How to Handle Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident
Brian White | November 14, 2020 | Auto Accidents
Medical bills after a car accident can total hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even if your medical bills are not quite that high, it can still be difficult to pay tens of thousands of dollars for medical treatment. Most people do not have the cash in their bank account to pay medical bills as they incur the bills.
Unfortunately, you are responsible for the payment of your medical bills after a car crash. You do not receive reimbursement for medical costs for a car accident until you settle your car accident claim. Your settlement amount typically includes compensation for the cost of medical care.
Settling your injury claim before completing medical treatment could result in a much lower settlement amount. Therefore, what should you do about your medical bills until then?
Health Insurance Might Cover Medical Bills for a Car Accident
If you have health insurance, your health insurance coverage might apply. You are responsible for any copays or deductibles. Also, the policy terms apply to the type of charges covered by your insurance policy.
If your health insurance company pays medical bills related to the car crash, the insurance company has a subrogation claim against any settlement you receive for a personal injury claim. The claim must be paid before you receive any money for your damages. In other words, you must reimburse the health insurance company for any money it paid for health care costs related to the car accident.
Your car accident lawyer might be able to negotiate a lower payoff of the subrogation claim with your health insurance company to get more money in your pocket for your injury claim.
PIP or Med-Pay Insurance Coverage
All drivers in Texas are required to carry liability automobile insurance coverage. Liability coverage compensates victims of a car accident that you cause. It does not cover your medical bills or other damages.
Insurance companies must include PIP coverage in automobile insurance policies. However, people can decline no-fault insurance coverage if they desire. Med-Pay coverage is not required to be offered to Texas residents.
PIP and Med-Pay coverage are types of no-fault insurance coverage. You would receive the benefits under these policies even if you were at fault for causing the car accident. If you have this type of auto insurance coverage, it can help pay your medical bills as you incur the bills.
If you cannot afford to pay for medical care after a car accident, your car accident lawyer might discuss a medical lien with your medical provider. A medical lien is a legally enforceable agreement between you and the medical provider.
The medical provider agrees to provide treatment without requiring immediate payment. You agree to pay the medical bills from your personal injury settlement proceeds before you receive money for your damages.
Your attorney might be able to negotiate a lower payoff of the medical lien to keep more money for your other damages, but there is no guarantee.
Types of Medical Bills Included in a Car Accident Claim
When you are injured in a car accident, motorcycle crash, or truck accident, you incur medical bills. Pedestrians and bicyclists hit by automobiles also incur medical bills because of the accident. The cost of medical treatment depends on the type and severity of the injury.
For instance, diagnosis and treatment of a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury might be more expensive than treating a broken bone or whiplash. However, you cannot know how much the medical treatment costs until your doctor releases you from treatment.
The cost of reasonable and necessary medical treatment is included in a personal injury claim. Examples of medical bills included in a car accident claim are:
- Ambulance costs
- Emergency room fees
- Physicians’ bills
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Vocational therapy
- Mental health treatment for psychological injuries
- Medications and medical equipment
- Chiropractic care
- Personal care costs and in-home health care
In addition to past and present medical costs, you might receive compensation for future medical care and personal care. Future damages are included in cases involving permanent impairments.
For example, car accident victims who sustain a permanent disability might require long-term personal care and ongoing medical treatment. In those cases, medical experts and financial experts estimate the cost of future care. The amount of future care is included in the settlement demand.
Working with a car accident attorney can help you maximize the value of your financial damages, which includes medical bills. Your financial damages can directly impact the calculation of pain and suffering damages. Therefore, you want to make sure that you include all medical bills and costs in your demand settlement to increase your chance of receiving the best possible settlement offer for your car accident case.
Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC
3120 Southwest Fwy Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098