Who’s Responsible for your Medical Bills after a Car Accident?

Everything you need to know about Car Accident Injury Settlements.

Consumers have to deal with an insurance industry that at best generates plenty of confusion, and at worst produces misleading information concerning insurance laws. This is the case with automobile liability insurance as well. Many consumers believe that when they have been involved in a car accident that is not their fault, all the related medical bills should be sent to the liability insurance company of the driver who was at fault. This can be a costly mistake, as liability insurance companies are not under any legal obligation to pay medical bills until either a settlement is reached, or a judgment has been entered against the negligent driver by a civil court.
Most liability insurance companies prefer to settle auto crash liability claims as quickly as possible to avoid the high costs of protracted legal battles. However, if injury victims settle too quickly, they will not receive compensation for all of their damages, including medical bills. Waiting too long to pursue a claim, on the other hand, can result in the expiration of the time limit for filing the claim in court. This is one reason that it is very important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney shortly after medical treatment has started.

Where should you send your medical bills after a car accident?

Remember that if you have a valid liability claim, the insurance company for the at fault driver will be happy to receive any medical bills, medical records, or other information that you send them. This does not mean that the insurance company will actually pay the any of the bills. Claims adjusters for the insurance company are simply trying to gather every piece of information that they can, hoping that some of the information will help to defeat or decrease the value of your claim. For example, auto liability insurance adjusters are especially happy to find any records showing pre-existing medical conditions which they can argue are what really caused your symptoms after an accident, rather than the accident itself.
Many people who are injured wonder about how to best handle medical bills after a car crash. Do you send medical bills to the other driver’s insurer? The answer to this question is almost always “no,” for the reasons stated above. But then what? Should you send them to your own health insurance company? Send them to your own automobile insurer to be paid through the medical payments coverage of your policy? Answering these questions can be complicated, and requires an experienced personal injury to gather information about the particular circumstances involved.
In most cases, we recommend that injury victims insist that their medical providers submit bills to their health insurer for payment rather than the other driver’s insurer or their own insurer. This is because health insurance plans almost always pay medical bills at a significantly discounted rate. Although health insurers are almost always entitled to reimbursement for the amounts that they paid out of an injured person’s settlement, an experienced attorney will know whether a reduction of the reimbursement is possible. Ultimately, this will help the injured person recover the most compensation for their injuries.
When bills are submitted for payment through health insurance, there are often additional amounts that must be paid because of co-pays or deductibles required by the health insurance policy. For this reason, we frequently recommend that if injury victims have medical payments coverage under their own auto insurance policy, they should pay out of pocket any co-pays or deductibles left over after the health insurance is applied. They should save their receipts for those out of pocket payments, and then send those receipts to their own automobile insurer for reimbursement.
What is “normal,” however, might not be the best solution in your case. If you are injured in an auto accident, you should contact an experienced injury attorney and discuss the specifics of your case.