If I was a passenger involved in a car accident, who pays for my medical bills?

Asked 9 months ago - Elk Grove, CA

I was a passenger in a car accident where our car was rear-ended. The driver driving our car was fine, and the driver who rear-ended us was fine, however, I suffered some tension in my neck and back, and I had to go to the ER to get it looked over. I was wondering who would be responsible for paying my ER medical bills? How does the claim process work for this kind of situation?

Attorney answers (13)

  1. Malosack Berjis

    Contributor Level 20

    25

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Sorry to hear about your injuries. The answer to your first question is the insurance company of the driver that rear-ended you, and if need be, the insurance company of the driver whose car you were a passenger in. Now, as for how the claims process in this kind of a situation, the best thing you can do is call a personal injury attorney ASAP to assist you with it. Hope this helps.

    Ms. Berjis is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The laws of your jurisdiction may differ and... more
  2. Robert Steven Walch

    Contributor Level 12

    19

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It sounds like the car behind was at fault. If that person has insurance, they should be responsible for covering your injuries.

    Disclaimer The information contained in this answer and Website is provided for general informational purposes... more
  3. Barry P. Goldberg

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    19

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Good Question!
    Your question perfectly highlights how it all works together.
    First of all, you may have a claim for "Medical Payments" coverage under your driver's policy. This is like "no fault" medical insurance. In addition, you may be entitled to Medical Payments coverage under your own auto insurance policy! Usually, multiple policies will cooperate or pro-rate the coverage.
    I always recommend to my clients that they go through their own health insurance first. Not only does this maximize out the recovery, but even if you are within your deductible, this will go towards satisfying your deductible. Further, most---but not all---Medical Payment coverage require that you present the medical bills to the health insurer first before they are required to pay under that coverage.
    Finally, your instinct is correct, the party that caused the accident by rear-ending you is ultimately responsible. So, if that driver is insured his insurance company will basically be reimbursing your health insurer and any med pay insurer for money "advanced" on your behalf.
    Trust me---it is a longer subject than this response allows--- but it is always better to go through all of the sources of insurance on a claim rather than be "lazy" and just get paid from the adverse driver's insurance policy!
    Best of luck!

  4. Christopher John Gansen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    17

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The person who hit you is responsible. Your best bet is to hire a local personal injury lawyer.

  5. Alan Ray Barnes

    Contributor Level 18

    16

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If the owner of the car you were in carries medical payments insurance (aka "med pay"), that policy should cover your bills. If you carry med pay coverage on your auto insurance, there is a possibility that your auto insurer will pick up the tab even though you were in another person's car. And ultimately, the person who rear-ended you is liable for your medical bills, but that payment will be a lump sum that also includes your other bodily injury damages (wage loss, pain and suffering, etc.).

    If there is no applicable med pay insurance, and if you do not have health insurance that will pay the bill, you are ultimately responsible. But there are ways to defer payment until your claims against the person who caused the accident have resolved.

    A personal injury lawyer can help you review your options and decide the best way to proceed. Most of us offer free initial consultations, and work on a contingency basis so that you're not out of pocket for attorney fees. You should contact a qualified lawyer in your area to learn more.

  6. Glenn Stephen Guenard

    Pro

    Contributor Level 7

    13

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . [removed]
    In addition to "Med Pay" of the owner of the car you were in (if they have it) if you have insurance on your own car, you may have available "Med Pay" on your own policy. Also, if you have health insurance, that is another source of payment of medical bills. Ultimately, the person who rearended the car you were in is responsible for your medical bills.

  7. Albert Lee Crosner

    Contributor Level 18

    13

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You may want to consider getting a local area (Elk Grove) personal injury attorney to help you. Most personal injury attorneys provide a free initial consultation and then, if retained, offer a contingency fee agreement that indicates that you do not have to pay any attorney fees until there is a recovery. That is a good deal for you. Talk to a couple of attorneys in your area and then select one that is experienced in personal injury and auto accidents and you feel comfortable with. Sorry to hear about your injuries and I hope that you have a speedy recovery. Best of luck.

    Mr. Crosner is licensed to practice law in California and has been practicing law in California since 1978. The... more
  8. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The bottom line it is best to have a local Elk Grove personal injury lawyer handle everything for you.

  9. Yaniv Kenan

    Contributor Level 11

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Could be your med-pay, driver's med-pay, or party's at fault liability insurance.

    The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response is for educational purposes only. I have not... more
  10. Maryam Parman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I recommend contacting an attorney for some guidance. You will need to file a claim with the insurance company of the party who rear-ended you. Please do not give them a recorded statement without the advice of an attorney. If the vehicle that hit you does not have insurance, the vehicle you were in may have uninsured motorist coverage which would cover you as well. If all else fails, your own uninsured motorist coverage for your vehicle may cover you. Definitely, get treatment for the injuries. Speedy recovery to you.

  11. William West Seegmiller

    Pro

    Contributor Level 10

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . First of all, I hope you are feeling better. Next, the driver who rear-ended the vehicle is likely the at-fault driver liable for your injuries and responsible for compensation for your financial losses including medical bills, lost time off work and other costs. Your insurance and the insurance of the driver could be supplemental if the responsible driver has insufficient coverage to pay your losses.

    For example, if the responsible driver's insurance is $15,000 and your bills are $50,000, the remaining loss could be covered by the driver's policy and yours if needed. I hope this is helpful. Make sure you choose an experienced attorney who is licensed in California to assist you and make sure the insurance company doesn't try to downplay your losses.

  12. Melody Parman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 7

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . First off, I hope that you are recovering well from your injuries. You should file a claim with the insurance company of the car that rear-ended the car in which you were a passenger. The person who is at fault is responsible for your medical bills. However, if that person was uninsured it may be difficult to collect on your bills. There is also the possibility that the owner of the car that you were in may have uninsured motorist coverage which is another option to recover costs for your medical bills from the accident. Another option is your own vehicle insurance, which may provide coverage under an uninsured motorist. Keep in mind that you are entitled to future medical expenses that arise out of the automobile accident. I would advise you to continue seeking medical care, if needed, and I would highly suggest that you contact a local personal injury attorney to assist you throughout this process as it is complex and time consuming.

  13. Scott J. Corwin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The party responsible for the accident is legally obligated to compensate you for injuries sustained in the accident. Additionally, you have the right to receive compensation for pain and suffering caused by the accident. I offer free consultations to help victims of car accidents understand their legal rights throughout the claim filing process. I wish you the best of luck.

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