You get your mail one day, and you see all of these bills for medical treatment from a recent car accident injury. There’s the bill for the ambulance service, one for the emergency room and hospital stay, plus a bill from the anesthesiologist. You know more bills are coming because you’ve also had physical therapy and in-home health services as you’ve been recovering from the accident...
You get your mail one day, and you see all of these bills for medical treatment from a recent car accident injury. There’s the bill for the ambulance service, one for the emergency room and hospital stay, plus a bill from the anesthesiologist. You know more bills are coming because you’ve also had physical therapy and in-home health services as you’ve been recovering from the accident.
You don’t have the money to pay these bills because you’ve been off from work since the accident. What little you get from short-term disability pays the mortgage and buys food. You worry about the bills getting turned over to a collections agency because you don’t have the money to pay them. What can you do?
The short answer for who is responsible for your medical bills is that you are. This doesn’t seem fair, but it’s true in most cases. You are the person receiving treatment, so the medical providers are going to bill you for the care.
If you live in a no-fault state, your car insurance provider will be the one paying for these bills. No-fault states require each person to pay for their own damages regardless of who is at fault. The insurance provider will have a limit on the payout, and in serious cases, you may be able to require the other party’s insurance to pay. Each state differs on its rules.
In a regular non-no-fault state, the party responsible for the accident would also be responsible for the bills. However, they do not usually have to pay them as they occur. Instead, they wait for a settlement and pay out a lump sum.
Many people file through their own insurance company and let the providers determine fault. In this situation, your bills would get paid by the medical portion of your insurance policy up to the limit. The limit is generally low, often around $10,000, but it would pay for the initial bills that come in.
A second option is for your private health insurance company to pay for your medical bills as they are accrued. Not all health insurance companies will do this, and they will expect to be reimbursed once you have settled the claim.
If none of these options are available, you may be able to negotiate with the medical providers. Some will accept partial payments while others will wait for payment until your claim is settled. An attorney can often negotiate these terms to make things easier for you.
If for any reason your claim is denied, you would still be the person ultimately responsible for your medical bills. This is why you should hire a car accident injury attorney early on in the process for the best chance at winning your claim. They will also be able to advise you how to handle the different situations that arise from your injury and fight for your rights throughout the process.