Who Pays For My Medical Bills After a Car Accident in Rhode Island?

Published by grandelaw on

Are your medical bills mounting after being in a car crash?

If you have been involved in a car accident in Rhode Island, you likely have concerns about how this will impact you financially. Depending on how serious your injury is, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in medical treatments and even continued medical care for years to come.

Contact Providence car accident lawyer Louis W. Grande to learn more about the factors in your personal injury case that will determine who is responsible for your medical bills after a car accident.

The Cost of Being in an Accident

The first thing many people worry about after being a victim in a car accident in Rhode Island is how they are going to pay for everything. After a car accident, not only is there damage to the vehicle that has to be paid for, but also for all of the bodily injuries and mental anguish that a traumatic crash causes.

Coming up with the money to pay for the mounting bills is not only daunting but stressful and traumatic all on its own. The injuries after a car crash can make it impossible to work for many weeks, which means that a car crash victim can struggle to pay for their regular bills, let alone their medical expenses and car repairs.

Who Could End Up Paying Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

Many people are confused about where to turn, especially because they never planned to be in a car crash to begin with! There are many possible places you can turn to for medical bill coverage after you’ve been involved in an unfortunate accident:

  • The other driver’s insurance company through a car accident settlement
  • Your own car insurance Medical Payment (MedPay)
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage
  • Your own health insurance

Rhode Island auto accident attorneys understand how different avenues of recovery can pay off bills and yield the maximum recovery.

The Other Driver’s Car Insurance Company

Most often, a car accident victim can look at the at-fault driver’s insurance to pay medical bills. Unlike many states, Rhode Island has no minimum requirements to bring a personal injury lawsuit.

Benefits of Using the Other Driver’s Liability Coverage

The benefit of a victim using at-fault insurance for payment of medical bills is, obviously, that they don’t have to use their own insurance for these payments. The victim doesn’t have to pay their copays or risk their car insurance going up. That is a very big benefit of this strategy.

If a victim is not working because of an accident, they might be unable to pay copays. A victim might need extensive treatment after an accident, and their own no-fault coverage on their own car insurance might not be able to cover all of their treatment.

Using settlement money can provide a much larger pool of money to help get the treatment you need to recover. That is a massive benefit to those who need it.

Downfalls of Using the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance 

The major downside to this avenue for paying medical bills is that the accident victim has to wait a long time for the bills to be paid. The bills can only be paid after a settlement is reached with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The entire process varies widely from case to case, with a settlement after a car crash not coming (in some rare cases) for years.

The long wait can lead to many doctors and medical providers getting impatient. Those providers will not hesitate to send the outstanding balances and bills to collections in order to receive payment for those unpaid balances. That can really hurt the credit of a victim, which is another burden in an already stressful time.

Many medical professionals, knowing that settlements take a long time to conclude, refuse to provide service to those who are using at-fault insurance through a settlement, making it hard to get the medical coverage the victim deserves.

No-fault Insurance (MedPay/PIP)

Rhode Island does not require no-fault PIP or MedPay coverage. However, insurance companies still offer it. MedPay is coverage that you buy on your own car insurance.

Benefits of MedPay

MedPay is “no-fault” insurance, meaning that the victim can use it even if they are not at fault for the crash that occurred. Since MedPay is “no-fault”, a victim can not be held responsible for using it. This means that your insurance premiums should not rise if you use the coverage to pay for your medical expenses.

The victim then can use their MedPay insurance at medical providers that accept it, and their bills will be paid by their own car insurance provider. This avoids the co-payments that medical insurance requires, as MedPay can be used to pay the entire bill or can be used to cover copays.

This is also a much quicker way to pay bills, as the car insurance provider does not require there to be any fault in using it, which means that bills won’t be sent to collections.

Downfalls of Medpay

MedPay does have some downsides. Generally, only a very small amount of money can be used for treatment. Most victims purchase the lowest amount to keep their insurance rates low. States like Rhode Island make MedPay optional and waivable, so many victims don’t even have this resource available.

MedPay very rarely can cover all of the medical treatment from an accident. But it can be used to cover some bills until it is completely used up, which is absolutely better than nothing.

Another issue with MedPay is that sometimes, a victim’s car insurance may ask for compensation from a settlement that the victim receives from the at-fault party in the accident. This is called a lien; the victim is legally obligated to pay if the language within their insurance contract is explicit.

This obviously means less settlement money will ultimately go to the victim.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is the final common resource people use for paying off their medical bills from a car accident in Rhode Island.

Benefits of Using Your Health Insurer to Pay Medical Bills

The biggest benefit of using your health insurance to pay for your medical bills after an accident is that it can cover most of the bills. This means there will be less stress in finding a medical provider to accept it.

If you go to an in-network facility, your insurance will cover you. You will only be obligated to pay the copays that your insurance requires for prescriptions, hospital, and doctor visits.

This is what many victims are simply used to dealing with, which is just one less stressor they have to manage.

Downfalls of Using Your Health Insurance After a Car Accident

Many health insurance providers, especially Medicaid, Medicare, and Tricare, put a lien on the personal injury settlement a victim gets from the at-fault driver. These can be negotiated in many jurisdictions.

Also, since health insurance usually does not pay medical providers the full amounts that medical providers want, it means that a victim can often come out ahead if they use their insurance.

Worried About Paying Medical Bills After a Car Accident? Contact a Providence Personal Injury Lawyer

The stress and worry of paying for medical bills after a car accident can be daunting and overwhelming. However, it is important to remember that resources are available to help cover the costs. Possibly your most valuable resource during this overwhelming time will be your car accident lawyer.

If you’ve been in a Rhode Island car accident, contact Louis W. Grande, an injury lawyer in Providence, RI. We’ll ensure you get the assistance you need to pay your medical bills, and we’ll work to recover your damages from the responsible party.

Author Bio

Louis W. Grande is a Providence personal injury lawyer who founded his Rhode Island law firm of the same name in 2010. With more than 32 years of experience practicing law, he has successfully represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including car accidents, premise liability, dog bites, medical malpractice, product liability, and other personal injury actions.

Louis received his Juris Doctor from the Hamline University School of Law and is a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being awarded Lifetime Achievement in 2017 by America’s Top 100 Attorneys and being named among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Top 25 Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers in 2017.

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