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Who Pays for Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

Posted on May 17, 2021 in

Car accidents are one of the most common causes of serious injuries. A car accident can injure all parts of the body, leading to expensive medical bills and ongoing care. It is common to wonder who will pay for these bills after a car crash. The answer depends on several factors, including the laws in your state and the circumstances of the car crash. To explore all of your potential outlets for financial recovery after a car accident, consult with a qualified Queen Creek car accident lawyer.

Who Pays Medical Bills In A Car Accident

Fault vs. No-Fault States

One of the key facts to know is that the at-fault party, or defendant, in your car accident case is not responsible for paying for your medical bills on an ongoing basis. When the bills start coming in, you are generally responsible for paying for them upfront. You can do this out of pocket, through your health insurance or, if you have medical pay (Med Pay) auto insurance coverage, through this.

In Arizona, if someone else caused your car accident, that person will eventually be responsible for paying you or your insurance company back through an insurance settlement or – in rare cases – a jury verdict. It is up to you or your car accident attorney to prove fault to an insurance provider, judge or jury to obtain compensation for your medical expenses. This is how Arizona’s fault insurance system works.

If you lived in a no-fault state, on the other hand, your own auto insurance company will pay for your medical bills. In a no-fault state, all drivers must purchase personal injury protection insurance. This type of car insurance will pay for the policyholder’s crash-related medical bills right away, regardless of fault for the wreck.

What About Health Insurance?

If you have a health insurance policy that pays for your medical bills from a car accident upfront, you may encounter a medical lien. A medical lien is a claim a hospital can make against your personal injury settlement. It prevents you from recovering twice: once when your health insurance company pays for your bills and the second time when you receive a settlement for your medical expenses from the defendant.

With a medical lien, the hospital will automatically deduct what it spent on your medical bills from your settlement or verdict. A lawyer may be able to help you negotiate a medical lien to ensure that the hospital does not recover more than you do for your injuries. The other possibility is a process called insurance subrogation, where your health insurance company files a claim directly with the defendant’s insurance provider for reimbursement.

Uninsured/Underinsured Drivers

If you get into a car accident with an uninsured driver, it may be more difficult to obtain financial compensation for your medical bills. Since the other driver does not have automobile insurance available to pay for your medical expenses, you may have to seek payment from your own insurance provider. Your own insurer may pay for your medical expenses if you have purchased uninsured or underinsured driver insurance.

If you do not have this type of insurance, you may have to try other outlets for medical bill payment, such as filing a personal injury lawsuit against the individual driver or searching for a third party to hold accountable, such as the driver’s employer or the government.

Figuring out who pays for your medical bills after a car accident can be difficult. Your options may include a third-party auto insurance claim, a first-party claim, Med Pay auto insurance, private health insurance, government insurance, insurance subrogation, workers’ compensation or a medical lien. The best way to resolve your car accident case and receive the financial compensation for your medical bills that you deserve is by hiring a car accident attorney.