A car accident has left you seriously injured. The other driver was ticketed, so you are fairly certain fault will be easy to establish and that you will receive compensation from the other driver for your financial damages. However, you were rushed to the emergency room from the accident scene and have had ongoing medical care and treatment since then. The bills are starting to arrive, and you are wondering who is supposed to pay them. Surely not you, as you were the innocent victim.
Unfortunately, the reality is that you are responsible for paying these bills, no matter who was at fault in the accident. If you are awarded a settlement, that money will reimburse you for expenses, but will not pay the bills directly.
Fault or No Fault?—That Is the First Question
The first factor in determining how to get your medical bills paid is whether you live in Kansas or Missouri, as insurance laws are different in each state. Missouri is a “fault state”, which means that—unless you have a specific kind of car insurance policy—you will be expected to pay your medical bills through your health insurance or another option. In Kansas, which is a “no-fault state”, you will have some amount of Personal Injury Protection as a part of your car insurance policy, and that will pay a portion of your medical bills.
There Are Some Insurance Policies That Will Cover Car Accident Injuries
Again, even if you are in the middle of a lawsuit to recover damages from the guilty driver, there is no federal or state law that requires the at-fault driver to pay your medical bills on an ongoing basis. Personal injury law states that if the other driver is found to be liable for your injuries, he is required to pay damages to settle the lawsuit. Your medical bills may be part of those damages, but as this settlement can take months to resolve, you may have to get the bills paid another way. Options that may be available to you include:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP). If you live in Kansas, you will have some insurance coverage for bodily injury through your PIP. As many people only carry the minimum amount required by law—$4,500 in Kansas—this will likely not cover all of your medical expenses if you were seriously injured.
- Medical Payment Insurance (Med Pay). If you live in Missouri, you may have opted for some amount of Med Pay coverage on your car insurance policy. This is designed to cover medical expenses caused by a car accident, no matter who is at fault. Coverage amounts on these policies generally do not exceed $10,000. This is optional coverage in fault states, so you may or may not have it.
- Health insurance policy. After the car insurance policies have paid their maximums, your health insurance policy, if you have one, will cover the rest of the cost of your medical care, minus any deductibles. Be aware, however, that, if you are later awarded a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you will be required to pay your health insurance company back for the amount they covered.
- Medicaid. If you receive health insurance through Medicaid, they will pay your medical bills following a car accident. However, they will expect to be reimbursed out of any settlement you receive.
- Medicare. If you are 65 or older, or suffer from a qualifying disability, and are enrolled in Medicare, Medicare will pay your hospital bills and, if you are enrolled in Part B, your other medical expenses due to the car accident. Like health insurance and Medicaid, Medicare will also be reimbursed from a settlement amount.
- Workers’ compensation. If you were injured in a car accident while on the job, your employer’s workers’ comp insurance will cover all of your medical bills, as well as the cost of transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Payment arrangement. If you don’t have any of the above insurance plans, you may set up a payment plan with your medical provider until you receive your settlement money.
Have You Been Injured In A Kansas City Area Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.