Who pays the medical bills in a car accident when the fault is not yours? When you or a loved one becomes injured in a car accident and must seek medical attention, the last thing you think about is how much it is going to cost you. After treatment, however, the medical bills start arriving and sticker shock is usually the reaction.
What if the accident was your fault? Either way, if you have been injured and received medical care as a result, the medical companies, out of pocket costs and bills soon follow. What if you do not have the money to pay your medical bills after a car accident? Luckily, there are some strategies to tackling your medical debt. Here’s how.
In most states all drivers are required to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This type of insurance is designed to cover at least 80% of your initial medical bills. Once your medical bills max this amount out then your health insurance kicks in. If you do not have health insurance, then the rest must come out of your pocket.
Most drivers have the basic PIP insurance and in most states the insurance pays medical costs regardless of whose fault it is. PIP does not pay every medical bill you have, unfortunately.
Most PIP coverages have limits. On average PIP pays up to $10,000 per person for injury or illness as a result of a car wreck. This requires a healthcare professional to sign off and certify that you were injured as a result of the accident. This is referred to as an Emergency Medical Condition (EMC). What if you do not have an EMC? You still receive payment, but not as much. Expect, on average, only $2,500 per person if treatment was not an emergency. This varies from state to state and policy to policy.
All states implementing PIP insurance as mandatory have a 14-day clause attached. This means you have 14 days to receive medical treatment and to report the accident to the insurance company. Time is not on your side, so it is in your best interest to file quickly.
If you wait to report then many medical charges are denied by your insurance agency. PIP covers such treatments as medical imaging charges, surgery, dental repair, rehabilitative treatments, ambulance charges or hospital/facility fees.
Understand that if your insurance company pays for your medical bills, but then you later receive award money for the bill, the insurance company must be repaid. The legal term for this is subrogation. It prevents accident victims from being compensated for the same injury twice. For example, your insurance company paid for the hospital fees but then later you received an award amount from a local charity to cover the hospital fees. You must repay the insurance company back.
The same holds true if you receive payment for medical bills and car accident settlement after you receive money from another source, you must repay the insurance company back.