If you have been injured in a car accident, one of the main concerns you likely have is regarding how your medical bills will be paid. Medical bills can pile up quickly after an accident, especially if you’re injuries are severe. There is often confusion about this matter, so it’s important to understand how it works.
If you were in an accident in Kansas City and are wondering about how you will pay for the medical care you need, contact a Kansas City personal injury lawyer who can explain the process for you and help you file a claim for compensation from the insurance company.
Who Pays for Medical Bills Following a Car Accident?
Most people believe that the driver who is at fault for an accident and their insurance should be responsible for covering the medical bills of those injured. While that is technically correct, it must be proven that the “other driver” is at fault before any kind of settlement can be reached. Once they are found to be at fault, then their insurance company is liable to pay you for the damages you’ve incurred, which includes your expenses for medical care. However, proving fault is a time-consuming process, which can take months or even over a year to prove. You are not compensated by the other driver’s insurance until the fault is proven and a settlement is reached. Therefore, until a settlement of some kind is reached, you as the injured party, and the person seeking medical care are ultimately responsible for your medical bills in the interim.
Medical professionals routinely see people who are injured in car accidents. When you go to a doctor’s office, you are responsible for paying your medical expenses as they are incurred. However, if you’re having difficulty paying your bills it’s advisable to tell your doctor about the situation you are in. Most medical professionals understand that your injuries might preclude you from working. These professionals may also know that insurance companies often take from 30 to 90 days to pay on a claim. Given this, most doctors and hospitals are open to working with you on developing a payment plan.
If you have past due medical bills that have gone to collections, you should call the doctor and/or medical facility to advise them that you are working with an attorney on a settlement or possible litigation. Most will stop trying to collect until the settlement goes through or until the court makes a ruling in your case. You can also request that doctors forego reporting any late payments on your credit report until after you receive the settlement or court-awarded damages amount.
Options for Covering the Cost of Your Medical Treatment
Having to pay medical expenses out of pocket can be financially crippling for many, while they wait for payment compensation from the insurance company. Medical expenses are a primary reason why people declare bankruptcy. For this reason, it’s important to explore your options for covering your cost of care until your claim is settled:
- Health Insurance. After a car accident, you can use your own health insurance to cover your medical expenses. Your health insurance will likely cover some or all of your medical bills related to the accident. However, you are required to pay any deductibles and copayments that are outlined in your policy. Make a record of all deductibles and copayments you’ve had to pay, so they can be reimbursed when you discuss the total damages you’ve incurred.
- Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay). MedPay is an optional insurance coverage in Missouri that you can add to your existing policy. Coverage limits vary from $1,000 to $10,000 and are the amount that your insurance company will pay toward eligible medical expenses after an accident. If you have this coverage, you may be able to use a medical payments coverage (MedPay) policy to cover your expenses. MedPay is a no-fault policy, so it pays for medical expenses following an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Provide your doctor’s office with information regarding your MedPay plan and they can bill this coverage for the cost of your care.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP). PIP insurance is another type of insurance that you may hear about. This is additional coverage that can be purchased in some states that may cover many of your medical and other accident-related expenses. However, in Missouri, this specific coverage is not available. Instead of PIP insurance, Missouri insurance companies offer the MedPay insurance discussed previously.
Another option for covering your medical bills is to file an injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer. As mentioned, the process of getting to a settlement could take months or even over a year, so you may need to rely on one of the methods above to pay for your expenses in the meantime. If you do not have the financial means to cover your medical bills, or if the at-fault driver is underinsured, you will want to consider seeking legal help who can advise you on all your legal options. An experienced car accident attorney will be able to help you get the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Kansas City Car Accident Attorneys
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you know that the process of getting your medical bills paid can be confusing and frustrating. At Peterson & Associates, P.C. our attorneys know the ins and outs of contending with insurance companies, and we are dedicated to helping our clients pursue justice.
The lawyers at Peterson & Associates P.C. can help you file a claim and get you the money you deserve. Contact our Kansas City personal injury lawyers today to learn more about your legal options. Contact Peterson and Associates P.C. by calling (816) 578-0580 to talk to a Kansas City car accident attorney for a free consultation. Our team of lawyers is standing by to he