Who Pays for Medical Bills After an Accident?
If you suffer injuries in a car accident someone else is responsible for, Colorado law states that the at-fault driver is financially liable for the cost of your medical care. However, it can take a long time to secure the settlement that you need to pay for your treatment, and the driver’s insurance company will not pay you directly after each one of your visits.
So, who pays for medical bills after an accident? Generally, you are responsible for paying for your bills as they incur, but keeping up with payments can be difficult. You cannot pause your medical treatment while waiting for your case to reach a settlement. In the meantime, you can pursue additional options for securing temporary compensation, including additional insurance coverage.
Medical Payments Insurance
Colorado requires all drivers to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance in case they cause an accident. This insurance coverage will pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle repairs, and other losses, as long as you can prove that the policyholder caused the accident. While waiting for a case to reach conclusion, you can utilize medical payments insurance, or med pay.
Since 2009, Colorado has required all insurance companies to offer at least $5,000 in med pay coverage. This coverage provides compensation for hospital bills after a car accident, allowing you to pay for care as your bills accumulate. Insurance companies add med pay coverage to your policy automatically, so as long as you did not opt out, you can use this resource while waiting for your case to reach settlement.
Private Health Insurance
Another option for paying for accident-related medical care is to use your own private health insurance. Hospitals will typically charge your health insurance company first for your medical expenses, making your private policy your first line of financial protection after an accident. Med pay coverage will apply to any outstanding balance, such as deductibles and copays.
If you do not have med pay coverage and your personal health insurance does not pay for all of your treatment costs, you may be able to seek treatment by signing a medical lien. A medical lien is a demand for repayment that a healthcare provider claims against your pending personal injury settlement. In Colorado, a hospital can legally assert a medical lien against your insurance company for all necessary treatment costs.
With a medical lien, you can seek treatment as you need it, but once your case resolves, the provider will be the first to deduct compensation from your settlement. Prior to accepting a medical lien, speak to an attorney as soon as possible to determine if the agreement is valid and in your best interest.
Seeking Help from an Attorney
If you are struggling with paying for necessary medical care after a car accident, a Colorado car accident attorney can help. Your lawyer will likely have experience representing hundreds of injured clients from a variety of financial backgrounds and will know what resources are available to help pay for your treatment. He or she can also connect you with medical professionals who can provide the care that you need while waiting for your case to resolve.
Aside from financial resources, a car accident attorney can provide several benefits throughout your case. He or she can guide you through the complex insurance or personal injury claims processes, evaluating your case value and negotiating for the maximum possible settlement to aid in your recovery.
Contact your lawyer as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your case and options for medical payments.