How Are Medical Bills Paid After a Car Accident?

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Car accidents are traumatic events that can cause serious, expensive-to-treat injuries. Determining who covers medical bills in a car accident will largely depend on the circumstances of your accident, such as which state the accident occurred in and who is at-fault for the accident.

But insurance companies often fight hard to dispute this responsibility, which means medical costs are frequently at the center of car accident claims, settlements, and lawsuits. While you may have to use your own auto or health insurance or even pay out-of-pocket while your claim is being negotiated, you should not be ultimately responsible for those medical expenses if someone else’s negligence caused your injuries.

Working with an experienced car accident lawyer is the best way to fight for the compensation you deserve. At Ashcraft & Gerel, our compassionate and detail-oriented car accident attorneys have been helping victims in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. seek justice since 1953. Call us today at (844) 680-0339 or request your free consultation online to learn more about how medical bills are paid after a car accident.


Who Pays for Car Accident Medical Bills?

First, it’s important to understand the state laws and regulations that will have the biggest impact on your specific case:

  • Virginia is an at-fault state, which means that you may sue other drivers and their insurance companies for damages related to your car accident. Virginia also offers optional insurance coverage called MedPay, which can help cover medical bills regardless of who is at fault for your accident.
  • Maryland is an at-fault state. It also offers drivers the option to purchase MedPay coverage and another optional type of no-fault coverage called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. While these two types of coverage are similar in some regards, it’s best to contact a car accident lawyer to discuss how they might apply to your unique situation.
  • Washington, D.C. is a no-fault state, which means that regardless of who caused a car accident, each driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying their own policyholder’s medical bills and certain damages. This allows you to seek compensation directly from their own insurance company instead of going after the other driver’s insurance. The goal of no-fault laws in Washington D.C. is to make the claims process easier and ensure quick coverage of medical bills for accident victims.

All three states also follow a relatively rare legal concept called contributory negligence, which means that a driver is not likely to recover compensation from a primarily at-fault driver if they share even 1% of fault for the accident. Ultimately, who pays for car accident medical bills will hinge on the relevant state laws where your accident occurred and the specific nuances of your accident, so it’s best to contact a car accident attorney who can guide you through these legal complexities.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common ways that medical bills are paid for after a car accident:

Health Insurance

In many cases, your own health insurance can help cover medical bills resulting from a car accident. However, your health insurer will then have a subrogation lien on any future compensation resulting from your legal claim, which means you will have to pay them back from your settlement funds. A good car accident attorney can help negotiate with your health insurance and work to reduce the amount of this medical lien. 

The At-Fault Party

While you may have to use PIP or Med Pay insurance and your own health insurance as a stopgap, if you can prove that another party is liable for your accident, then that negligent driver’s insurance company should ultimately cover these costs (uninsured drivers can also be held personally liable). That includes any costs previously covered by your PIP insurance or health coverage, as your health insurer will likely want to recover the value of your medical treatment from the at-fault party’s insurance.

Of course, proving liability can be a tricky thing in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. due to the contributory negligence rule, which states that a driver is not likely to receive compensation for medical bills from another driver if they share any fault for the accident. That’s why it’s critical to work with a car accident attorney who can help you build the strongest possible case.


What if I Don’t Have Health Insurance?

If you don’t have health insurance or optional coverage like PIP insurance or MedPay, then it’s likely you will bear full responsibility for your medical bills, at least initially. While the prospect of dealing with seemingly insurmountable medical expenses is daunting, this doesn’t mean you are out of options. 

Pursuing a legal claim with a qualified car accident attorney may offer some relief, especially if you can prove the other party is liable for your claims. Sometimes, a lawyer can also send your medical providers a letter stating you are being represented, and they may put initial medical bills on hold. Whatever damages you recover can help address your medical expenses.

Contact Ashcraft & Gerel To Discuss How Medical Bills Are Paid After a Car Accident

If you’re dealing with the traumatic aftermath of a car accident, one of the biggest questions you are likely to have is “who covers medical bills in a car accident?” Like most complex legal questions, that answer will be different depending on the unique details and circumstances of your case, including where the accident took place and what types of auto coverage you carry.

Fortunately, the experienced and attentive car accident attorneys at Ashcraft & Gerel have been helping victims in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. navigate these scenarios for more than 65 years. Call us today at (844) 680-0339 or request your free consultation online to learn more about how medical bills are paid after a car accident.