Who Pays My Medical Bills After a Car Accident?
Who Pays My Medical Bills After a Car Accident?
When it comes to car accidents, the most frightening of all concerns are medical bills that a person may have incurred due to the accident. Who is is going to pay those bills that can often be thousands of dollars? All states have requirements for the type of insurance coverage a driver must have to drive. In Oklahoma, drivers are required to only carry Liability, which is separated into Bodily Injury Liability and Property Damage Liability. The purpose behind this requirement is to allow “expeditious medical treatment without having to wait for a Court of Law to determine and opine on liability.” Oklahoma bodily injury rules mean you will seek medical coverage from the at-fault drivers.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Because Oklahoma does not require PIP coverage you may not have selected PIP insurance. Your insurance company can tell you if you have PIP coverage. If you do not have PIP insurance, then your medical bills will be paid for by the insurance company of the driver at fault in the accident, through their bodily injury liability coverage (remember that coverage is required). If you are the person found to be at fault in the accident, your personal bodily injury liability coverage will not cover these injuries, you will either need to open a PIP claim if you chose this coverage, or you will need to use your health insurance.
Your liability coverage will pay for any serious and permanent injury or death to others when you cause an accident in your automobile. Your insurance company will pay for injuries to others, up to the limits of your policy and provide legal representation for you if you get sued. But your coverage ends there, it will not cover your injuries or the restoration of damage to your vehicle.
Property Damage Liability
This liability covers you if your car damages someone else’s property. This means damage to their car, or their property, such as crashing into someone’s fence, or if you crash into their home. Like Bodily Injury Liability, Property Damage Liability coverage will provide legal protection to you if you are sued after the accident.
PIP Coverage & You:
PIP insurance is a good idea due to the fact that this coverage will become helpful in the days and weeks immediately following a car crash. If you didn’t know, a person can quickly go through $10,000 in Emergency Room or Hospital bills following the crash. While there is a limitation on what medical providers can be paid for their services through PIP, many people find that they have used up all their available funds (known as “exhaust benefits”) before they have ever seen a specialist, physical therapist, etc. of any kind.
If you elect to get PIP coverage and you have gone through all the allotted funds, many people find themselves in a situation in which they are forced to make a decision between using their personal health insurance or providing their doctor(s) with a Letter of Protection. (Letters of Protection allow people without health insurance to get medical treatment by having a doctor agree to forgo any collection efforts and instead agree to be paid for their services once the case has been settled.)
A question that one may encounter is – “Should I allow my doctor(s) to bill their health insurance company for treatment?” If you elect to do so, a great deal of financial risk will be alleviated. Typically when health insurers pay the bills from a personal injury case, the health insurer will notify the attorney and their client that they intend to place a lien against the personal injury case. This basically means that the health insurer will ask to be “paid back” the amount paid form the proceeds of the case. Medical providers and insurance companies do have agreed upon rates in place and that comes to be of great benefit to the client.
Another aspect to consider is that if the case should go all the way to trial, using personal health coverage will eliminate a very powerful tool that the defense may use during the said trial. When a lien is in place, defense attorneys do anything and everything to imply that the Plaintiff’s doctor(s) are only testifying, and possibly exaggerating, on the seriousness of the client’s injuries purely for financial gain. This is made possible due to the fact that the testifying doctor has yet to be paid. But, when a client has their doctor bills paid by health insurance versus procuring a Letter of protection, this line of attack is taken away from the defense attorney in a trial setting.
Remember that Letters of Protection may prove to be beneficial to those without health insurance, but this process will open the door for the insurance companies attorney to plant doubt in the minds of the jurors hearing the case.
Oklahoma is an At-Fault State:
The State of Oklahoma is considered an At-Fault State. What this means is that your insurance company and the other person involved insurance company will pay damages for medical claims, wage loss and other expenses based on the degree of fault. Oklahoma uses a rule called the 50% Rule, which means that an injured person cannot recover damages if the injured party was 50% or more at fault in the accident. If the injured party was 49% or less at fault, they can recover, and that recovery is reduced by the degree of fault.
Determining just who is at fault and what percentage that fault may be after a car accident is a complex process and cannot simply be worked out online. Your insurance company will help you with this. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to seek legal representation when involved in a personal injury claim of any kind. Insurance companies will contact those involved in accidents and make offers that are often way below what an experienced personal injury attorney may be able to secure for you. The experienced professional team of personal injury attorneys/lawyers at Jones Brown PLLC are always available for you, ready and willing to talk and advise you as to what your best options may be.
If you’ve been hurt, the last thing you should have to worry about is your medical bills and finances. You need to focus on making a full recovery. We are here to answer all of your questions and provide assurance in times of uncertainty. If you have a case or have questions about your legal rights, then please contact us at any time for a free consultation. Click HERE to contact IWasInAWreck.com today.