DO I HAVE TO PAY THE BILLS IF A WRECK WASN’T MY FAULT?
This is another tricky one. A lot of people put off seeing a doctor after a car wreck because they don’t want to pay for it, especially if they don’t feel badly hurt. Plus they may not be sure they want to pursue legal action or may even worry that the other driver has no insurance to pay for it.
So who has to pay for your medical bills after a car wreck?
THE SHORT ANSWER IS YOU DO, BUT IN MANY CASES, YOU CAN GET REIMBURSED.
Here are some scenarios.
If you have health insurance…
…You can submit your bills to your health insurance just like any other doctor visit. You would still be responsible for copays, deductibles, and uncovered services. If you were not at fault for the accident, your insurance company will want to be reimbursed by the person who was (or their insurance company). Additionally, you can be reimbursed for any copays, deductibles, and uncovered services that you had to pay from the at fault driver’s insurance company.
If you have Med Pay coverage…
…You can be reimbursed pretty quickly for your out-of-pocket expenses like copays, deductibles, prescriptions, uncovered services, and so on. This pays you regardless of fault!
If the wreck was not your fault and the other driver had insurance…
…Their insurance company will reimburse you and/or your insurance company for your medical bills up to whatever their policy requires. The problem is, this does not happen until your case settles, which does not happen until you have completed treatment, which could be months, or even years in some cases.
If the other driver did not have insurance or did not have enough insurance, AND you have Uninsured Motorists coverage…
…Your car insurance company will reimburse you for your medical expenses once your case is resolved, which again can take some time.
If you have a car accident attorney working on your case for you…
…Your lawyer can sometimes work with your doctor to have their payment put on hold until your case settles, which can relieve the immediate burden of having to pay for it yourself.
If you don’t have medical insurance, medical payment coverage or UM coverage and the other driver had no insurance…
…Then you are responsible for all of your medical bills.
So the bottom line is this, you are ultimately responsible for your medical bills. However, the other driver’s insurance company or your own car insurance company may reimburse you for your expenses depending on coverage and who is at fault. Med Pay coverage can help a lot if you have it. And an attorney can also help a lot by negotiating with your doctors to put your bills on hold or to reduce their fees for their services.