If you are involved in a vehicle accident, the number one priority will have to be obtaining medical care so you can make a full recovery. However, after the initial emergency is over with, the concern will quickly go to how to pay incoming medical expenses. After all, if another driver was responsible for the vehicle accident, shouldn’t they be the ones paying for the medical bills?
Unfortunately, that is not always how this works, at least not in the immediate aftermath of the crash. Here, our Chicago car accident lawyers discuss who pays medical bills after a car accident, particularly focusing on the immediate medical expenses as well as any ongoing medical bills a person might incur as they work to recover.
Right After a Car Accident Occurs
When a vehicle accident occurs in Illinois, the number one priority has to be for a victim to receive medical care as soon as possible. In some cases, this will mean that the victim has to take an ambulance to the hospital to receive prompt medical treatment. However, it is also not uncommon for injury victims to have their friends or family members take them to an emergency clinic or the emergency room for a checkup.
We want to point out how critical it is for any person involved in a vehicle accident to seek medical care to ensure that they have not sustained any unseen injuries and to establish a solid link between the vehicle accident and any potential injuries they have.
But who pays the medical bills in these situations?
Even though the ultimate goal is for the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier to pay for these medical expenses, they certainly are not going to pay right away. Unfortunately, these initial emergency medical bills will be sent to the crash victim. Ultimately, the goal is to have an insurance settlement come in before these bills become due so that the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier takes care of them. However, a crash victim may need to rely on their own insurance carrier to pay for these expenses in the meantime.
What About Follow-Up Care?
Even though some vehicle accident victims do not need any further medical treatment, it is not uncommon for a crash victim to need follow-up care. In some cases, this includes physical therapy and rehabilitation. It is also not uncommon for crash victims to possibly need surgery, prescription medications, and medical devices in order for them to fully recover from their injuries.
All of this follow-up care can become incredibly expensive, and the bills will inevitably become due at some point. This can be a problem if the fault driver’s insurance carrier puts up a fight. If the other driver’s insurance carrier denies a claim or refuses to offer a fair settlement amount, the medical bills could become a problem.
In some situations, a crash victim and their attorney can speak to the medical providers about rendering care on the promise that they will be paid when a settlement or jury verdict comes through. Some medical providers will do this, and others will do so only if they are able to place a medical lien on any eventual settlement or verdict. When this occurs, the medical provider will be listed on the final settlement along with the crash victim and their attorney, and this guarantees that they will get their money back.
What if a Personal Insurance Policy Paid the Bills?
In some situations, a crash victim may have to rely on their personal insurance carrier to pay their medical bills while they await an eventual settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. When this occurs, the personal insurance carrier may be entitled to repayment through something called subrogation. This simply means that they will have the right to be re-paid for the amount they paid for the medical bills out of an eventual settlement or jury verdict.