Medical Bills after a Car Accident – Who Pays?

Posted by: Kemmy Law Firm

One of the most important questions after a car crash is how to handle the medical bills. If you don’t address the incoming bills right away, they can pile up. And without a way to pay, hospitals and doctors will send over-due bills to collections, ruining your credit.

By working with an experienced car accident lawyer, you get help addressing your medical bills after an accident.

The personal injury attorneys at Kemmy Law Firm have decades of experience and a long history of results handling car crashes and securing compensation for victims. If you need help with the medical bills after a car crash, give us a call at (210) 735-2233 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation.

Use Your Health Insurance

When you are injured in a car crash, use your health insurance benefits. Make sure the hospital or doctors have your most recent health insurance information and bill the insurer first.

Though circumstances might force you to pay some expenses out of pocket, like deductibles and copays, it can reduce the amount you’re responsible for.

Do You Have Medicare or Medicaid?

When you’re insured through Medicare or Medicaid, everything can take a little longer. It’s important to work with a lawyer to make sure your bills get covered. Your attorney will put Medicare/Medicaid on notice of the accident and your injuries. Then, your lawyer will make sure you exhaust any Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or other applicable auto insurance.

When you’ve hit your PIP limit, your lawyer will notify Medicare/Medicaid. Finally, your attorney will notify your medical providers to bill Medicare/Medicaid.

Expect Subrogation

When your health insurance company learns you were in a car accident and might receive compensation, it will want to be paid back—a process known as subrogation. It’s important to anticipate this issue.

When the insurance company, Medicare, or Medicaid forces you to repay it for medical treatments it covered, your settlement will be reduced.

Here’s what you need to know about subrogation:

You can negotiate. Once the insurance company brings up the issue, have your attorney begin the negotiation process regarding how much you have to pay.

Also, under Texas law, private health insurance companies are limited in their right to subrogation. When you have an attorney, a private insurer can recover to the lesser of:

  • One-half of your gross recovery minus attorney’s fees and procurement costs; or
  • The total cost of benefits paid as a direct result of the tortious conduct minus attorney’s fees or procurement costs.

When you work with an experienced car accident lawyer, they’ll know to anticipate subrogation. They’ll prepare you for which insurers might demand reimbursement and what the negotiation process will look like. They’ll also explain any subrogation limitations insurers face under state law.

Use Your Auto Insurance Coverage

If you pay for MedPay or PIP auto insurance coverage, use it. PIP usually covers medical bills and other injury-related costs, like lost income. Auto insurers have to offer at least $2,500 of PIP coverage in Texas. MedPay usually covers only medical expenses. These kinds of auto insurance policies pay medical expenses up to your policy limit.

A benefit to using MedPay and PIP auto insurance is that you might not have a deductible to pay before coverage kicks in. These policies can further reduce the amount of medical bills you have to pay out of pocket. Another benefit of PIP coverage in Texas is that the state considers it “no fault” coverage. It doesn’t matter who caused the crash and your injuries, and the PIP insurance provider can’t use subrogation to get money back.

You can consider using MedPay or PIP coverage for medical bills first. Give your medical providers your auto insurance information to bill directly. They can bill the remaining expenses to your health insurance provider.

Keep Track of Your Bills

When you’re receiving medical treatment after a car accident, you want to keep your original bills, receipts, and other paperwork. Keep them organized and in a safe place.

If you receive a bill that is a flat amount without an explanation of the charges, contact the medical facility, whether it’s a hospital or doctor’s office, and request an itemized list of the charges.

Personal injury attorneys also help track medical bills and making sure the right parties pay them. Their goal is to make sure none of these bills go to collections and that you aren’t held responsible for expenses you didn’t cause.

Dealing with the Rest of Your Medical Bills

Even with auto insurance and health insurance coverage, you will have medical bills that come due before you obtain a fair and full settlement from the at-fault driver. This process can take time, but you can’t negotiate a fair settlement until you have a full understanding of your injuries, how much you’ll need for future expenses, and your total lost income. This is why you shouldn’t accept an insurer’s initial settlement offer, which usually comes only a few weeks or months after the crash.

One of the benefits of working with an experienced lawyer is getting a clear picture on how to handle your bills, not covered by insurance while you wait for a settlement.

Option One: Pursue an agreement with the medical provider to wait for your settlement, known as an attorney lien. Some hospitals or doctors will sign an agreement saying they will take payment from your settlement, and they won’t send your bill to collections while they wait. You can continue to receive treatment while you’re working toward a settlement, too.

Option Two: Pay out of pocket if you can afford to. In most cases, you can negotiate a lower price with medical providers. You also can get a significant discount if you pay for some medical treatments upfront. Your attorney will strive to get your bills covered another way before asking you to pay out of pocket, though.

Option Three: Obtain a loan with your future settlement as collateral. It’s not always the best choice, but pre-settlement loans are available. Your attorney might be able to recommend a reputable provider.

We Help You Get Your Medical Bills Paid

When you’re hurt in a car accident caused by someone else, it’s incredibly frustrating to have to deal with the bills. It feels like you’re the one responsible for a situation someone else caused.

By partnering with a car accident attorney, you get help making sure insurance and the at-fault driver pays for your medical bills, even if it takes some time to receive everything you deserve.

Send Kemmy Law Firm your information online or call (210) 735-2233. We offer free initial consultations and don’t charge fees up-front. We’re only paid after you recover compensation.

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When you work with us at Kemmy Law Firm, you are working with a family run firm with more than 50 years of combined experience. We are dedicated and successful trial attorneys practicing in West TX, Hobbs, NM, Midland-Odessa, and across the Permian Basin. Our team handles everything from catastrophic injury claims to complex business matters. We are here to fight for you. We dedicate our time and attention to your case and use every resource available to maximize your claim and obtain the best possible outcome.