GETTING YOUR MEDICAL BILLS PAID AFTER A CAR CRASH
After you have been in a auto accident that is not your fault, when you get home from the hospital, many injured parties believe that the insurance company of the person who caused the car crash will pay the medical bills right away. This will not happen. Although the insurance company for the person who caused the car crash may ultimately pay for your medical bills, those medical bills will not be paid until the end of your case, when the case is settled or until a Judge or Jury enters Verdict against the Defendant tortfeasor, which normally is years later.
Most people assume that they are not responsible for the medical bills when someone else causes the car accident. This assumption is false. The injured party is personally responsible to pay the medical bills for the medical treatment that they incur. The injured person in a car crash may ultimately be reimbursed for the medical bills, but they are primarily responsible for payment of those medical bills.
Typically, the injured person has automobile insurance, and most of the time included in the automobile insurance is medical payments coverage. The limits of the medical payment coverage vary from insurance carrier to insurance carrier with limits usually at the $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000 amounts. The person who is injured in a car crash should inform the triage receptionist at the hospital that they do have medical payments coverage and give that person the automobile insurance company’s contact information. The medical payment coverage will usually pay 100 cents on the dollar for all related medical bills up until the liability limit. Most medical payment coverage insurance does not have contractual discounts or deductibles like most health insurance policies do. The medical providers gladly accept the medical payments coverage.
After the medical payments coverage has been exhausted, the injured party should submit all of their medical bills through their group health insurance. The group health insurance will generally have contractual discounts with medical providers. Unfortunately, group health insurance does carry deductibles or co-pays, unlike medical payments coverage, and the injured party will be required to pay out of pocket, their portion of the medical bills not covered by insurance and their deductible.
The injured party in a car crash, that was caused by the negligence of another, medical bills generally will get reimbursed for their out of pocket expenses and reimbursed for their damages, including pain and suffering provided the Defendant tortfeasor had sufficient automobile insurance coverage and/or assets.
A majority of individuals who are injured in a car crash are reluctant to submit their medical bills to their own automobile insurance carrier or group health insurance thinking that if they submit their medical bills to their own insurance company, their premiums will go up and/or the Defendant tortfeasor’s insurance will automatically pay the bills. This is a mistake. The medical payment coverage on the injured party’s insurance and group health insurance has time limits to submit medical bills and failure to submit those medical bills in a timely manner can create a waiver resulting in the insurance company denying payment for those medical bills.
As stated earlier, the injured party is ultimately responsible for all the medical bills they incur because they are the ones that are receiving the medical treatment. In cases where the Defendant does not have insurance or does not have a lot of insurance and the injured party does not have medical payments coverage on their automobile policy and does not have health insurance, the medical bills can cause a financial disaster, and in some cases cause the injured party to file bankruptcy.
In a personal injury case, when you retain an experienced personal injury attorney, that attorney usually can obtain a reduction in the amount of money you are required to repay your own automobile insurance medical payments coverage and health insurance provider. After the medical payments coverage and/or health insurance coverage has paid your medical bills, those insurance companies have a right of reimbursement and/or subrogation. That means they have the right to be repaid for the monies they paid out for your medical bills from the settlement or verdict or the tortfeasor. Normally an experienced personal injury attorney can force the subrogation amount to be reduced pursuant to the Attorney Fund Doctrine. By reducing the subrogation amount, the injured party will recover more money in his/her pocket when the case is settled or tried to Verdict.
Dealing with medical bills following a car crash that is not your fault is a complex tedious task, and must be done in the proper manner to effectuate the best possible financial recovery. It is difficult because many times the injured party will not receive copies of the medical bills from each separate provider, especially after an emergency room visit. In many cases, the hospital has a separate bill, the emergency room physician has a separate bill, and the radiologist has a separate bill, as well as the ambulance. You cannot assume that the hospital will forward the proper insurance information to get your bills paid to all the other providers you have seen in the hospital.
Remember after a car crash that was not your fault, make sure to submit your medical bills first through the medical payment coverage of your own automobile insurance company, and after that benefit has been exhausted, submit all your medical bills through your group health insurance. Most importantly, retain an experienced personal injury attorney that can maximize your recovery before you speak with an insurance adjuster. Call David N. Rechenberg, from Franks & Rechenberg, P.C. at 847-854-7700, an experienced personal injury attorney to get working on your case.