Everyone knows that it’s unfair when an individual suffers an accident at someone’s else’s (often negligent) expense. That is why a personal injury settlement or verdict (these cases don’t usually go to trial!) is so great. The person who suffered at the hands of the guilty party gets their medical bills and lost wages covered and can focus on healing instead of worrying.
So Who Will Pay My Medical Bills If I’m In An Accident?
The simple answer to this question is that it depends on the type of accident you were in, the state in which you live, and the type of insurance that’s involved.
What’s definitely true in the space of personal injury is that individuals will commonly settle for the number they’re given without consulting with a lawyer. Since the other party will naturally never give you anywhere close to what you should be paid, this is usually a very bad move! Lost wages, medical costs, and related expenses add up fast, and they should all be carefully considered before an agreement can be reached.
This is what personal injury attorneys do: they file lawsuits on behalf of their clients for the injuries they’ve sustained through no fault of their own. Seeing as there are very few federal statutes about personal injury lawsuits and that each state’s laws are so different, it’s essential to seek the best possible representation for your claim.
The law states that if the guilty party is found at fault by the court, they must pay your damages, which in part consist of your medical bills.
How A Personal Injury Settlement Is Calculated
This figure varies by state. In Rhode Island, the injured party receives a specific dollar amount every week, depending on the severity of their injuries. This figure can range from $300 to $500 per week for a soft tissue injury and is quite a bit higher for more severe injuries.
Your settlement amount may go up or down depending on your specific claim. Here are some common factors that affect personal injury settlement amounts:
- Your injuries and their long-term impacts, including pain and suffering
- Whose fault the accident was
- How aggressive the defendant is or is not, and how willing they are to settle
Types Of Accidents And What It Means
If you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident in a “no-fault” state, your own auto insurer will pay some or all of your medical bills up to the state’s “no-fault” limit. This is true whether you’re at fault or the other party is.
In a no-fault state, your health insurance will also pay your medical bills. If you do not have health insurance, you’ll need to work out your payment arrangements with your medical providers.
In the event your medical bills exceed a certain amount, you can “bypass” the no-fault system and file a traditional liability claim against the other driver. However, this process is likely to take some time.
So what happens if your car accident occurred in a fault state? The result is quite different: you’ll generally be responsible for paying your own medical bills with the exception of “med pay” being involved. If there is med pay, some of the drivers’ or passengers’ medical bills will be paid. Med pay coverage is generally modest and rarely exceeds $10,000 after which you’re responsible for your medical bills.
If you make a workers’ compensation claim in a work-related accident, the workers’ compensation insurer will likely pay your medical bills. In many states, you may also be entitled to transportation expenses to and from your medical appointments.
Oftentimes, however, workplace injuries are not sufficiently covered by worker’s compensation, especially if there’s a permanent injury.
Though worker’s compensation is intended to provide benefits like medical care, income replacement of lost wages, and disability payments, filing a legal claim against your employer may be the best course of action.
Slip and Falls
In a premises liability case, aka a slip and fall accident, the injured party is responsible for their own bills unless the property owner has liability insurance coverage which includes “med pay.” If they do, the med pay covers the bills up to the coverage amount.
In the case of a personal injury settlement, the plaintiff is compensated for all their medical treatments, including the medical bills they’ve already paid as well as for future medical interventions.