So you’re on your way to work, and the unthinkable happens – you are involved in a car accident, and you’ve sustained an injury that requires medical attention. Unfortunately, life does happen. What next? Regardless of your personal insurance coverage, regardless of who appears to be at fault, the first thing you need to do is seek medical treatment. Once you are on the road to recovery, you can consider the coverage of your medical and pharmaceutical bills.
(1) Where you have a car accident and (2) what type of automobile insurance coverage will generally govern how your medical bills will be paid. If you get into a car accident in a state that does not have “no fault” insurance, you will generally be responsible for paying your medical bills. However, some drivers in these states have medical payment insurance coverage (known in the industry as “med pay” coverage. This type of coverage will pay the medical bills of the driver and any passengers involved in the car accident with the insured, up to the limits of the “med pay” coverage. The limits of med pay is generally $10,000. Over that amount, you will be responsible for any medical bills.
In “no fault” states, payment of medical bills is a little different than the scenario described above. No fault insurance means that your automobile insurer will pay some or all of your medical bills if you get into an accident, no matter who is at fault. There is a limit to the amount of medical bills that your insurer will pay with this type of coverage, and that limit differs from state to state. It is generally $10,000 or less. If your medical bills exceed the amount of coverage, then you are responsible for the medical bills over the amount of the insurance coverage.
In both of these scenarios, if you have health insurance coverage, your health insurance will pay the amount of medical bills in excess of the limits. Likewise, if you have Medicaid or are on Medicare, those entities will pay the bills that are incurred over and above the limits. If you do not have coverage, then you will be personally responsible for working out an arrangement with your medical provider.
If the other driver was at fault, any entity who pays your medical bills will likely seek to be paid back if you recover money from the at-fault driver (called “subrogation”). It is always best to contact a lawyer to help you through a situation like this to (1) help you through the process while you’re recovering and (2) to maximize your benefits to ensure all of your injuries are appropriately compensation.