In the state of Texas, any person who is injured in a car accident is responsible for paying their own medical bills as they are incurred, even if the accident was not their fault. While this may seem unfair, the reason for this is that the driver or other party who caused the accident must first be found liable before they are required to pay for another person's losses. In many cases, this creates significant financial stress for the victim since it can take months or even years for a settlement or verdict to be obtained and compensation to be awarded. If you have been injured and are wondering how medical bills are paid after a car accident, contact the skilled personal injury lawyers at Jason S. English Law today at 512-454-7548 or fill in our online form. We can help you understand your options for paying for the medical treatment you need to recover from your injuries.
How Insurance Coverage Can Help
Different types of insurance coverage can assist in paying for a victim's medical bills as they are incurred.
Personal Injury Protection and Medical Payment Insurance
Under the Texas Insurance Code SEC1952.152, auto insurance companies in Texas are required to offer at least $2,500 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) with the option to purchase additional coverage. PIP pays for medical bills and lost wages associated with a car accident, regardless of who was a fault. PIP also covers medical bills for any passengers who were in the car and were also injured in the accident.
Medical payment insurance, often referred to as “med pay,” is another type of coverage that can be added to a driver's car insurance policy. Similar to PIP, med pay coverage will pay for medical bills associated with injuries caused by a car accident up to its policy limit, however, its coverage does not include lost wages.
There are two key advantages to having PIP or med pay coverage in the event of a car accident. Firstly, these types of insurance usually do not have a deductible. Secondly, there is no requirement to repay insurers for medical bills covered under these types of policies. Given these benefits, PIP and med pay are often the primary way that medical bills are paid after a car accident. Victims will typically use these types of coverage to cover their medical bills first before turning to their private health insurance coverage.
Private Health Insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid
Once PIP and med pay insurance have been used up (or if these types of coverage are not available), car accident victims will usually turn to their private health insurance to pay for any remaining medical bills associated with the accident. This may include employer-provided or privately-purchased health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid coverage, or even a victim's health savings account (HSA). Of course, all medical bills claimed through private health insurance will be paid according to the terms of the policy, and any deductibles, co-pays, or coverage limits would apply.
When No Insurance is Available
If a car accident victim does not have health or med pay insurance, they are responsible for paying their medical bills out of pocket. If a victim does not have the means to pay, an experienced personal injury attorney can help them understand their options, which may include payment arrangements with hospitals and medical providers or medical liens.
Determining Liability After an Accident
Under the Texas Transportation Code, a driver is required to exercise reasonable care while driving. If they fail to do so, they can be found to be negligent and will be held legally and financially responsible for the losses caused to others on the road. A victim who has been injured in an accident caused by another driver has the right to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company or to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in court. In some cases, another party or entity may be found to also be liable for the accident, such as a truck driver's employer who required a driver to work long hours without a break or a construction company that caused hazardous conditions on the road. In any case, once liability has been proven, a verdict or personal injury settlement can be made, and a settlement amount may be offered to the victim to compensate for their losses.
How a Personal Injury Settlement is Divided
Unfortunately, not all of the money included in a personal injury settlement goes directly to the victim¾other parties may be entitled to a portion of the settlement amount as well. These may include:
- Private health insurers - If private health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid was used to pay for the victim's medical bills, these insurers are entitled to be repaid for the medical bills they covered.
- Medical providers – Most medical providers will offer a medical lien to accident victims who do not have the means to pay their medical bills upfront. A lien gives the medical provider the right to claim reimbursement of the bills it covered as soon as a settlement agreement is reached.
- Attorney fees – Most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning that a percentage of the settlement amount is owed to them as soon as a settlement agreement is reached.
After all of these parties have been paid, any remaining funds go directly to the accident victim. In theory, this amount should represent the amount of pain and suffering caused to the victim by the accident, as well as any expected future medical bills associated with the accident. If you are curious how your medical bills will be paid after a car accident, the skilled personal injury lawyers at Jason S. English Law can help answer all of your questions.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
In the aftermath of a car accident, a victim faces great physical and emotional stress related to the injuries they have suffered. Add on the financial burden of lost wages and accumulating medical bills, and a victim and their family may be faced with an incredibly challenging situation. At Jason S. English Law, we believe you deserve to be properly compensated for the injuries you have suffered. If you or a loved one has been injured and you are wondering how medical bills are paid after a car accident, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys at 512-454-7548. We may be able to help you pursue a fair settlement to repay your medical bills and adequately compensate you for your past and future losses.