Although car accident injuries are difficult to deal with on many levels, worrying about how to pay your medical bills can be particularly stressful. You shouldn’t have to worry about affording the care you need when your injuries are the result of another party’s negligence. That’s why it’s important to understand your legal right to compensation.
Paying Your Initial Medical Bills
Louisiana law does not require an at-fault driver to pay your medical bills as they occur. You must file a personal injury claim to seek reimbursement for emergency room care, diagnostic tests, medications, physical therapy, and other accident-related medical expenses.
Responsibility for your initial bills depends on what type of insurance you have:
If you have employer-provided health insurance or a privately purchased policy, your insurer will pay your medicals bills initially. However, you will still be responsible for any co-pays or deductibles.
If you have Medicaid, Medicare, or other state-provided insurance, the government will pay those bills. If applicable, you are responsible for whatever cost-sharing is involved according to your income.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ compensation must cover the cost of medical care for an accident that occurs while you are performing your employment-related duties. This includes car accidents caused by a third-party driver.
If your own auto policy includes MedPay coverage, also known as medical payments coverage or personal injury protection, this will help pay your medical bills after the accident regardless of fault. Since this type of coverage is primarily intended to act as a supplement to your existing health insurance, coverage limits are low.
If you are uninsured, you are responsible for the full cost of your care. However, providers often can work out payment plans or reduced fees for people who do not have the appropriate insurance coverage. Some doctors may even agree to defer bills until you receive your personal injury settlement. Ask to speak to someone in the billing office about the options that are available to you.
If possible, you should try to keep current on your medical bills. Personal injury claims can often take several months to be resolved, since you should never accept a final settlement offer until your injuries have fully healed or your condition has stabilized to the point where your future medical costs can be accurately estimated. If unpaid debts accumulate during this time, they can be placed in collections and negatively affect your credit score.
Receiving Reimbursement for Damages
Medical bills typically make up a substantial portion of a personal injury claim. You are also entitled to reimbursement for any out-of-pocket medical expenses. This includes deductibles, co-pays, and charges not covered by insurance. Keep copies of any bills or invoices you’ve received to make sure these payments are thoroughly documented.
The insurance company that initially paid your bills must be reimbursed for any charges incurred on your behalf. Whether you have private or state-funded insurance, you should keep copies of any statements showing expenses the company has already paid. The insurer will likely place a lien on your settlement, which your attorney is obligated to honor. However, the amount of the lien can sometimes be negotiated to take your legal fees into consideration.
Paying Medical Expenses for Partially at-Fault Drivers
If you were found to be partially responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, Louisiana law still allows you to receive personal injury compensation. However, your payments will be proportionately reduced to reflect your own responsibility in the crash. For example, if you are found to be 25% at fault for the accident, you’d receive reimbursement for 75% of your accident-related expenses.
Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?
If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.