Medical Bills: Who Pays After a Car Accident

After being involved in a car accident, you can go for treatment in the hospital. The doctor gives you prescriptions and you take time off work to recover. At this point, you will not be immediately worried about the accruing medical bills.

With time, your bills start to pile and your insurance deductibles can drain your bank accounts. Before long, you may be overwhelmed with these costs.

Most people assume that insurance will kick in instantly; hence they wait it out. Months later, after the accident, you receive the claim denied letter, and you don’t know how to pay for those piling medical bills besides everything else. 

When dealing with personal injury claims, the delays in getting payment can stretch out. Insurance companies normally sound friendly on the phone, but when you run into trouble, they stretch you to a breaking point until you are willing to take that low-settlement as financial relief. 

Paying your medical bills after being involved in an accident is an expensive undertaking. It’s better to understand who will pay for those bills and know how to receive your payments or understand your options when the claims are unfairly denied by the insurance company. 

Who Pays Your Medical Bills?

The common misconception is that your personal injury attorney will settle your bills as you wait for your final insurance settlement, which is untrue. What the attorney does is track your medical bills and ensure that the settlement caters to your damages including relevant medical expenses. However, they never pay your medical costs. 

Ultimately, you are directly responsible for your bills even as you seek treatment. Ensure you sign the documents that agree to such. Accident victims must rely on insurance to pick up their treatment costs. Otherwise, you are forced to use your funds to foot those bills. 

As much as third party insurance is liable for your medical costs, don’t rush to sign a waiver to access your medical records. As you can see here, your medical information can reduce the amount of money you receive on your claim. So, before you sign it, it is better if you speak with a lawyer. Also, do not pocket the first settlement they offer early in the process. This is more so when it is apparent that the other driver caused the accident. The offer usually comes quickly before you can assess the extent of your injuries or fully recover. The insurance company can push you to sign the release of liability and pocket the settlement. If you sign it this early, you can’t seek further compensation. This move is employed with the hope that at this point, you are very desperate for the money to even realize they are offering a low amount that doesn’t cover future costs. 

What Are the Financial Sources to Cater for Your Medical Bills?

Below are some common sources to help you cater for those medical expenses. In most cases, the bills are paid via out of pocket expenses and a combination of insurance benefits.

1. Personal Injury Insurance

Drivers are required to always carry their PIP (personal injury protection) insurance as it offers coverage for lost wages and a fixed amount of the accrued medical expenses after a car accident.

The minimum protection most drivers carry is $10,000. Lower-cost protection comes with higher deductibles. If there are minor injuries, the insurance can cover all medical costs

2. Healthcare Insurance

If your medical costs exceed the PIP benefits, as a patient, your healthcare insurance picks up the deficit.

In most cases, the hospital charges your healthcare insurance company first. Your healthcare insurance settles the bill and seeks reimbursement from the PIP insurance.

You can also use your health savings account if you have one to pay for your medical costs. The funds are made by employers to increase the saving employees have for any large medical costs should the need arise. 

3. Hardship Arrangements

Medical costs usually bring substantial financial burdens. Sometimes, healthcare providers give hardship arrangements to lower the amount you owe.

However, the program varies depending on the provider or healthcare organization. Some providers have set income limits as a requirement for patients to benefit from this arrangement. 

4. Personal Payment Arrangement

Most medical facilities work with patients to make some kind of payment plan to help them meet their medical expenses. The hospitals also accept medical credit cards to allow patients to settle their debts in an agreed time frame.

Victims of car accidents through reckless driving find it unfair to settle the medical costs and they are right. A person who causes injury to another by law has the legal liability for the injury. The wrongful party should settle the victim’s medical expenses. The driver responsible for that accident has legal liability for injuries and damages for their actions. If more drivers are making similar mistakes, then they share liability.