Who Will Handle My Medical Bills after a Car Accident in Virginia?
Three weeks ago you were injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by someone else. Because you were in such pain after the accident, you were taken by ambulance to the local emergency room. Once there, an ER physician examined you and ordered several diagnostic tests. Two days later you were discharged with a referral to an orthopedic surgeon and several prescription medications.
Earlier today you walked to the mailbox and found four envelopes. You opened them to find four separate bills: one from the ambulance service that took you to the hospital, one from the hospital, one from the ER doctor’s practice, and another from the radiologist who reviewed your MRI. You’re hurt and in pain, and now you owe thousands of dollars to medical providers. You don’t now how to handle these medical bills. And you are scheduled to follow up with an orthopedic doctor later this week, with lumbar fusion surgery being discussed. After the surgery you’ll need physical therapy, more medication, and maybe even in-home medical care.
Receiving medical bills after a car accident can be overwhelming.
This article will answer the following:
- Who will pay my medical bills after the car wreck?
- When do the bills get paid?
- What do I need to do to make sure the bills get paid?
- And much more
Keep reading to learn more. Then contact car accident lawyer Corey Pollard for a free consultation. We help motor vehicle accident victims in Richmond and throughout Virginia recover compensation for their damages.
Options for How to Handle Your Medical Bills after an Auto Accident in Virginia
Option 1: Workers’ Compensation – Were You Injured in a Work-Related Car Accident?
If you were injured in a car accident “arising out of and in the scope of your employment,” then you may be able to get your medical bills paid through Virginia workers’ compensation. Specifically, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier may have to pay medical bills related to the auto accident.
Your employer must purchase and provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage if it has three or more employees. If your car accident happens at a work site or while you are driving to or from a work site or other location for the benefit of your employer, then your workplace injury is compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act. If you are in a crash while driving from home to work or from work to home, then workers’ comp may not apply.
Some doctors and health care providers would rather not bill workers’ compensation insurance for your car accident injuries because they know that work injury claims often involve litigation. And while your workers’ comp claim is being litigated, your treatment may have to be put on hold so that everyone can determine who is responsible for the payment of medical expenses.
While this is a downside to workers’ compensation, you should still pursue your legal right to workers’ compensation benefits if you are hurt in a car accident arising out of your employment. In fact, your private health insurance carrier may refuse to pay for treatment or ask you for reimbursement if you fail to do so because many medical insurance policies state that the health insurance carrier is not responsible for treatment related to an on-the job injury. Further, your doctor may get paid at a higher rate under workers’ comp.
Option 2: Your Own Auto Insurance – Medical Payments Coverage (“Med Pay”) and Car Accidents in Virginia
What if your car accident is not work-related? Who will pay your medical bills?
The next possible source of payment is your auto insurance company.
Take out a copy of your automobile insurance policy and find the “Declarations of Coverage” section. This section provides an overview of the insurance carried on your vehicle.
Check to see if you have “Medical Payments Coverage” or “Medical Expenses Coverage” under your policy. This coverage pays medical, hospital, dental, surgical, x-ray, ambulance, prosthetic, professional nursing, rehabilitation, and funeral expenses for you and your passengers injured in a motor vehicle accident.
The good thing about Medical Payments Coverage is that the insurance company will pay your medical providers regardless of who is at fault for the car accident. Your insurance company will pay medical providers up to the limits of your coverage. The Med Pay carrier may claim a right of reimbursement against your personal injury recovery.
Option 3: Private Health Insurance Coverage and Medical Bills from Your Car Accident
If you have private health insurance coverage, either through your employer, a spouse, or the exchange, ask all of your health care providers to bill your private health insurer. Your private health insurer cannot reject claims for medical expenses because you were injured in a car wreck.
Some hospitals and medical providers will hold medical bills and not submit them to your health insurance if they know you are involved in personal injury litigation. Why? Because most medical providers and hospitals agree to a reduced rate for their bills if paid by health insurance. They would rather try to get full price from your personal injury recovery.
As your attorney, we’ll make sure that your medical providers bill the health insurer. It is wrong for them to place a hold on your bills.
Further, having your private health insurance pay your medical bills can help avoid the car accident having a negative impact on your credit. And doctors are more likely to continue treating patients when the doctor’s bills are getting paid.
If your health insurance carrier pays for bills incurred because of your car accident, then it has a lien on your personal injury recovery. We’ll negotiate with the private health insurer to get as much money as possible in your pocket for injuries suffered in the car wreck.
Option 4: Arrange a Payment Plan with the Hospital or Health Care Provider if They Won’t Put them on Hold
Many car accident cases take 18 to 36 months to resolve. Hospitals and medical providers do not want to wait that long to get paid. Even if you do not have workers’ compensation or insurance coverage to pay your medical bills from the car accident, you should still not ignore the bills you receive from the hospital and other health care providers. If you do, those bills may be sent to a debt collection agency.
We recommend speaking to your health care providers and asking if you can wait until your case settles to pay the bills. Many times the provider will say yes. Ask them to put this in writing.
If the health care provider will not wait until your case resolves, ask about entering into a payment plan. Some health care providers will allow you to make monthly payments to avoid having the bill sent to a debt collection service.
It’s important to note that if your car accident is work related and you file a workers’ compensation claim, the medical provider cannot begin debt collection activities until your workers’ compensation claim is resolved – either informally or at a workers’ comp hearing.
Are there Any Other Options? Will the At Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Pay My Medical Bills?
The other driver’s insurance company will rarely pay your medical bills as they are incurred. In fact, we do not even recommend mailing the bills to the other insurance company as they are received.
After you have finished treating and have received all your medical bills, your attorney will send a demand package to the other insurance company. If you negotiate a resolution with the other insurance carrier, then the carrier will send you one check. You will have to pay all outstanding medical bills and liens from this check, though an experienced car accident attorney may be able to negotiate some of these liens.
A Personal Injury Lawyer to Help You Handle Medical Bills After a Car Accident in Virginia
The main reason to hire an attorney is to get help throughout the personal injury claim process. An important part of providing high-quality legal representation is ensuring that your medical bills are paid after a car accident. We’ll work with you to make sure that everything is under control. We will handle the processing and resolution of medical bills after a motor vehicle accident so that are aware of your rights and obligations.
Corey Pollard has helped hundreds of victims obtain full compensation and benefits for their injuries. Getting the money and medical care you deserve can be frustrating and confusing. But we can help. Call us today for a free consultation: 804-251-1620 or 757-810-5614.