After an auto accident, we are often left to wonder who is responsible for the medical bills that comes with personal injury. This sometimes can be a complicated situation and must be carefully evaluated and looked at with an experienced attorney.
Legal Arguments to Payment
Innocent victims of auto accidents are often confused and scared about the medical bills piling up after an auto accident. A visit to an emergency room after an accident can easily exceed $5,000. Who is responsible to pay these bills? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is complicated. The liability insurance company is only responsible to pay for treatment that is reasonable, necessary and causally related to the accident. The insurance company often argues the treatment is excessive and not necessary. Another common argument is that the treatment is not related to the accident due to a pre-existing condition such as arthritis.
Can Medical Bills Be Paid Before A Settlement is Reached?
The liability insurance company will not pay medical bills as they are incurred. Medical bills will only be paid by the liability insurance company at the time of settlement. A settlement can takes months or years to be reached. What can be done in the interim? There are a couple of avenues for payment to pursue. Bills can be submitted to your health insurance carrier. In fact, in-network medical providers are required to bill health insurance (Ohio Revised Code Section 1751.60). Even if you are not at-fault, medical bills can also be submitted to your auto insurance company if you have purchased Medical Payments Coverage. You can ask your insurance agent or refer to your insurance declaration page to see if you have this coverage. If your health or auto insurance company pays your medical bills, the company has a right to be subrogated or reimbursed from the liability insurance company.
What Should You Do?
Don't ignore your bills. You must be pro-active in order to avoid collections and damage to your credit. If you have been involved in an auto accident, contact a competent attorney to discuss the best course of action. A skilled attorney will know how and who should pay your medical bills in order to ease the burden of your mounting debt before a settlement is reached. Often an attorney will be able to maximize your settlement by having the bills paid by the proper party.
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