Generally, you are responsible for paying for your medical bills after a car accident. That is the case even if you may not have been responsible for causing the car crash. However, if another driver was at fault for the accident, you may be able to receive reimbursement for medical expenses by filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

Handling Medical Bills After a Car Accident

If you sustained injuries in a car crash, it is crucial that you receive medical care as soon as possible. 

Prompt medical care after a car accident reduces the chance that injuries worsen into life-threatening conditions. It also reduces the risk you might develop permanent impairments. Immediate medical care also improves your chance of recovering full compensation for damages.

How your medical bills are handled after a car accident depends on your insurance and other factors. Some of your medical expenses will likely need to be paid before you receive a settlement for your accident claim. A car accident lawyer can help you understand the process of settling an accident claim and offer guidance about how to handle medical bills.

Do You Have Health Insurance or Medical Payment Car Insurance?

If you have health insurance, your health insurance should cover the cost of medical treatment for accident injuries. However, you are responsible for deductibles and copays. There could also be other policy terms that limit payment of some medical bills.

Medicaid and Medicare may also pay medical expenses related to a car accident. However, as with private health insurance, your coverage is limited to the terms and conditions of the medical coverage.

Some individuals have medical payment coverage as part of their car insurance policy. The coverage may be referred to as “med pay.” Your automobile insurance carrier should pay for medical bills related to the car accident up to the policy limits. You do not need to prove fault for med pay coverage. 

If you do not have health insurance or med pay coverage, you are personally responsible for paying the medical expenses out of your own pocket. However, some medical providers may work with you to spread out the payments to make the cost more affordable. 

Unfortunately for many accident victims, medical bills after a car accident create financial hardship. In addition, unpaid medical bills may be sent to collections, creating other financial troubles for the accident victim.

Should I Enter a Medical Lien with the Hospital and My Doctors?

Some medical providers accept medical liens from accident victims. In exchange for providing medical treatment and services, you agree to pay the provider for any personal injury settlement or jury verdict you receive for your car accident case.

These agreements are liens. They are legally binding, and the medical bills must be paid before you receive any money from the final settlement or jury verdict. Your personal injury attorney can explain more about medical liens and your obligations under these liens.

Will I Have to Pay My Health Insurance Company Back?

Generally, insurance companies have a right to be reimbursed for bills they paid related to a car accident if you receive compensation for those costs. The right to reimbursement is called subrogation. Subrogation claims apply to private health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare. 

Your personal injury lawyer may be able to negotiate a lower payment for subrogation claims, especially if you do not receive a large settlement and the claims will leave you very little compensation for other damages. However, the companies are not legally required to negotiate or accept a lower amount for their subrogation claim. 

Examples of Medical Expenses for Car Accident Injuries

The types of medical bills you incur after a car accident depend on the type and severity of your car accident injuries. 

Common medical bills that you might receive after a car crash include:

  • Ambulance fees
  • Emergency room bills
  • Diagnostic tests, including blood tests, CT scans, x-rays, ultrasounds, and MRIs
  • Hospital bills for in-patient treatment
  • Physicians’ bills, including general practice doctors, surgeons, radiologists, specialists, etc.
  • Costs of physical, occupational, and other forms of therapy

In addition to the above medical bills, you may have out-of-pocket medical expenses that you must pay. You may have to pay for prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and medical equipment. You also may incur transportation costs to and from medical appointments or expenses.

Documenting your medical expenses is crucial. You cannot recover compensation for your medical expenses unless you have proof of the charge. Therefore, keep copies of all medical bills and invoices. Additionally, keep copies of all receipts for out-of-pocket medical expenses.

If you retain a personal injury lawyer to handle your case, the legal team assists you with documenting your medical expenses. However, you need to provide detailed information regarding out-of-pocket costs because those expenses will not show up on medical bills and statements from your medical providers. Keeping detailed records can help you receive the compensation you deserve after a car accident.