Who Pays Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident: What You Need to Know

Accidents cause injuries. Worse, injuries create medical bills. Medical fees from a typical car accident average $29,000. With such high costs, paying your medical bills after a car accident can be a struggle. 

If you’ve been injured in a car crash, you might wonder, “Who will pay my medical bills?” The good news is that there are ways to pay them. Here’s what to know about paying your medical bills after a car accident. 

Before we begin, remember that every car accident case is unique. So, the answer to “Who will pay my medical bills after a car accident?” will depend on the circumstances in your case. But some things appear in many cases. This article will look at some of the most common options for payment of medical bills after car accidents. 

Types of medical bills after a car accident

Medical expenses can pile up quickly after an accident. For example, if you need to take an ambulance to the emergency room after the accident, you will be billed for those services. Other typical medical bills after a car accident include: 

  • Visits to your primary care doctor, 
  • Visits to specialty doctors, 
  • Visits to urgent care clinics or emergency rooms, 
  • Surgeries, 
  • Laboratory tests, 
  • Imaging (X-rays, MRIs, etc.), 
  • Physical therapy visits,
  • Medical devices, and
  • Prescriptions.

If you are billed for any of these, you may be entitled to compensation. 

Option #1 – The other driver’s insurance policy

The most common way of paying your medical bills after a car accident is filing a claim with the other driver’s auto insurance company. This is called a third-party insurance claim.

Filing an insurance claim is a pretty straightforward process. But filing a claim does not always result in the payment of medical bills for at least two reasons. 

First, insurance companies and insurance adjusters are always looking for reasons to deny claims. They might argue that your injuries are not that severe or that your course of treatment was not medically recommended or too aggressive. An Alabama accident attorney will know how to fight back against the insurance company’s claims. 

Second, the insurance company might say that you caused the accident. Alabama follows a rule called contributory negligence. This rule says that if a person is even 1% responsible for causing an accident, they cannot recover any damages. Any evidence that you caused the accident will give the insurance company an excuse to deny your claim. 

Option #2 – Your health insurance policy

You can ask your health insurance company to cover your car accident medical bills. Most private health insurance companies (i.e., not Medicare or Medicaid) will pay medical bills related to a car accident. The process works like any other health insurance claim that you would file – but with one major difference. Let’s say that your health insurance company pays your medical bills after the auto accident. Then, you settle with the other driver. You will have to use part of the settlement to repay the health insurance company. This process – called subrogation – can be complicated. A Birmingham personal injury lawyer can help you understand how everything works. 

Option #3 – Your own auto insurance policy 

Sometimes, your car insurance policy is the best choice for paying your medical bills after a car accident. There are three times when you should consider filing a claim with your insurance company.

First, if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, your own policy is the best bet. In Alabama, every driver who buys an auto policy must be offered Uninsured Motorist /Underinsured Motorist coverage (UI/UIM coverage). If your policy has this coverage, you can file a claim that will pay if an uninsured driver hits you.

Second, the same principle applies if the other driver is underinsured. An underinsured driver has insurance, but the limits are too low to cover your medical bills. Currently, Alabama law only requires drivers to buy auto policies that cover $25,000 worth of bodily injuries per person. So, if the other driver has a $25,000 limit but your medical bills total more than $25,000, your own policy’s UI/UIM coverage is the way to go. 

Finally, if you don’t have health insurance, you should check your auto insurance policy to see if you have medical payment coverage (also called “MedPay”). If your car insurance policy has MedPay, it will cover some of your medical expenses. Even better, MedPay applies no matter who was at fault. 

Option #4 –  The hospital  

Believe it or not, most hospitals will treat car accident victims without charging them immediately. But the care isn’t entirely free. The hospital will file something called a lien against you. The lien gives the hospital the power to collect its money back if you settle or win a verdict. Your Alabama injury lawyer can tell you more about how hospital liens work

Option #5 – Your lawyer

Did you know that a lawyer can help you pay for healthcare after a car accident? If you don’t have health insurance, your accident lawyer might be able to negotiate something with the hospital or doctors. The agreement would let you get medical treatment now and pay for it when the settlement or verdict is paid. This process is called an attorney’s medical lien. If you’re having trouble paying your medical bills after a car accident, your Birmingham injury attorney might be able to help you set up a deal with a medical provider.

Need help paying medical bills after a car accident? If you’ve been worried about paying your medical bills after a car accident, Collins Law can help. We handle car crashes, trucking accidents, and many other types of collisions. Our firm will work tirelessly to get you the compensation that you deserve. If you’d like to see how our firm can help you, call us at 205-588-1411 or use our website’s online scheduling tool.