A car accident can cause you property damage and physical injuries. The injury may be mild or severe; notwithstanding, the core issue is who will pay the medical bill for its treatment? You or the insurance company?
You have auto insurance in place, and the insurance company will pay your medical bills. However, there are certain layers to it before concluding either you or the insurance company will settle medical bills.
Who is responsible for Paying Medical Bills after a Car Accident?
Car accidents are unexpected events, sometimes resulting in traumatic experiences. You may get a car accident injury due to a third party’s negligence. Nonetheless, your medical bill is the first concern that you have to deal with.
The following guide may help you determine who will pay the medical expenses or the subsequent bills.
Establishing Causes for the Accident
In order to establish a fault, the injured parties must provide evidence that another’s actions were intentional, deliberate, or negligence causing them the injuries.
Often, it’s the negligence of the driver that causes the accident. However, other parties may be at fault too.
If another vehicle hits you, then that driver is responsible for paying your medical and other damage expenses. Suppose that the driver was violating traffic laws at the time of the accident and was reckless. In this case, they have to take responsibility for the damage caused to your car and the injuries you suffered. Car accidents are mostly a result when a driver runs a red light, over-speeds, or drives under alcohol influence.
When an employee driver is responsible for an accident, the employers may share liability for the resulting damages, and they should compensate for your medical bills.
If any part or component of your car malfunctions, there can be fatal consequences. Your vehicle’s failure to operate properly may be the reason for the accident and injuries. In such cases, later on, the manufacturer may be responsible for the damages.
In all the above situations, it’s very difficult to establish another or third-party’s fault. It’s not only cumbersome, but you need to file substantial evidence to prove their neglect or their act of indulgence in your accident and injuries. To overcome this segment, you must ensure to collect a collision report. A collision report records witnesses, information, photos, and time of the accident, the position of vehicles, etc. It’s a must and mandatory in many states.
Determining the Damages
Even if the accident was due to third-party involvement, the victim would get compensation only if they can prove that the accident was the reason for the damages. Hence, weigh potential damages so that your plea for recovering is comprehensive.
Common damages because of accidents include:
This part deals with the cost of future care besides your medical bills. As the injury may take longer for recovery, the victim may need rehabilitation or need devices like a wheelchair or crutches, etc.
Loss of income
Your injuries and medical visits may lead you to miss your work or may affect your long-term ability. Sometimes, the victim may recover the lost wages.
This part deals with your injury, probable situation for losses, and what is recoverable.
The second part is about working with insurance companies to recover your losses or get compensation for medical bills or treatment costs.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
This is a post-accident step. Insurance companies will pay the costs resulting from a car accident. Their scope of payment and interest may differ from yours, as it depends on the driver’s policy, and the full extent of your damages may not be recoverable in most cases.
You may consider the following tips at the time of dealing with insurers:
Report immediately, submit Collision Report
Immediately inform your insurance company and other party’s insurers about the incident, with complete and relevant details only. Avoid sharing irrelevant information.
Don’t wait for other parties to report the incident to their insurers. They may hold reporting the accident if they are likely at fault.
The other party’s insurer is there to protect their driver’s interest, not yours. So be careful while sharing the accident details. Give what is necessary information, let them do the remaining guesswork themselves. Say nothing that they may interpret as your fault.
If another driver is at fault, their insurance company will offer you the least amount in order to avoid a possible big claim. Other insurers will try to disavow the nature and extent of your injuries and the money for the damages you claim. You may keep sequential records for all medical visits and doctor’s recommendations, and the medical bills as a piece of evidence.
Avoid Early Settlement
An early settlement offer by an insurance company talks about two issues; first, their client is at fault, and second, they want to settle at far less amount than you deserve. To make it happen their way, they will talk big about your needs for financial relief to pay your medical expenses or about repairing your vehicle. Stay put; you will get what you deserve in the long run.
Avoid Signing Paperwork
Insurers will overload you with a lot of paperwork, demanding you to sign these papers. You must understand the document fully before signing it. Be careful; otherwise, you may end up signing a settlement contract, which may waive off your rights to claim additional damages now or in the future.
Show Patience and Stay Persistent
Insurance companies will press you hard for settlement. Avoid it.
However, delays in the claims process may lead you to miss the opportunity to file a personal injury claim. Some states give an allowance of three years to file for your personal injury claim, but it’s not in every state.
You must remember, insurance companies also have a professional obligation to communicate and settle claims without undue delays. You may contrive communication with the insurance company in a manner that they should know you are aware of such procedures.
When to Expect Payment
Receiving claim amount can be a long tiring exercise. You can make it quick, depending on your resolve to settle the matter.
The settlement part can conclude at any time during the claims process. Usually, the settlement amount is lower than what you deserve or whatever damages you have filed for. Interestingly, you can get an early payment once you accept the settlement.
You may consider the fact that at-fault insurance companies will keep deferring your medical bills as long as they can hold them as per the state laws. You should know what are your state laws when it comes to recovering payment for your medical bills from an insurance company.