Accidents happen on California’s busy roadways every day. Some are minor, but others are major incidents. If you are hurt in a car accident that was not your fault, you may wonder who will pay those medical bills for your care.
Nationwide, fatalities from car accidents are at a 16-year high. While you may be lucky to live through one, coping with the mounting medical bills resulting from an accident you did not cause can significantly impact your life. This is especially true if your injuries will keep you from going back to work for some time.
However, it should help to know that the at-fault driver and their insurance company will be responsible for paying those medical bills. An experienced car accident attorney will fight to ensure the compensation you receive will cover the costs of those medical bills, your future care, pain and suffering, among other damages.
While that will be a huge relief, the at-fault driver and their insurance company will not simply reimburse you immediately. Their lawyers may try every trick in the book to avoid paying you. No matter what happens, while you wait for a verdict or settlement, different options will help cover the cost of your medical bills.
Who Pays Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident That Was Not Your Fault?
When you are hurt in a car accident that was not your fault, these are the ways you can pay your medical bills.
If you are covered with medical insurance, whether through your employer, a private company, or the government, then this insurance will cover your medical bills per the terms detailed in your policy.
Many of these policies have deductibles or the amount you need to pay out of your pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in. Even though the amount you recover will cover your medical care costs, you will have to pay your deductible and copay before you get your compensation.
In some instances, your health insurance policy may not cover the specific treatments you need. This will mean you must resort to covering the costs in another way, either by paying out of pocket, using Med Pay coverage, or having a doctor treat you on a lien.
If you have Med Pay, you can use this to pay your medical bills after a car accident. It is something you can add to your car insurance policy. You will need to send your medical bills to your auto insurance company to review and approve them.
However, your insurance may stipulate a deductible to be met before any Med Pay money is provided. There are other policies that are in excess, meaning that Med Pay will only cover the amount owed once your health insurance has paid its portion first.
Since Med Pay is not required and is merely an add-on for car insurance in California, many people do not add it. Because of the extra expense, many drivers assume they will have plenty of coverage through their health insurance policy. For this reason, you may want to consider adding Med Pay to your auto insurance.
From 2020 onward, California residents are required to have health insurance. Without it, you would face penalties during tax time. Gaps in insurance are common, which means some car accident victims find themselves needing medical care while not being covered.
If you do not have insurance, you will need to pay your medical bills out of your pocket. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to find a provider that accepts medical liens. This means they will treat your injuries now and accept payment later once you have received your verdict or settlement.
How to Submit Medical Bills for Your Personal Injury Case
Your attorney will help provide copies of your medical bills to the at-fault party’s insurer. Additionally, your doctor will need to provide a diagnosis, copies of test results, and MRIs or x-rays. Any medical professional that treats you should have notes that detail your treatments for the injuries caused by the accident.
The other insurer will also likely request relevant medical records that go back at least five years. In the case of a neck injury in a car accident, you would need to provide the records from any primary care doctors, orthopedic doctors, or other providers that treated you for a similar injury. You will not be required to provide any unrelated medical records.
You can help speed up the payment of these medical bills by providing more information. Contact information from witnesses, the police accident report, your insurance company’s report, photos of your visible injuries, and evidence of the accident scene may all help move things along.
What to Do When Your Settlement Is Not Enough
In many cases, the at-fault party’s insurer may come back with a settlement offer that is not large enough to cover your medical bills. It may be tempting to consider taking it, but you should never accept a settlement without discussing it with a personal injury lawyer first.
Often, the amounts in settlements do not consider ongoing and future medical care. If you accept a settlement that is not large enough, then you will likely wind up in debt due to the negligence of the other driver.
Contact Brown & Gessell, your experienced car accident lawyer group today to help you review the strength of your case. They can often be instrumental in negotiating a larger settlement to cover your medical bills, allowing you to get back to your life.