For anyone who has been injured in a car accident in Marietta, Atlanta, or elsewhere in Georgia, one of the first questions that runs through their mind is who will take care of their medical bills. Unfortunately, you are responsible for making sure your medical bills are paid as they become due, even if the other driver was at fault.
Your Medical Expenses after a Car Crash
Of course, your total medical expenses will be part of the claim against the at-fault driver, and you will request compensation for those expenses as part of a settlement demand. However, the other driver and his insurance company are not going to pay your medical bills as they come in, and you are legally responsible for paying them while your accident claim is pending. So does this mean you have to pay all of your bills out of your own pocket while your claim is pending? Hopefully not.
What About Your Health Insurance?
If you have health insurance, it should be billed for any medical expenses. Another potential source of payment for your medical bills is the medical payments coverage on your own auto policy or on the policy for the car you were in at the time of the accident. Medical payments coverage, or “med pay” for short, is basically health insurance for car accidents. It can be used to pay medical bills regardless of who is at fault, and it can even be used if you were not in a car at the time of the accident (for example, if you were a pedestrian, on a bicycle, etc.).
If you are unable to pay your bills—either because you do not have health insurance or medical payments coverage, or if you do have insurance but you just can’t afford the co-pays and deductibles—then some providers will treat you on a lien, which is essentially where you promise that you will pay the provider for the medical bills owed when you receive compensation from your accident case.
Should I Submit My Medical Bills to Health Insurance After a Georgia Car Accident?
A common question we get from people who have been injured in a Georgia car accident is whether they should submit their medical bills to health insurance. The answer to this question is almost always yes. Submitting your medical bills to health insurance will reduce your out-of-pocket expenses, but it does not reduce the amount of medical bills that the at-fault driver is responsible for. Under Georgia law, somebody who negligently injures you is responsible for paying the full amount of your medical bills, regardless of whether they have been paid in whole or in part by your health insurance. Depending on the type of health plan you have, you may be responsible for reimbursing your health plan for what it has paid once you receive a settlement. However, even if you have a health plan that must be paid back, you will still come out better as the amount your health insurance pays will almost always be less than the full amount of the bills.
You should also check to see if you have medical payments coverage (“med pay”) under your own car insurance policy or the policy for the vehicle you are in. Med pay is basically health insurance for you if you are in a car accident and can be used to pay your medical bills regardless of who is at fault. Similar to health insurance, using med pay does not reduce the amount of medical bills that the negligent driver is responsible for paying. Sometimes med pay can be used to pay your co-pays and deductibles after your health insurance has paid its portion. Whether med pay should be used in lieu of, or in combination with, health insurance requires an analysis of the specific facts in your case.
Our Marietta personal injury lawyers have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured in a variety of motor vehicle accidents. If you have questions about your case, you can call us for a free consultation at 404-596-8044.