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News Stories

Who Pays Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

If you or somebody you care about has been involved in a car accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver, then you undoubtedly have expenses that need to be covered. This can include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more. Of these, the most pressing issue is often medical expenses after a vehicle accident occurs.

Who pays these bills?

Here, we want to discuss how medical bills get paid after a vehicle accident occurs. In particular, we want to talk about who pays the immediate medical bills before any type of settlement can be reached, as well as who may be responsible for paying for the overall medical bills in the long run after an accident.

Medical Bills Arising Right After a Car Accident

Unfortunately, many car accident victims do not have the luxury of waiting for an insurance carrier to tell them they can receive medical care after a crash occurs. Sometimes, car accident victims need medical care immediately. Anytime a person sustains an injury in a car accident, they need to go to the hospital or doctor as soon as possible to receive treatment.

Imagine how ridiculous it would be if a person who sustained a traumatic brain injury had to wait until the insurance carrier approved the treatment before they could receive medical care.

In the immediate aftermath of a vehicle accident, these medical bills will technically be the responsibility of the injury victim. Luckily, emergency medical care will not require immediate payment. The ultimate goal is for the at-fault party in the vehicle accident to have their insurance carrier pay the immediate medical expenses that arose.

Ongoing Bills Before a Settlement is Reached

As with these immediate medical bills that arise after a vehicle accident, there are sometimes ongoing medical bills that a crash victim incurs while awaiting a settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier.

However, because this ongoing care is typically not an emergency, there will need to be some agreements made between the crash victim and the medical professionals when it comes to getting these bills paid. If the crash victim has their own health insurance, they may need to rely on this to cover their medical bills in the interim. It should be noted that the personal health insurance carrier may have the right to recover compensation out of an eventual settlement or jury verdict through subrogation. This simply means that they will be entitled to payment out of the settlement or jury verdict amount for the money that they forked over for the medical care.

However, if there is no other insurance to be used, it may be necessary to ask the health care professional to continue the medical care on the promise that they will receive payment for the services they render after the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier settles the claim or after a personal injury lawsuit is concluded.

In these cases, the medical professionals may place a medical lien against any eventual settlement or jury verdict in the case. This will give them the right to recover compensation for the medical services that they provided at a reduced cost or for free. They will be paid out of the final settlement check.

An Insurance Settlement or a Trial?

The car accident can be settled in one of two ways – through a settlement with the insurance carrier of the at-fault party or through a personal injury lawsuit jury verdict. The vast majority of car accident cases in San Bernardino are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. However, there are times when the insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement, which means the victim may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver and their insurance carrier. These cases can take much longer to play out, meaning it can take longer for medical bills to get paid.