How Medical Bills Are Paid After an Accident

Personal injuries sustained in an automobile collision or any other accident can require expensive medical treatment. However, there are options as to how medical bills from an accident get paid. This all depends on the state you live in and the type of insurance you have.

Medical billing statement with a stethoscope

In California, there are “at fault” insurance laws. Whoever is found legally at-fault for an accident, through an insurance company’s or a legal investigation, must pay all “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses. Legal fault is often based on a negligence standard and, in California, comparative fault applies. This means that during a dispute, fault can be placed on more than one person and each individual involved may have a percentage of fault. Therefore, you may be found responsible for a portion of the medical costs incurred while another party may be liable for another portion.

When Does My Insurance Kick In?

If you are at-fault for a motor vehicle accident, you’re financially obligated to compensate the victim for any property damage or medical bills. Your insurance company will investigate to determine your level of fault and how much you must pay. And the more liability coverage you have, the greater the insurance payments you’ll receive.

When you’re the victim of an accident, and not at-fault, call the police and emergency medical services, and contact your own auto and health insurers, as well as the other driver’s insurance company to begin the claims process. An investigation will follow, so you won’t be paid before the bills start coming in. Therefore, you’ll need a thorough record of expenses related to the accident to submit after the investigation is complete.

In this case, your bills are paid once a settlement is received, though much of it will go towards medical bills, healthcare insurers, insurance providers, and attorneys.

If an at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, they must still pay your medical bills. However, acquiring such payments can be challenging and timely; however, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can protect you.

Medical Payments Coverage

California auto insurers often have med-pay coverage for medical expenses up to a certain amount, usually not more than $10,000. Although this can help pay at least some bills, insurers often apply subrogation rights, meaning they have a right to be reimbursed when your settlement proceeds come in.

Some medical specialists may agree to treat you with no upfront charge. This helps when a health insurer refuses to approve treatment, or you have no health insurance. You can therefore receive medication, therapy, procedures, and sometimes surgeries with a written agreement to pay for services rendered with your personal injury settlement. The referral of an attorney is often required. But you’ll likely have to pay regardless of whether your case wins or loses.

Complicating Factors

Getting insurance payments for medical treatment isn’t easy. By nature, insurers try to pay out as little as they can. Also, the law requires responsible parties to pay only the “reasonable value” of treatment you receive, so everything you paid for may not be compensated for.

Apply for Legal Funding in Los Angeles

Hiring an attorney is always advised if you’re injured in an accident in which another party is at-fault. But how do you pay for legal services, medical bills, and daily expenses? That’s where FCA Legal Funding can help. Just apply online and we’ll contact your attorney, then provide non-recourse legal funding within 24 hours for while you wait for a personal injury accident settlement. We’re not paid back unless your case wins.

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