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Who Pays Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

Posted in California Law,Car Accident on March 15, 2019

If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you will likely have to receive ongoing medical treatment until you recover. As a result, you will have to pay for thousands of dollars in medical expenses. These costs may include doctor’s visit fees, hospitalization costs, medications, surgeries, physical therapy, and mobility equipment, just to name a few. While you may receive compensation for medical bills, you may need additional funds to pay for ongoing treatment. Who pays for your bills in these situations? Would it be smart to hire a car accidents lawyer for help?

California Is a Fault Auto Accident State

To understand the medical bill payment process in the state of California, we have to look at the state’s car insurance laws and requirements. Under the law, California is a fault auto accident state. When you get into an accident with another driver, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying the damages the accident causes.

As a victim of the accident, you can pursue one of three paths to receive compensation for your medical expenses and other losses.

  • You can file a claim with your own insurance company if you have coverage available.
  • You can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company via his or her liability coverage.
  • You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Under California law, drivers must carry a minimum of $15,000 in liability coverage to compensate victims of accidents they cause. If you suffer injuries in a car accident, you can claim this coverage – but you may face restrictions up to policy limits. If your injuries exceed the coverage, you cannot claim additional funds. In addition, you cannot receive additional funds to pay for medical expenses after you receive a lawsuit settlement.

Does the At-Fault Party Have to Pay for Your Medical Bills?

Generally, for car accident cases, the at-fault party does not need to pay for your medical expenses on an ongoing basis. If you get into a car accident, you will need to pay for your medical bills as you start to receive them. Even if you were not at fault for the accident and you can point to the at-fault party clearly, the at-fault party only has to pay the damages named in your lawsuit. You cannot bill the at-fault party for your medical expenses as you receive them.

California Motor Vehicle Accidents and Medical Expenses

If you get into a car accident in California, you will generally have to pay for your medical bills out-of-pocket or via your insurance coverage. However, you can receive med pay coverage to help you cover your medical expenses up to policy limits. Med pay policy limits are usually under $10,000. Without med pay coverage, you will have to pay for your expenses out-of-pocket.

If you have insurance via a private company, Medicare, or California’s health insurance program, you could have your insurance pay for medical bills related to your injuries. However, your health insurance company may request reimbursement out of your final settlement amount.

The Importance of Seeking Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages can significantly reduce your financial strain following a car accident. When you have many medical bills that you have to pay out-of-pocket, you can receive compensation to pay for them through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim.

If you have severe injuries that you will have to pay for overtime, consider filing a personal injury lawsuit over an insurance claim. With a lawsuit, you can receive funds for both past and future expenses and you will not be subject to insurance policy limits. If you have not yet pursued legal action for the losses you suffered in a car accident, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

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