interim?
Your health insurance will pay for treatment, including Medicare and/or Medicaid. This will provide the best coverage for your medical needs following a car accident.
What Does Med Pay Cover?
Many drivers have Med Pay as part of their automobile insurance. Some states require that auto insurance companies offer Med Pay to their clients. Patients can use Med Pay to pay for medical expenses beyond their standard health care coverage.
Depending upon your location, the minimal amount of coverage may differ. In some places, minimal coverage may reach $2,000 or more, and insurance companies may offer high amounts. Med Pay coverage includes not just the driver but also anyone else in the car at the time of an accident. Med Pay may also pay up to $100 a week in compensation for lost wages if you miss time away from work due to your injuries.
If you still have unpaid medical bills due to a lack of coverage or reaching coverage limits, your attorney’s team may qualify for deferred payment options from your medical professionals. Your doctors may agree to wait for your settlement to come in before requiring payment.
A Post Car Accident and Medical Bill Payment Timeline
Following a car accident injury, health care and legal care should each follow a specific timeline toward medical recovery and settlement of an accident claim.
Below, we provide one sample timeline:
- Following a rear-end collision at a traffic signal, a driver goes immediately to the hospital for neck pain and stiffness. Through examination and x-rays, doctors diagnose her with whiplash. She will need to wear an orthopedic collar part-time and have physical therapy. She receives a prescription for muscle relaxants.
- The driver sees a personal injury attorney and initiates a car accident case.
- Within a month, the injured party has completed half of her prescribed physical therapy. She has bills from the ambulance company, the hospital emergency department, her orthopedist, and physical therapy, all of which her insurance company has also received. She has paid for her prescription medicine on her own.
- The injured party owes a deductible. Her Med Pay takes care of that.
- Now as a plaintiff in a legal case, she keeps accurate records and sends them to her attorney’s office.
- After completing her physical therapy, she visits her orthopedist again, who says that he has markedly improved. He recommends she continue using her brace at night to help her sleep. He would like to see her again in six weeks.
- Six weeks later, she revisits her orthopedist. He releases her from care, although he warns that she could have lingering effects in her neck for years to come. He says that if she has any recurrence of pain or other symptoms, she should come back. He bills her health insurance, which pays for her medical bills.
- The accident victim meets with her attorney, and they review her case. Her legal team works out a settlement package that includes compensation for the full amount of her medical bills, the cost of her car repair, and the potential for future medical attention needed for her injury.
- Within six to eight months following the accident, the plaintiff and defendant’s attorneys work to settle on an agreement that both drivers view as fair. It includes the repair cost, coverage of her medical bills, and her pain and suffering. She signs the settlement agreement, and her attorney collects the settlement funds, releasing the amount less her legal fees.
- The plaintiff’s legal team helps her navigate any remaining medical bills and reimbursement to her health and Med Pay plans for their payout. She has her vehicle repaired and pays for it with some of her settlement funds. She reimburses herself for the expenses she has already paid, and she keeps the remaining balance in savings for her future use as needed.
How An Experienced Legal Team Can Help You
With injuries following a car accident, you need to take care of your health. You don’t want to waste time worrying about how to pay your medical bills. Your legal team will help navigate your path.
Contact an experienced car accident attorney to help work toward an efficient timeline of getting you the compensation for the injuries you sustained through a car accident, along with funds to repair your vehicle.