Any accident is scary, especially if you incur an injury. But nothing makes a bad accident worse than when you get stuck with hefty medical bills. Healthcare access and affordability are major societal issues, and many people can be overwhelmed by unexpected medical costs.
Fortunately, you have options if you have unpaid medical from an accident. One avenue is to consult with a personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney can guide you through the medical bill bureaucracy and advise you on who is liable to pay for your expenses.
Read on to learn more about your potential options when paying medical bills from an accidental injury.
How to Get Medical Bills Paid
If you don’t have enough liquid assets to pay your medical bills upfront, there are several options to investigate. Familiarizing yourself with some of these will help in creating a plan to handle your medical bills.
In the event of an injury from an accident, there are two common payment options: health insurance and workers’ compensation.
Theoretically, your health insurance should cover the bulk of your medical expenses when you are injured in an accident. However, navigating the terms of your policy can be tricky.
It will likely distinguish between in-network and out-of-network providers. Should you have the choice, opt for an in-network provider to save on medical bills. However, if you have an emergency injury you may not get to choose who treats you.
If you receive emergency treatment from an out-of-network provider following an injury, be sure to consult state law. Doing so will let you see if you have any patient rights to emergency health insurance coverage.
Depending on the nature of your injury, your insurance policy may require another type of insurance to pay costs first. For instance, if you’re in a car accident, your car insurance—or the car insurance of the faulty party—may hold the primary responsibility of covering your medical bills before your health policy gets involved.
If your accident occurred while you were working, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation. It is a versatile option for paying off medical bills. Workers’ compensation law varies from state to state, but the overall concept is that if you have an accident at work, your employer must compensate you for the injury.
Typically, workers’ compensation covers medical expenses and lost income from an injury. The amount of money your employer is responsible for will depend on the nature of your workplace accident and your local state laws.
Keep in mind workers’ compensation policies prohibit the compensation recipient from suing their employer for an injury or accident. Consult an attorney before deciding if workers’ compensation is your best option for paying medical bills.
Types of Accidents and Who Pays
The kind of accident in which you suffer an injury will impact who could be responsible for paying your medical bills.
In a car accident, the faulty party will most likely end up paying for your medical bills. However, the payment process is a little tricky, no matter the injury. You probably will have to pay for your medical costs with either your own money, car insurance, or health insurance.
After you pay the upfront medical bill, you can work with an injury attorney to request that the faulty party’s insurance reimburses you.
You will need to consider the consequences of using health insurance to pay a medical bill while getting reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance. If that happens, your insurance company will likely request that you return the money they spent on your medical treatment.
Motorcycle accidents work differently due to differences in insurance policies. Unlike standard auto insurance, most motorcycle insurance policies do not automatically cover medical expenses relating to an injury unless you chose to add it on when you bought the insurance.
With no payments from your motorcycle insurance company, you will need to rely on your health insurance to cover your medical bills. If there is a faulty party in your motorcycle accident, you can hold them financially responsible for your medical expenses.
As with a car accident, your health insurance will most likely request that you give them the money you receive from the faulty party.
If you suffer a work-related injury, your employer should be the one paying the medical bills. Since your employer probably has workplace compensation insurance, they should be capable of covering any medical expenses from your accident.
In some situations, your employer’s compensation insurance will reject the benefits request and refuse to pay your medical bills (no matter how serious your injury). If this happens, you should consult a qualified attorney who can help determine if the insurance company is violating state laws by denying you coverage.
Slip and Fall Injury
Liability in a slip and fall accident has the potential to be complicated. If you sustain an injury on someone else’s property, there is a chance they can pay your medical bills. Many property owners have a liability insurance policy covering medical expenses. In this case, the insurance company might pay your medical bills upfront.
If a property owner doesn’t have the appropriate insurance, they can still be held financially responsible for your medical bills. In this scenario, you usually have to pay your medical bills upfront and seek reimbursement for your accident from the property.
Never accept any money or sign any waivers from a property owner or their insurance without first consulting an injury attorney. An attorney can advise you on your rights after an accident and establish how much money you are truly owed.
Importance of a Good Injury Attorney
Paying medical bills after an accident can be stressful and overwhelming. That doesn’t have to be the case. A qualified injury attorney can offer expert advice on navigating insurance policies, ensure you overcome financial obstacles, and help you truly begin your injury recovery.
If you need advice on accident injuries and medical bills, contact Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law today to arrange a consultation.