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Who Pays for Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

By Butler Prather LLP on December 22, 2021

If you sustain an injury in a car accident, your number one priority must be seeking medical care. However, you also need to know who is going to pay the medical bills that will inevitably start pouring in. Determining who is going to pay medical bills after a car accident will depend on which party was at fault, insurance carrier limitations, and various other factors related to the claim. In general, if another driver causes an accident, their insurance carrier will be responsible for paying the medical bills of other individuals who sustain injuries. However, it is not uncommon for there to be a significant gap in time between when the accident occurs and when the claim is finally settled and paid.

The Immediate Medical Bill Responsibility

In the immediate aftermath of a vehicle accident, individuals must seek medical care. They cannot hesitate and wait to see if the insurance carrier of the at-fault party is going to pay the expenses. Often, this means individuals have to take an ambulance to the hospital or go right to the emergency room for medical treatment.

We need to point out how crucial it is for individuals to seek medical care immediately following a vehicle accident, even if they do not have any visible injuries or immediate pain. It is not uncommon for some car accident injuries to display symptoms hours or even days following the crash.

Even though the ultimate goal is to ensure that the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier pays these medical expenses, this payment will not come through immediately. These initial medical bills are going to be sent right to the crash victim to be handled by their personal insurance carrier or paid out-of-pocket. If the other driver was indeed at fault, these expenses will be reimbursed.

Paying for Follow-Up Care

Some vehicle accident victims may not need additional medical treatment, but that is not always the case. We always recommend that crash victims continue medical care until their doctor says they have reached maximum medical improvement. This can include extended hospital stays, surgery, medical devices or prescription medications, and even physical therapy and rehabilitation.

This follow-up care can become very costly, and these bills will come due. In the event the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier decides to fight a claim, or if a personal injury lawsuit has to be filed, this can extend the amount of time it takes for a settlement to come through to cover these medical bills.

It may be possible for a crash victim and their Atlanta car accident attorney to speak with medical providers and ask them to continue providing care while promising them that they will be paid after a successful settlement or jury verdict. In some cases, a medical provider will do this. However, medical providers may place a “medical lien” on the eventual settlement or verdict.

Paying Back a Personal Insurance Carrier

If a crash victim had to rely on their personal insurance carrier to pay for their medical bills while waiting for an eventual settlement from the other driver’s insurance carrier, then any payments may have to be paid back at some point. The personal insurance carrier may be entitled to repayment through a process called subrogation, which means they have the right to be repaid for the amount that they already handed over for the medical expenses.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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