How are Medical Bills Paid After an Accident?

If you have been injured in a car accident in Maine, you may be wondering how your medical bill payments will be made—especially if the accident was no fault of your own. Whose insurance will cover your medical bill and related expenses? And when will the company pay or reimburse you? What is the procedure? The process for paying medical bills after an accident can be complicated, if not confusing.

Here’s what you need to know:    

How do medical bills get paid in a Maine car accident case?

Anyone injured in a car accident is responsible for paying their medical bills. If you have been injured in an accident by no fault of your own, you’re probably thinking, “This can’t be right?” But in truth, it is. It can get complicated, but after a car accident, no law requires the at-fault party to pay your medical bills on an ongoing basis. You are responsible for payment of the medical bills as they are incurred. 

It may sound harsh, but you will eventually be compensated for the damages you incurred in the accident once an acceptable settlement is reached with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Your medical treatment will likely be a big part of those damages from which the compensation is awarded. In that regard, you and your insurer will be reimbursed for any medical bills paid on your behalf to treat your injury and recovery. The driver who caused the accident then does not pay your medical bill per se, you do, but compensation will come once the driver has been found liable for the accident and the settlement is reached.

Because the at-fault driver may not be found liable for months or even years after the crash, this creates a dilemma for the accident victim. Their medical bills will accrue, regardless. Many of them will need to be paid before the case reaches a verdict or gets settled. This can put a financial strain on the victim.

How the medical bills are paid will depend on the victim’s insurance coverage. A personal injury lawyer can help victims, and their loved ones understand this complicated aspect of the law.

What are two ways for a quick payment of medical bills?

After an accident, attention to paying medical bills is important. Though compensation may be on its way, there could be delays, especially if the at-fault party’s insurance company is playing hardball on a settlement or you go to court. It could take months, on some occasions, years, before a settlement or verdict is reached. In the meantime, the best way to avoid intrusive phone calls from hospital collection departments or the adverse effects unpaid medical bills can have on your credit rating is by paying your medical bills on time. 

The good news is that there are two quick ways for medical bills to be paid after a car accident. The first way is through the medical payment coverage of your auto insurance policy, and the second way is through your health insurance plan. The health insurance may be state-provided, such as Medicaid, or through a private insurer. Whether through your policy or health plan, medical payments made by the insurer can be repaid out of the settlement later. 

After a favorable settlement has been reached, your insurer will likely have a contractual right for reimbursement of medical bills paid on your behalf for the injuries you sustained in the car accident. That right is generally written into the insurance policy. Insurance companies are entitled to be reimbursed from the settlement through the legal process of subrogation, a term that defines the process that allows your insurance company to recover the money they paid to your medical providers on your behalf. The subrogation payment comes from the compensatory damages received in the settlement.

How and why the at-fault insurance company is responsible for medical bills.

Because Maine has a traditional ‘at-fault’ system, the driver who caused the car accident is held financially liable for any losses resulting from the accident or, more precisely, that person’s insurance company. Drivers must be insured. By law, auto insurance is required on all motor vehicles driven in Maine. In an at-fault system, once fault is determined, the driver’s insurance company who caused the accident will pay for the damages. Compensation for damages in such cases typically includes medical bills and related expenses, along with other considerations like damage to your vehicle or property, lost wages and benefits, and other related costs. To seek compensation in Maine you will need to:

  •     File a claim under the victim’s insurance policy;
  •     File a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party; and/or
  •     File a third-party claim with the responsible party’s insurance company.

How to get paid or reimbursed for the compensation you deserve.

To be certain, the surest way to get paid and reimbursed the compensation you deserve is by working with an experienced car accident lawyer. As you wait for your settlement to be reached, negotiating with your health insurance companies, auto insurance companies, and medical providers over your medical bills can be complicated and, often, worrisome. You owe it to yourself and your family to visit the law offices of Hardy Wolf & Downing, Maine’s trusted, preeminent car accident attorneys, to walk you through the process and make sure you are protected.