Anyone who caused an accident or injury in California must pay for the injured party’s medical bills. The responsible party or their insurance provider must directly pay for these bills.
Seeking prompt and proper medical treatment is an immediate concern after being injured in a car accident. Medical treatment, however, is costly and bills can stack up very quickly depending on the severity of your injuries.
Who must pay for my medical bills?
Hospital bills, surgery costs, physician’s fees, and other medical expenses are typically included in a California personal injury claim. To get your medical expenses paid you need to establish who caused the accident.
California is a “fault” state where auto insurance is concerned. A party who violates the so-called duty of care is accountable under state law must pay the injured party’s medical expenses.
Unfortunately, parties at fault seldom admit accountability or pay bills without delay. Payments get delayed, making a quick, low dollar, out-of-court settlement seem acceptable. The injured party is sometimes forced to file a lawsuit. You may need to use your own insurance to cover medical expenses when these situations occur.
Your options for getting your medical bills paid
You have several options to get your medical bills paid as you wait for your case to go to trial or to settle.
- Private health insurance – This is insurance you obtained through Covered California or your employer.
- Government insurance such as Medicare, Medi-Cal, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- Optional personal insurance such as California Med-Pay insurance for vehicles and California homeowner’s or renter’s policy.
- Your own auto insurance policy, generally known as medical payments coverage or Med-Pay. This option provides coverage to pay for all your required medical expenses up to the policy’s allowable limit.
- A California health care professional who is willing to provide treatment on a “medical lien” basis if you have no means to pay for medical treatment
- California worker’s compensation
You can seek compensation from the at-fault party for your medical expenses, even if you paid for your medical bills at the beginning. You may need to pay back your insurance company, however, if you are able to receive compensation for your injuries. This is to repay them for the expenses they’ve covered on your behalf.
Do I have to reimburse my health insurer if I win my case?
Both government and private health insurers have the right to be compensated from the proceeds of any litigation or out-of-court settlement. This is known as their subrogation right.
Let’s say your health insurance provider paid for your medical treatment expenses. If you win your case and the guilty party pays for your medical treatment, you should pay back the health insurance company a portion of those proceeds. Subrogation applies only if you actually receive compensation from the responsible party.
Your insurance provider may have the right to sue on your behalf. While this may seem convenient, your insurer’s reasons may differ from you. It is still best to have your own lawyer to look out for your interests.
Speak with a California personal injury lawyer
Each personal injury case is unique. It is best to consult with a very knowledgeable and competent California personal injury lawyer who will be able to explain your best legal options.
You deserve to have your medical bills covered after your accident and we’ll help you fight for it. Our experienced injury lawyers at Barrios & Machado can help you get the most favorable car accident settlement for your case. Call our office today at (714) 515-9696 for your free and confidential initial consultation.