Car accidents are not always serious, but they can be. And when they are, it’s essential to know who is responsible for medical bills.
If you are injured in a car accident, you will likely receive a bill from the hospital or doctor’s office. But just because you receive an invoice does not mean that you are responsible for paying it. If the accident was not your fault, there are a few options for who will pay your medical bills.
Let’s go over the basics of car accident insurance and liability so that you can be prepared in the event of an accident.
The role of insurance in accidents
The first concept to understand is insurance. All drivers are required to have car insurance in order to drive on the roads legally. There are different types of car insurance, but most policies will include some form of liability coverage.
PIP, or personal injury protection, is insurance that can cover your medical bills after an accident, no matter who is at fault. PIP is often required in no-fault states. In these states, each driver’s insurance company will pay for their own policyholder’s damages, regardless of who caused the accident.
In states without PIP laws, liability insurance will come into play. This type of insurance covers damages caused by the policyholder to another person. Your insurance policy sets the limit and will be listed as something like “100/300.” This means that your insurance will pay out $100,000 per person injured, up to $300,000 for the accident.
So, if you are responsible for an accident, your insurance will cover the medical bills of the people injured up to your policy limit. In terms of medical costs, that’s the equivalent of treating minor injuries without surgery.
What is liability?
Next, there’s the concept of liability. When we’re talking about car accidents, liability refers to who is at fault for the accident. It can be the person who ran a red light, the one who was speeding, or even the distracted driver who rear-ended someone.
In order to determine liability, insurance companies will do an investigation of the accident. They will look at police reports, witness statements, and any other evidence they can find. Based on this investigation, they will decide who is responsible for the accident.
Once liability is determined, the guilty party’s insurance will be responsible for paying out any claims. So, if you are determined to be at fault for an accident, your insurance will pay for the other person’s medical bills.
When will insurance pay for medical bills?
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of car insurance and liability let’s talk about when insurance will pay for medical bills. Let’s say you were in a pretty bad car wreck and hurt your back. You go to the doctor and find out that you need surgery. The surgery will cost $100,000.
The other driver, who was intoxicated at the scene, is determined to be at fault. In this case, their insurance would be responsible for paying your medical bills. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, the other driver’s insurance company is only required to pay up to their policy limit. So, if their policy limit is $100,000, that’s all they will pay for your medical bills, even if the bill is for more. In the event where that’s not enough to cover your medical bills, you would be responsible for paying the rest.
The balance can go through your own insurance’s PIP coverage if you have it. If not, you will be stuck with the bill. This limitation is one of the reasons why it’s important to have high limits on your insurance policy.
If you are in an accident and someone else is at fault, you want to make sure that their insurance can cover all of your medical bills.
Second, insurance companies will often try to lowball you on the amount they are willing to pay. They may give you a lower offer than what your medical bills cost under the pretext that you don’t really need all of the treatment you’re asking for.
Remember that insurance companies are businesses, and they are in it to make money. They will do whatever they can to minimize their payouts. That’s why it’s crucial to have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side who can negotiate with the insurance company and get you the full amount you’re entitled to.
Who is responsible if there is no insurance?
Finally, we need to discuss what happens if the other driver doesn’t have insurance. In this case, you would be responsible for your own medical bills. However, there are a few things that can help you out.
First, if you have uninsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy, that will kick in and pay for your medical bills up to your policy limit. Second, you can sue the other driver personally for your medical bills. This tactic is often a long shot, as many people who don’t have insurance also don’t have a lot of money.
But it’s worth a try if you have significant medical bills that need to be paid. A payment plan with the hospital may also be an option.
Why you should consider hiring a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer
If you’ve been in a car accident, there’s a lot to think about. From dealing with the insurance company to getting your car repaired, it can be a lot to handle. And on top of all that, you’re probably dealing with some pretty serious injuries.
The whole process can be overwhelming, so it’s best to have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side. A good lawyer will handle all the legal details for you to focus on getting better.
Here at Vauden Heuvel & Dineen, we take car accidents seriously. We know how much they can disrupt your life and our experts in personal injury law are here to help you get back on your feet. We offer free consultations, so please contact us today to discuss your case.