Any injury that requires medical attention as the result of an accident is going to cost money. It can be a confusing and stressful situation to know that you need help before you have reached a settlement. You may feel confident that your lawyers will help you get a beneficial verdict, but medical bills are not going to wait. As you learn more about different personal injury cases, it’s going to provide more understanding of your financial responsibilities and options following your accident.
The Defendant Isn’t Necessarily Responsible for All of Your Medical Bills
It might seem like the person at fault would have to pay for all of your related expenses, but they are only responsible for damages. Regardless of how clear it is that a specific individual caused your injury, the law is only going to require that they compensate you for certain expenses. This could include the cost of initial medical care, lost wages, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, accidental death, and punitive damages in certain states. Your settlement is basically provided to help “make you whole” in the aftermath of an injury. As more medical bills are acquired for additional treatments and tests, the defendant may not be responsible for paying for these expenses.
Auto Accident Victims
Regardless of the state that you reside, the actual location of your accident is going to determine the responsibility for paying medical bills. In the “no fault” states, the provider of your auto insurance is always going to cover a portion or all of your medical bills. There is a limit to the amount you are eligible to receive, but it is typically a maximum of $10,000 before you or your health insurance company become responsible for the remaining expenses.
A collission that occurs in a non “no fault” state often leaves the victim paying for their own medical bills. There is a policy available in these states called “med pay” that can help with car accident injuries. This type of coverage has a limit that usually does not exceed $10,000 to cover the drivers and passengers involved in the accident. After the limit is reached, or if neither driver has “med pay”, each individual would be responsible for paying their own bills
Slip and Fall Victims (Premises Liability)
An injury sustained on the property of another person typically requires that the victim pays their own expenses. The one exception to this would require that the property owner have a policy that offers “med pay” to the injured person to compensate their related medical bills.
Boating Accident Victims
There is almost no help for those injured in a boating accident because these policies don’t often include a “med pay” option.
Work-Related Injury Victims
Accidents that happen at work are adequately covered by workers’ compensation so that victims do not have to pay any of their medical expenses. The insurer is going to also cover deductibles for any hospital or doctor visits, and some states even offer additional reimbursement for medical-related travel expenses.
Using Your Own Insurance
Individuals that are lucky enough to have health insurance at the time that they sustain an injury may have help paying their bills. State Medicaid, Medicare, or health insurance groups are there to assist in such difficult times, but be aware that they can seek reimbursement for their contributions to health providers.
Getting the Money You Deserve
If you fall into a category that requires you to pay your own medical expenses, it is likely that your attorney will negotiate a settlement from the defendant’s insurance policy (if they have one). Getting a settlement check would require agreeing to a certain amount in exchange for releasing the defendant and their insurance company from future liability.
The circumstances are a bit different if you decided to sue a defendant that doesn’t have any insurance coverage. Winning a favorable judgement does not necessarily mean that you will be compensated fairly because many defendants do not have sufficient money or assets.