When you get into a car accident, your life can change in an instant. One second you’re driving, and the next you’re dealing with pain, time off of work, and mounting medical bills.
Filing a claim against the at-fault driver can provide coverage for these expenses, but the claims process could take months—even years. So how do you pay for the medical treatment you need right now?
A team of Carrollton car accident lawyers, should you choose to hire one, can help you get the medical care you need, without paying out-of-pocket up front for that care during this stressful situation.
In this article, we’ll outline some of the medical expenses you might expect, ways to find financial support, and how to receive compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Medical Fees Rack Up After an Accident
Anyone who suffered serious injuries in a car accident knows how challenging recovery can be, and the ordeal is only made worse by exorbitant medical bills. According to the National Safety Council, motor vehicle crashes cost the U.S. $463 billion each year—that’s $2,000 for every licensed driver.
From prescriptions to ER visits to physical therapy, it’s easy to see how medical expenses can quickly rack up into the thousands.
Using data from the NSC, we’ve created this table that breaks down the total costs associated with a car accident depending on the injury.
|Type of injury||Cost per injured person|
Source: National Safety Council
It’s obvious that more severe injuries equate to higher medical bills. However, it’s mind-boggling that even a non-incapacitating injury, like a broken arm, can come with a $53,200 price tag.
When dealing with such large fees, it’s best to hire a lawyer to guide you through the process of getting some of the bills covered by the at-fault driver, as well as other insurance policies that may provide assistance.
Is the At-Fault Driver Responsible for Paying My Medical Bills Immediately After a Crash?
You will want to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance to cover your medical expenses after an accident. However, resolving the claim can take months, so who’s responsible for covering your medical fees in the meantime?
The short answer: you. In almost all circumstances, insurance companies settle cases in one lump sum. They do not pay your medical bills as you are billed.
So, unfortunately, you’re on the hook to cover your medical fees immediately after an accident. But eventually, the goal is for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to reimburse you.
How to Pay for Medical Expenses After a Car Accident
While your claim is pending, you should first look to your car insurance coverages to help cover some of your medical expenses.
Under Texas law, every driver is required to carry car insurance and auto insurance companies must offer what’s known as personal injury protection (PIP) or “Med-Pay.” However, drivers can opt-out of PIP and Med-Pay coverages.
If you were fortunate enough to keep PIP or Med-Pay, you can use it to cover 100% of your medical expenses, including doctor visits, treatments, and medications, up to the coverage limit.
If you don’t have either, or you’ve exhausted the coverage limits, your next step could be to submit your medical bills to your health insurance carrier.
However, with a serious accident, your medical bills may exceed the limits of your health insurance and other insurance policies. You might also have trouble paying co-pays (especially if you’re missing work due to injuries).
Never let concerns over money dictate whether or not you seek the medical treatment you need.
If you don’t have health insurance, PIP coverage, or any other means to pay for necessary medical care after an auto accident injury, our Carrollton car accident lawyers can help. We work with medical professionals who will agree to wait for your settlement to get paid before they try to collect for medical bills.
How to Obtain Compensation From the At-Fault Driver's Insurance Company
Texas is an “at-fault” state, which means the driver who caused the accident is responsible for the damages caused.
Getting compensation from a negligent driver is a complicated process, usually involving negotiation with the driver’s insurance company. At the end of the day, insurance companies care about their bottom line—not about you. Some insurance companies might deny your claim, offer you an amount that’s grossly inadequate, or try to shift the blame onto you.
If your medical bills are mounting, you should let an experienced Carrollton car accident lawyer deal with the insurance company on your behalf.
Unlike most car accident victims, attorneys know the ins-and-outs of negotiating and of using the legal process to make sure their clients recover every penny of compensation they deserve.
In a typical car accident personal injury case, clients and their lawyers:
- Start with a free consultation to discuss the accident and the factors that contributed to it. If the victim decides not to move forward with a legal action, the lawyer must honor the confidentiality of anything discussed with the victim at the consultation.
- The lawyer will typically investigate the accident further, identify all of the parties with legal liability, and spend time calculating the amount of past, present, and future financial damages (both medical bills and other costs) the client has incurred.
- Send a demand to the at-fault driver’s insurer requesting payment of damages sufficient to cover the client’s medical needs (in addition to other expenses) and pain, suffering and mental anguish.
- Negotiate with the at-fault party and their representatives. Ideally, this process leads to a settlement amount that the client finds acceptable. The decision to agree to a settlement is the client’s alone.
- Represent you at trial if the negotiations don’t lead to an appropriate settlement offer. Often, filing this lawsuit will put pressure on the at-fault party’s representatives to provide a better settlement amount. If not, then the lawsuit may lead to a trial at which a jury decides the amount of compensation the client deserves to receive for medical expenses and other damages resulting from the car accident.
Our Carrollton Car Accident Lawyers Will Help You Get Every Penny You Deserve
If you’re sitting at home wondering how you’ll cover your medical bills, contact the trusted Carrollton car accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare.
You don’t want to rely on your insurance company to sort out the details, and you don’t want to go against the at-fault driver’s insurance company alone. When you partner with us, you’ll have someone on your side who you’ll know is working exclusively to make sure you receive adequate compensation for your injuries.
Schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our lawyers today.