Who pays for my medical bills after a car accident?

who pays for my medical bills after a car accident

Payment for the medical bills you get from your accident can come from one of three places

  1. Your health insurance
  2. The other driver’s car insurance company
  3. Your car insurance company

Before submitting any bills to anyone, please call a lawyer.

Your health insurance

The American medical system is a mess to begin with. Hospitals and doctors want to get paid as much as they can for the treatment they provide. If a hospital is aware you are getting treated because of a car accident, they can actually choose to NOT bill your health insurance, and instead try and get paid from a future settlement or judgment. Under Illinois law, they have the right to do that. That’s right, hospitals do not have to accept your insurance. Why would they do that? The short answer is because they may think they can get paid more from your settlement or judgment than they can from billing your health insurance. Even still, please be honest with your doctors about how you sustained your injury. Always tell them the truth.

If you had valid health insurance on the day of your medical treatment, and the hospital is refusing to bill to your insurance, call the hospital and raise hell. Call your health insurance and see if they can help. Hospitals typically only have one year from the day of treatment to submit a bill to your health insurance carrier. After that, most health insurance companies won’t process the claim. And if your legal case doesn’t end up with any money in your pocket, you could be stuck with a massive bill, even though you had insurance.  Great job, American health system.

Even if your health insurance does help pay for your medical treatment, at the end of a lawsuit or settlement, you may have to pay your health insurance company back for what they paid out. This is called subrogation. Another lovely way insurance companies squeeze every penny they can from those of us who diligently pay our premiums, deductibles, and copays. Will you get your copays and deductibles back after a car accident? The short answer is yes. But it’s a bit more complicated than that. Call a lawyer. Call Chig Legal.

Your car insurance company

Some car insurance policies in Illinois have an extra type of coverage called Medical Payments, or Med Pay. Look on your car insurance’s Declarations Page or Dec Page, to see what kind of coverage you have. This is usually a one or two page document that shows what your insurance limits are ($25,000/$50,000) whether you have full coverage or liability only, and what your deductible is.

Most Med Pay policies are $1,000 or $5,000. This means that as long as you were injured by a car, your car insurance company will pay up to $1,000 or $5,000 of your medical bills. CAUTION: Don’t just send them a bill you get from a hospital and tell them to pay it without contacting a lawyer first. If a hospital sends you a bill for $4,500 (and they chose not to bill your health insurance) they may not really expect to get $4,500 for the treatment rendered. If you send that bill to your car insurance company to pay, your car insurance may just cut a check for the full amount to the hospital without exploring whether your health insurance should pay that first or whether any negotiations on that amount can happen.

The other driver’s insurance company

Ultimately whoever caused your injury is responsible for your medical bills. But their insurance company isn’t usually going to just pay your bills as they come in. Especially if they aren’t taking responsibility for the accident. Be wary if the insurance company is offering to just pay your bills as you send them in. It may sound something like, “how about we pay any bill you send us and then give you $500 on top of that for your pain and suffering?” Be careful. Is that really making it right? It’s in their best interest to pay you as little as they can to make your claim go away. I once had a company offer my client $500 to close his case. After I was done representing him, we were able to obtain a settlement of $140,000. Lawyer up. Call Chig Legal. We’ll make it right.

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