A car accident can cause serious injuries that require hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs over a victim’s lifetime. Surgeries, treatments, physical therapies and medications can create a massive amount of medical debt for an injured victim. Knowing who is responsible for paying your medical bills after an accident could give you peace of mind during a difficult time as the victim of an accident. It could also prevent you from paying out of pocket for your own expenses, depending on the circumstances.
Texas Is a Fault-Based Insurance State
Most accident victims in Texas pay for their medical bills using a combination of insurance benefits and personal expenditures. If your injuries are minor and the at-fault party has insurance, you may not have to pay anything out of pocket. In Texas, the party at fault for an auto accident will be legally responsible for paying a victim’s damages, which include medical bills. Bringing an insurance claim against the at-fault driver could result in payment for your past and future treatments and medical expenses. If the other driver does not have enough insurance, however, you may need to seek additional benefits from other sources. This could include your own insurance company.
What Is Insurance Subrogation?
Insurance subrogation is common during an accident claim. It refers to your own insurance company covering your medical expenses in the beginning, even if you were not at fault for the accident, then seeking reimbursement from somebody else’s insurance provider later. If you file a claim with your own insurance company for an accident you did not cause, your insurer may use subrogation to pay for your medical bills right away. After paying your bills, your insurance company will seek reimbursement from a third-party provider on your behalf.
What Is a Medical Lien?
In the beginning, your medical expenses will be your responsibility. If you cannot afford to pay your bills while you wait for a settlement or judgment award, the hospital where you sought treatment may place a medical lien against you. A medical lien is a legal claim to your property or assets if you fail to repay a debt you owe. If you do not pay off your medical bills within a certain amount of time, a medical lien could lead to consequences such as wage garnishment. If you have a successful insurance claim or lawsuit against another party, your lawyer can pay off your medical lien with money obtained from the defendant. Then, what is left will go toward legal fees and your personal expenses.
What If You Were At Fault for the Accident?
If an investigation finds that you caused the accident, you may have to pay for your medical bills on your own. If you have health insurance, this can bring your health care expenses down. Another type of insurance that could help you pay off your medical bills is personal injury protection (PIP) insurance if you were injured in an auto accident. PIP and medical payment insurance can pay for your bills up to your policy’s maximum after a car accident you caused. If you have the responsibility of paying your medical bills, you may be able to arrange a personal payment plan with your hospital.
If you are not the only person at fault for the accident, however, someone else may owe you partial compensation for your losses. Texas is a comparative negligence state. This means if you and the defendant share fault for an accident, the courts will diminish your financial award according to your percentage of fault. If you were 20% to blame for the accident, for instance, the courts would take away 20% of your settlement or verdict award. You would still receive 80% reimbursement for your losses from the defendant.
If you have serious injuries after an accident in Texas, contact a lawyer for advice about who will pay for your medical bills.