Medical bills will begin to arrive in the mail (whether physically or through email) shortly after your car accident. Even if you have health insurance, you will still be responsible for paying your share of these expenses.
The costs for copayments and prescription medications can add up quickly. When you get medical treatment after a car accident, you are ultimately responsible for paying the bills. You could recover financial compensation for those bills if another driver was to blame for the accident. Contact the South Carolina auto accident attorneys at Hite Law Firm in Abbeville to learn more about your legal rights after a car accident.
The Fault System in South Carolina Determines Who Pays for a Car Accident
The question of whose insurance pays in a car accident depends on who was at fault for the car accident.
You can prove fault by showing that the other driver was negligent. There are four things that you must prove in order to demonstrate negligence:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care
- The driver breached their duty by doing something that would be considered unreasonable under the circumstances
- You suffered an injury
- You would not have been injured had it not been for the acts or omissions of the other party
Once you are able to prove negligence, the other driver (through their own insurance company up to the policy limits) must pay for all your damages, including your medical bills.
The Role of Your Health Insurance Company in Paying Your Medical Bills
At first, you would need to rely on your own health insurance company to cover their share of your expenses. The original medical bills would still be covered under the terms of your policy. You may still be responsible for your share of expenses.
When you have been injured in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, your health insurance company is just advancing the money to pay for your expenses. The insurance carrier will have a lien on your settlement, meaning that they have the first chance to be paid back for the money that they have already spent on your medical care. You will also be entitled to be reimbursed for the expenses that you have already paid.
If you were at fault for the accident, your health insurance would still pay for your bills, and you would still be responsible for your share.
How Your Medical Bills Are Paid if You Do Not Have Health Insurance
If you do not have health insurance coverage, you will be in a more precarious position. You may be able to negotiate with your medical providers for delayed payments because you are waiting for a settlement.
Your attorney may be able to speak with the doctor to get you more time to pay. Alternatively, your medical providers may take their own lien against a settlement or jury award, so they may be paid from the proceeds.
You may be able to send a “letter of protection” to a medical provider that promises them that they will be paid from the proceeds of your settlement. However, you need to be careful that your medical provider does not run up unnecessary costs because they know that they will be paid.
Your Car Accident Settlement Will Pay for Your Medical Bills Going Forward
It is vital that you obtain enough money in your car accident settlement to pay for your future medical bills. Once you settle your claim, your health insurance company is off the hook for your future expenses related to your accident. The payments will come from the proceeds of your settlement.
If you settle your claim for too little, you may be left with the money to pay your medical bills and nothing else. You may find that you do not have enough to pay your other vital expenses.
Your attorney can estimate the exact value of your claim so you know how much to seek in settlement negotiations. Then, they can negotiate with the insurance company, knowing how much you need to get in a settlement.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in South Carolina Today
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, the attorneys at Hite Law Firm are here to fight for your right to full and fair financial compensation for your expenses and suffering. Call us today at 864-664-2252 or message us online to schedule a free initial consultation. We can also help you deal with issues like how you will pay for medical bills while you are waiting for a settlement check.