How do you handle car accident medical bills before you are ready to settle with the insurance company?
After a car accident, you may not be ready to settle with the negligent driver’s insurance company until after you fully recover from your injuries. That may take many months. In the meantime, the medical bills will start to roll in. In most cases, the medical providers will not be willing to wait for you to settle your personal injury claim. If payment arrangements are not made, the medical offices may send your bill to collection, and your credit may suffer as a result.
Depending on your situation, there are some options for handling medical bills before you are ready to settle. Health insurance, either through an employer, Medicare, or Medicaid, can be used to pay medical bills resulting from a car accident. If there are medical expenses not covered by your health insurance, or if there out-of-pocket expenses for co-pays and deductibles, you may have medical payments coverage available under your own car insurance policy.
The at-fault driver will not be ‘off the hook’ for the medical expenses paid by your insurance. To the extent that they pay your medical expenses, your health insurance and auto insurance companies will expect reimbursement from any settlement you reach with the other driver’s insurance company. (This is called subrogation.) So, before you settle, you will want to be sure that the settlement amount not only adequately compensates you, but also is enough to reimburse your health and auto insurance companies.
Involving your own insurance companies to help you manage medical bills between the time of the accident and the time of a final settlement adds some complexity to the settlement process. But using those benefits can save you worry, aggravation, and potential damage to your credit.