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Who Pays My Medical Bills After A Car Accident?

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After a car accident, you want to heal, fix your car and get back to normal—preferably without making too big of a dent in your bank account. The accident wasn’t even your fault, so why should you have to foot the bill? Who’s paying the bills while you’re trying to get back on your feet?  Many people have "medical payment coverage" under this own auto policy that will pay for medical expenses up to their coverage limits.

While your trying to figure all this out, the other driver's insurance company sends you a settlement offer.  It's instant money that will pay all your bills and get things back to normal.   Don't fall for it.   Any settlement offer they make is likely to be far less than you need or deserve.

If you take the money now, that's all you're going to get. The money may pay your current bills, but if your condition leads to other health matters, there's going to be future medical bills, lost wages, therapy....all things that a doctor may not be able to diagnose right after the injury.  


With that in mind, you can tell the other driver’s insurance company that you want to wait and properly access your condition. Of course, while you wait to heal, the bills pile up. The question remains: Who is paying for this?

Out of Pocket
If you can afford it, you can pay some of your own medical bills out of pocket. This is better than accepting a small settlement offer because you may be reimbursed later once your fair, larger settlement is finalized.

Health Insurance
Initially, your health insurance company might cover some or all of the costs of your treatment. You may receive help from:

  • Employer-related health coverage
  • Individual health policy
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid


Liens
The insurance company will honor their obligation and pay for your medical bills now, but since another party’s negligence caused their costs and not you, the company will want to recover the money they’ve paid on your behalf. If you receive a settlement, your health or auto insurance company may get their money back through a lien, a legal claim the company puts on your settlement money to make sure they get reimbursed. Some doctors will treat you on the promise of getting paid later through a lien.

Having a Helpful Attorney
Dealing with another driver’s insurance company, as well as your own car and health insurance, can be a hassle. Working with an attorney can certainly go a long way toward alleviating that stress. Lawyers experienced in handling car accident cases know what works and what doesn’t. What tasks does a personal injury attorney handle on behalf of a client who has been in an accident?

  • Communicating with the other driver’s insurance company
  • Obtaining necessary evidence of liability (by interviewing witnesses, checking the police report, etc.)
  • Organizing medical records and bills
  • Communicating with healthcare providers
  • Organizing and presenting evidence to prove liability
  • Negotiating with health, disability, or workers’ compensation insurers to reduce liens
  • Negotiating with adjusters


An attorney can also help you avoid making mistakes such as waiving your right to subrogation. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to get you to sign off on a “waiver of subrogation” so your insurance company can’t get reimbursed for money it has paid out to you. If your insurer finds out that you’ve waived subrogation after the accident, they may refuse to pay your claim. Most people don’t know what “subrogation” even means, let alone what they’re agreeing to if they sign a waiver. An attorney would be able to keep you from making such a disastrous mistake.

Once the at-fault party’s insurer makes a settlement offer, your attorney can analyze the offer to see if it’s fair and if it will be enough to cover your costs. If you agree to the settlement, the insurance company is obligated to pay it out in full within a pre-determined period of time, at the risk of incurring interest charges. When the check clears, the attorney will deal with any of your existing liens, which may come from:

  • Healthcare providers
  • Health insurance companies
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid


Your personal injury attorney will now keep his or her agreed-upon portion of the money, and will then issue the remainder to you via check. Your liens and attorney fees have been taken care of before the money even reaches you. Now you have everything you need to pay any medical bills you originally paid for out of pocket.


If you or a family member have been involved in a car accident, contact our offices.  For over 40 years, LDM&M have been representing people across Wisconsin to ensure that they get the compensation they deserve.