Who Pays for My Medical Bills in the Event of an Accident?
When you have been injured in an accident, the medical expenses for the necessary treatment is expensive. X-rays and other imaging processes, such as a CT scan or MRI are quite costly. Naturally, it will be a legitimate concern as to how these expenses will be paid.
When another person is responsible or liable for the accident, their insurance company will ultimately offer a settlement which should cover the cost of all reasonable and necessary medical expenses you may have incurred. However, it is a very rare case for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to pay bills as they are incurred. Instead, the insurance company will offer a lump sum payment to resolve the entire claim at the end. The process of arriving at the final resolution may take months or even years. Accordingly, in order to preserve your credit and to prevent having the bills sent to collection, it is normally best to try to pay the bills as they come due.
I recommend that the first line of payment should come from your own automobile insurance policy. An automobile insurance policy is broken down into various parts. Most all policies will have a part entitled “personal injury protection” or “PIP”. This is considered “no fault” insurance coverage because it is available to you regardless of who was at fault. A driver’s PIP coverage is also available for use by his or her passengers. The benefits of PIP is that there is usually no deductible or co-pay and PIP will pay for medical expense up to the limits of coverage. Our office will assist you in obtaining PIP benefits if necessary.
The second place to look for a source of payment of medical expense is your own medical insurance. This would include Medicare and Medicaid or other health insurance. Coverage for medical treatment related to an automobile accident is “secondary” and most health insurance companies will only provide coverage after the company has confirmed that there is no PIP available for your use. After the exhaustion of PIP, health insurance would work the same way it does for your regular healthcare.
It is important to understand that your health insurance carrier and/or Medicare or Medicaid will assert a claim or “lien” on the recovery against the at-fault driver. When it is time to settle the case, one important consideration is the resolution of any claim or lien which may be asserted by the insurance company, Medicare or Medicaid. We have experience in dealing with these issues and resolving these claims or liens.
If a person has no PIP and no health insurance, sometimes there are options to obtain treatment from providers who will be willing to “hold” the balance until settlement. These providers will often place a lien on a client’s claim which legally entitles them to payment before funds can be distributed to a client.
Regardless of the method of payment while your claim is pending, an injured person’s priority should be to obtain the medical treatment they need regardless of how the bill will be handled. Remember, our goal is to obtain a recovery on your behalf in an amount sufficient to cover all reasonable and necessary medical bills, together with interest and costs on such amount, in addition to amounts which may be owed for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and other elements of damage as may be allowed by law.
If you have questions as to how your medical bills may be paid after an accident, please do not hesitate to contact our office.