Incurring thousands of dollars in medical bills because of a car crash can be stressful and frightening. Paying those bills can seem impossible and overwhelming. Learning how to handle medical bills from a Los Angeles car accident attorney can help relieve some stress.
After a car wreck in LA, you can expect big medical bills. The first ones come from the ambulance service and emergency room, followed by the hospital, radiologists, physicians, and labs. You might also incur costs related to chiropractic care, in-home nursing or personal care, and physical therapy. Read on to learn more about how to deal with this.
Who Is Responsible for Paying Medical Bills After a Car Accident?
Ultimately, you are responsible for the medical bills you incur after a car wreck. However, California is an at-fault state for car accident claims. Therefore, if another person caused the car crash, that person can be held financially liable for your medical bills and other damages.
Medical bills are economic damages. The person who causes a car accident is responsible for reimbursing the accident victim for their economic damages. These damages also include out-of-pocket expenses and loss of income.
How Are My Medical Bills Paid After a Car Accident in Los Angeles?
California requires all drivers to provide proof of financial responsibility to register a vehicle. Acceptable forms of financial responsibility are:
- Automobile liability insurance policy
- A surety bond of $35,000
- Cash deposit with the DMV of $35,000
- Self-insurance certificate from the DMV
Most drivers choose liability insurance. Liability insurance compensates an accident victim when the insured driver causes a motor vehicle accident.
California drivers must have a minimum of $15,000 of insurance for bodily injury or death of one person ($30,000 per accident). The driver must also have $5,000 of insurance for property damage.
A driver may purchase optional insurance coverage, including collision and comprehensive insurance. These coverages pay for property damage to the person’s vehicle from a crash they caused or other covered causes.
A person may purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or MedPay coverage. These no-fault insurance policies pay medical expenses regardless of fault.
When Does an Insurance Company Pay My Medical Bills After a Car Crash?
No-fault insurance coverage pays medical bills even if you cause the accident. You do not need to prove fault to obtain benefits. Therefore, if you have PIP or MedPay insurance, you can quickly receive compensation for medical bills after a car wreck.
However, you must prove the other driver caused the accident to receive compensation from a liability insurance company.
There must be evidence showing that the other driver’s conduct was the direct and proximate cause of the collision. Without that evidence, the driver nor their insurance provider is liable for your medical bills and other damages.
The claims process could take months to resolve. The liability insurance provider does not cut you a check until you sign a settlement agreement.
Once you sign the settlement agreement, you cannot sue the other driver or demand more money. Therefore, you do not want to settle the claim until your doctor releases you from treatment and you know the full extent of your injuries and damages.
How Can I Pay for My Medical Bills Until My Car Accident Claim Settles?
Health insurance coverage generally pays medical bills from a car accident. However, payment is subject to the terms and conditions of your health insurance policy. For example, you would be responsible for co-payments and deductibles.
Health insurance companies might file a subrogation claim against your settlement proceeds. A subrogation claim allows the health insurance company to recover the money they paid for medical bills related to the car crash from your settlement proceeds.
You can file claims with your car insurance company if you have no-fault insurance. However, most no-fault insurance policies limit the amount they pay for medical costs after a car accident.
Some physicians and medical providers may agree to provide care if you sign a medical lien. A medical lien states you agree to pay outstanding medical bills from your personal injury settlement before you receive any funds.
A personal injury lawyer works to negotiate subrogation claims and medical liens to lower the amount you must pay from your settlement proceeds. Negotiating settlements for subrogation claims and medical liens will help keep as much money in your pocket as possible. Insurance claims can be confusing and frustrating. Insurance adjusters work to lower the amount of money you receive for your medical bills and other damages. The best way to protect your right to fair compensation is to seek legal advice as soon as possible after a Los Angeles car accident.