How to Handle Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident
Bill Allen | February 25, 2022 | Car Accidents
Prompt medical attention after a car accident is important for your health and a personal injury claim. Delays in medical care could result in your injuries becoming worse. In addition, failing to mitigate damages by seeking medical treatment could result in a lower amount of compensation for your claim.
Furthermore, delays in seeing a doctor after a car crash give the insurance company a reason to deny your claim. The adjuster may argue that the car wreck did not cause your injuries. Had you been injured in the car accident, you would have sought immediate medical care.
Unfortunately, medical treatment for car accident injuries can be expensive. So who pays your medical bills after a car accident? How should you handle your medical bills after a car crash?
Florida’s No-Fault Insurance and Medical Bills
Florida’s no-fault insurance (Personal Injury Protection or PIP) pays up to 80 percent of your “necessary and reasonable” medical bills after a car accident. Your PIP insurance coverage applies regardless of whether you or the other driver caused the traffic accident.
However, PIP only pays a portion of the medical bills up to $10,000. Therefore, if you sustained a serious injury, PIP may not cover all treatment costs. Even for minor injuries, it only covers a portion of the medical bills.
Furthermore, you must see a medical provider within 14 days of the accident. If the medical provider determines that you didn’t have an emergency medical condition, the no-fault insurance coverage for medical expenses is limited to $2,500.
Suing the Other Driver for Medical Costs and Other Damages
If you sustained a serious injury, you might have the right to sue the other driver for reimbursement of medical bills. You may also receive compensation for other economic damages, such as lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses. A personal injury lawsuit can also pay for pain and suffering (non-economic) damages.
However, you must prove that the other driver caused the accident before you can recover any money for your medical costs and damages. Furthermore, you do not receive compensation until your case is resolved.
Depending on how long it takes you to complete medical treatment, it could take months or up to a year or more to settle an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. Likewise, if you file a lawsuit, it could take well over a year for the case to settle or go to trial.
During that time, you are responsible for paying your medical bills.
Health Insurance May Pay Some Medical Bills After an Accident
If you have MedPay insurance coverage, it might pay some of the medical bills not covered by PIP insurance. Your health insurance provider might cover the remaining bills. Medicaid and Medicare may also cover car accident medical bills.
Your insurance contract determines when and how much the company will pay for medical bills related to a car crash. However, it is essential to understand that you might be required to pay these companies back for any bills they pay.
Health insurance companies, Medicaid, and Medicare have subrogation rights against the settlement proceeds or jury verdict from a personal injury claim. In other words, the companies can demand that you reimburse them for medical bills they paid related to the car accident before you receive any money for your injury claim.
Your attorney is required to pay these claims. Furthermore, if a medical provider or hospital has a medical lien, the lien would be paid from the settlement or jury verdict before you receive any money.
Medical liens are common in car accident cases because it could take months to settle a claim and receive money. A medical lien allows you to receive medical treatment even though you cannot pay the bill immediately.
Tracking Medical Expenses in a Personal Injury Case
You should ensure that your medical bills are included in your injury claim so your doctors and other providers can receive payment. Therefore, it is wise to keep track of medical expenses as you receive treatment.
Keep a log of all medical procedures, treatments, and appointments. Make copies of all medical bills and health insurance reports you receive. Give these documents to your personal injury attorney.
If you cannot pay the medical bills, talk with your lawyer. Ignoring the bills causes the providers to stop treatment or send the bills to collections. Debt collection can ruin your credit report.
Your attorney may be able to negotiate with the medical provider to accept a medical lien to continue treatment without transferring the account to collections.
You Are Responsible for Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident
Ultimately, you are responsible for paying the medical bills incurred because of a car accident. Working with an Ocala car accident attorney can help you recover the maximum compensation available for your claim. Your attorney also works to negotiate subrogation claims to reduce the amount owed and settle medical liens for less than you owe.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in North Central Florida
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