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Who Pays the Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

If you suffer an injury in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of another California driver, they are generally responsible for your medical bills and other losses. That said, the at-fault party or their insurance company will not always immediately cover your damages. Until you recover compensation from the at-fault party and/or their insurance company, you are responsible for your paying your medical bills. Negotiating a settlement can take time. You may therefore need to explore other options for covering your medical bills while your car accident lawsuit moves toward a resolution.

The good news is that you could have a variety of options outside of the other driver and their liability coverage. These options include your own health insurance policy or other vehicle coverage, among other things.

California’s fault-based rules

States can approach liability following a motor vehicle accident in two different ways. The first is known as the “no-fault” system, while the second is a fault-based system. California is a fault-based state. This means that the liability insurance policy of the at-fault motorist is on the hook for an injured driver’s damages.

That does not mean that obtaining compensation from the at-fault driver’s carrier will be simple. Even when the other driver has insurance, it is not uncommon for a defendant to push back against claims that they caused the accident.

The end result is often a lengthy negotiation process that can result in a civil lawsuit. In cases where the two parties cannot come together and reach a settlement, a trial could be necessary. This could drag out the process of recovering compensation for your injuries for months or even years. Thankfully, a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can help you pursue other options while litigating your legal claim.

Issues with relying on your health insurance

If you have health insurance through your employer or otherwise, you could have your medical bills covered in the aftermath of a motor vehicle crash. When your health insurance covers your bills following an accident, the insurance provider can place a lien on your future car accident compensation.

While your health insurance provider can maintain a lien on your recovery, they are barred from taking more than their contracted rates for your treatment. This is an important factor to consider, as satisfying these liens can play a part in resolving your injury claim.

If you lack health insurance, some medical providers might agree to provide care in exchange for a lien. These doctors will forgo payment until you are able to resolve your injury claim.

Other auto insurance options

In most accidents, drivers pursue liability claims against the other driver’s insurance policy. However, some motorists are able to recover benefits that cover their medical expenses by filing a claim with their own auto policy.

There are different types of auto policies that could provide these benefits. The most common type of coverage in this situation is known as medical payments coverage—or “Med Pay” for short. This coverage is optional and requires an additional premium above and beyond the cost of your liability coverage.

This type of insurance is “no-fault” coverage, meaning your provider must cover your damages even if you caused the accident. Like with all insurance policies, your Med Pay coverage will have a limit. Once your insurance provider has paid enough to reach the policy limits, they are not obligated to cover any more of your medical bills. In these situations, you may need to find multiple avenues of compensation. That is something a Los Angeles car accident lawyer can help with.

Talk to an attorney about your medical bills

With so many potential options in front of you, it can be difficult to know where to turn in the aftermath of a car accident. Salamati Law is ready to help explore all of your options for compensation following your accident. To learn more, schedule your free consultation today.

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We are committed to negotiate your case aggressively, strategically and creatively. Personal injury lawsuits are retained on a contingency fee agreement, and plaintiffs will pay no legal fees unless the firm is able to recover damages on your behalf.

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