Who Pays Medical Bills While My Auto Accident Claim Proceeds?
We originally posted this blog in August 2014 and are republishing with updated. information.
Unfortunately, car accidents are everyday occurrences, and the severity of these auto accidents ranges. If there is any physical damage to your vehicle after the accident, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance should cover the damages quickly. However, if anyone is injured in the accident, the medical bill coverage is a different story — here’s what you need to know.
Colorado and Tort Jurisdiction
Colorado is not a no-fault jurisdiction state — it’s a fault-based jurisdiction state, or a tort jurisdiction state. No-fault jurisdiction means that your insurance company would cover your accident medical expenses following a car accident no matter who was at-fault. Tort jurisdiction means that anyone injured in an auto accident is required to seek medical bill coverage from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This can include medical bills, pain and suffering, permanent impairment and permanent disfigurement.
So, who pays medical bills in a car accident? Will the at-fault driver cover all of my medical expenses?
Under tort jurisdiction, injured parties cannot collect damages from the other party until the fault is established. If you are 50 percent or more responsible for the crash, you cannot collect damages from the other party’s insurance, even though they contributed to the crash. If you are responsible for less than 50 percent of the accident, you can collect the other party’s percentage of your medical costs — if you are responsible for 20 percent of the crash, the other driver’s insurance will cover 80 percent of your medical bills, assuming they are determined to be reasonable, necessary and related to the crash.
Who Pays If You Are At Fault?
This is important!
If you are at-fault: After the accident, don’t admit fault in the accident and don’t apologize for the accident. Don’t accept any money from the other driver, or tell the other driver how much insurance you carry. Failing to abide by the above can negatively affect your case.
When you or another driver has been injured in a car crash, it can be confusing to know which insurance company to ask for help—does auto insurance cover medical expenses? Does health insurance cover car accident injuries? Does Medicare cover auto accident injuries? Who pays medical bills after a car accident?
Car Insurance Coverage
Car insurance that pays for your injuries when you’re in an accident in your car is called medical payments coverage, or “med-pay.” Unless you waived this coverage in writing, you will usually have at least $5,000 quickly available to pay providers.
Health Insurance Coverage
Most people also have health insurance, whether private insurance or some kind of government-backed insurance such as Tricare, Medicare, or Medicaid. Most of that medical insurance covers injuries from a car accident, so you should take advantage of any benefits you have and try to use med-pay for providers who don’t take your insurance.
Medicaid Insurance Coverage
Does Medicaid cover auto accidents? Does Medicaid reimburse paid bills?
Make sure you are familiar with your insurances company’s policies. Injury victims may pay medical bills with the expectation of reimbursement from their insurance, but, while Medicare does cover auto accident injuries, Medicare does not reimburse paid bills. It’s important to note that if you are on Medicare or Medicaid, those entities will pay the medical bills, but will not reimburse paid bills.
Don’t Take the Settlement
The insurance company may offer you money before you fully recover. Never take a settlement from another insurance company unless you are sure about how much money you need. If you take it, you will have to release the company and driver from responsibility for future coverage. This could lead to large medical bills for you later, after the settlement money is gone. As auto accident attorneys, we encourage victims to get the medical treatment they need before making a final deal.
Hire An Attorney
The number and complexity of insurance contracts can seem baffling — auto insurance policies include a variety of different insurances. An attorney can advise you how to efficiently use the insurance at your disposal and will communicate effectively on your behalf with all insurance companies in your case. There can be a lot on your mind — the car accident, medical bills, health insurance…hiring legal representation to fight for your personal interests will help ease your mind.
If you’re struggling to pay your car accident medical bills, an attorney can help move your claim forward more quickly and can work with the insurer to reach a more favorable settlement. Contact McDivitt Law Firm for a FREE consultation. Our experienced auto accident attorneys can help.Back to the Blog