How Are Medical Bills Paid After an Accident?April 12, 2021
After a Crash or Personal Injury, Here’s How to Handle Medical Bills & Protect Your Rights to Recovery
When negligence causes accidents and injuries, medical care can save lives and improve prognoses. It can also inundate victims with expensive medical bills that require prompt payment. While these bills can create serious financial stress, there are ways to take action and:
- Ease the burden
- Prevent the bills from going to collections
- Seek compensation for accident-related medical bills
- Assert victims’ rights to financial recovery
Who Pays My Medical Bills After an Accident?
You are responsible for paying your medical expenses after an accident. Whether or not you are entitled to compensation for those expenses will depend on whether your actions or the actions of another party caused the accident:
- If your reckless behavior was the sole cause of the accident, you are likely not eligible for compensation—and you could be on the hook to cover others’ medical costs if that reckless behavior harmed anyone else.
- If another party’s negligence is solely to blame, you will likely be eligible for compensation, as long as your claim is filed within the required deadline. These deadlines vary by the type of claim you have, as well as where you file the claim.
- If you were partly to blame for causing the accident, you may still be entitled to compensation as long as you were no more than 50% at fault. That’s because Texas follows the 51% Bar Rule, which lets injured parties recover (in proportion their percentage of fault), as long as they aren’t 51% or more at fault for an accident.
How to Get Compensation for Medical Bills After an Accident
The best way to seek a financial recovery and get reimbursed for medical expenses after an accident will depend on:
- The nature of the accident: How, where, and when the accident occurred will determine liability and, in turn, your options for seeking compensation for medical bills, as well as other accident-related losses.
- What type of insurance coverage you have: This includes both whether you have certain coverage, like auto insurance, as well as what that coverage includes (or specifically excludes). Depending on your policies, your insurance may cover at least some of your medical bills.
- Other factors: From the type of insurance the negligent party has to the number of victims involved and more, there may be several other elements that influence the options for compensation after an accident or personal injury.
Types of Claims
In general, common options for seeking compensation for medical bills after an accident can include (and are not limited to):
- A claim with your insurance company: This may be an option if, for instance, you have been hurt in a hit and run and you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.
- A claim with another party’s insurance company: These other parties could include other individuals, like other negligence motorists, or companies, like Uber.
- A workers’ compensation claim: Medical bills arising from on-the-job accidents and injuries can be covered through workers’ compensation claims. For some workers, specific types of claims may need to be filed—like LHWCA claims for shipyard and dockworkers.
- A personal injury lawsuit: Victims can pursue these cases independently of or along with any of the above claims. Defective products, failures to abide by industry safety regulations (like trucking regulations), and more can be grounds for personal injury lawsuits seeking compensation for medical bills.
Medical Bills After an Accident: How an Attorney Can Help
A personal injury lawyer can be a vital ally and advocate when it’s time to deal with medical bills and seek the compensation you may deserve. That’s because an attorney can:
- Identify your options for compensation: From determining liability to uncovering all the available legal remedies, a lawyer can make sure you understand your rights and legal options from the get-go.
- Work out deferrals: A skilled personal injury attorney can reach out to your doctors to negotiate options for deferring payments until the case settles.
- Determine future medical costs: When serious injuries require ongoing treatment, a lawyer can quantify what you’ll need to cover future doctors’ bills, surgeries, medication needs, assistive equipment needs, and more. This can be pivotal to helping you get the financial resources you need to pay for any medical care you may need in the months or years after the accident.
- Negotiate reduced medical bills: An attorney may be able to arrange for discounts, reductions, and/or in-network rates for some medical bills. These reductions in medication expenses can put money back in your pocket, leaving more compensation for you if your claim is successfully resolved.
Ultimately, medical bills can be just one of the many costs injured people shoulder in the aftermath of an accident. From damaged property to the lost earnings, the financial losses can be as devastating as the physical and psychological injuries. With an attorney on your side, you can be confident that your claim and financial recovery are set up for success.