How Are Medical Bills Paid After a Motor Vehicle Accident?
When you’re hurt in an automobile accident, the first and most important thing you need to do is take care of your health. As a general rule, the sooner you get medical treatment, the less risk you’ll have of medical complications and the less likelihood that you’ll put your legal claims in jeopardy.
When you’re injured in an accident caused by the carelessness or negligence of another person, you have the right to expect that the at-fault person will pay for all your losses, including any medical expenses incurred. When the injuries are serious and/or catastrophic, though, you may need to be transported from the scene of the crash to a nearby emergency department. At that point, you may have little or no information about who caused your accident. How do those initial medical bills get paid? Furthermore, as you recover and need additional care, how do you ensure that you’re not stuck with doctor’s fees and other medical costs?
If Necessary, Look First to Your Health Insurance Policy
In Texas, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance carrier ultimately should be liable for any medical expenses you incur as a result of a car wreck—those damages are typically covered by an auto insurance policy. When you arrive at the hospital, though, you may not have the necessary auto insurance information for the person who caused the accident. If that’s the case, you may need to turn to your own health insurance policy, at least initially, so you can get the care you need as soon as possible. Typically, your health insurer will take steps to recover any amount paid out from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance carrier.
When you file a claim with your auto insurer, the costs of your premiums can go up because the insurer considers you a greater risk. However, when you’re injured in an accident that was not your fault, your risk assessment shouldn’t change. Accordingly, you shouldn’t see any increase in your auto insurance premiums if you turn to your health insurer to cover initial losses until the at-fault party’s auto insurer is identified and brought into the process. Additionally, if you’re required to pay deductibles under your health insurance policy, those should also be reimbursed by the at-fault party’s auto insurer.
The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act
The most important thing to remember after a car accident is that you should not decide against receiving any medical treatment based on a concern that you can’t afford to pay for it. Even if you don’t have health insurance, federal law requires most hospitals to provide a certain level of emergency medical care. Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, you have a right to receive care in the emergency department at most hospitals and medical facilities. A hospital that wrongfully refuses treatment to a person in need of emergency medical care may be liable for medical malpractice.
Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we know that the losses incurred in a car accident can be extensive and may not be fully covered by insurance. For an appointment with an experienced personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 844-402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.