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Who is Responsible for Paying My Car Accident Medical Bills?

car accident medical bills

Auto accidents damage more than just your vehicle.

Many people who are involved in a collision end up needing intensive medical treatment for injuries sustained during the incident.

But who is responsible for paying your medical bills after a car accident?

This often becomes a complicated question, but a St. Louis car accident attorney can help you navigate the complex path and recover compensation for your car accident injuries.

Who Pays My Accident Medical Bills?

There are a few different parties who may be responsible for paying for all or part of your car accident injuries:

  • The other driver’s car insurance
  • Your health insurance
  • Your Med Pay coverage
  • The other driver (out of pocket)

Which party ends up paying your medical bills depends on who was at fault for the car accident that caused injuries.

At-Fault and Comparative Negligence in Missouri

Being an at-fault state, Missouri mandates that the party who was responsible for the wreck pay damages for the car accident claim.

This often includes:

  • Economic Damages like car repairs, medical bills paid, and lost wages
  • Non-Economic Damages like reduced quality of life, emotional distress, and pain and suffering

Keep in mind, however, that while the at-fault driver is responsible to pay damages, they may not be responsible for 100% of the damages.

Missouri uses a comparative negligence system to determine exactly how much fault lies on both parties involved in the car accident case. If one party is determined to be 60% at fault, for example, they will only be required to pay 60% of the settlement award.

Missouri Car Insurance Requirements

Missouri drivers are required to carry both liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage. This mandate aims to protect drivers from being stuck with the heavy burden of paying for damages that they were not at fault for.

Drivers must carry liability insurance coverage with a minimum limit of:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury per car accident
  • $25,000 in property damage per car accident

Drivers must also carry uninsured motorist insurance coverage with a minimum limit of:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury per car accident

The liability insurance of the at-fault driver pays both economic and non-economic damages incurred by the other driver in the car accident – up to the policy’s limit.

The uninsured motorist coverage of the party that was not at fault will pay their medical bills if the at-fault party doesn’t have auto insurance. The insurance company will likely then pursue legal action to recover the loss from the at-fault party.

Which Insurance Company is Primary in a Car Accident Case?         

Between all of the insurance companies of both drivers – both car insurance and health insurance – who is responsible for paying medical bills? How much are they required to pay?

When Does the Other Driver’s Auto Insurance Cover My Medical Expenses?

The party initially responsible for paying damages is the auto insurance company of the at-fault driver. Once insurance claims are made, they’ll try everything they can to reduce the fault percentage of their covered driver, but they could end up paying up to the amount of the driver’s liability and bodily injury coverage limit.

Since the process for determining fault takes a while – and you likely needed medical treatment immediately following the car accident – medical bills often need to be paid before a settlement is reached. This is where your own insurance policies kick in.

Does Health Insurance Cover Car Accident Injuries?

If you’re in an accident, you should seek medical treatment right away and provide the treating facility with your health insurance information.

Your health insurance will cover your medical bills according to your policy for:

  • Interim medical payments until a settlement is reached (they may be able to demand repayment once the claim is settled)
  • Medical payments for car accidents that you were at fault for

Keep in mind your health insurer will likely only pay for medical expenses beyond what your car insurance’s Medical Payments (Med Pay) policy will cover.

When Does Med Pay Coverage Cover My Medical Bills?

Med Pay is coverage that is purchased additionally on your car insurance policy, and it helps cover your medical bills after an auto accident.

Med Pay can help you pay for the following:

  • Health insurance copays, deductibles, and coinsurance costs
  • Medical bills for both you and your passengers
  • Medical bills for you if you were a passenger, pedestrian, or cyclist in the incident
  • Funeral expenses for the policyholder or any passengers

Medical Payment insurance does not consider fault and pays you directly for any medical expenses incurred up to the policy limits. Policy limits for Med Pay range but often fall between $1,000 and $10,000.

Med Pay is also not permitted to require repayment once a personal injury settlement is reached for your car accident claim.

Is Med Pay required in Missouri?

Med Pay insurance coverage is not mandatory in Missouri, but it’s a useful coverage addition that benefits you if you’re at fault for the car accident or are involved in a lengthy settlement process and need money now.

What if the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured or Underinsured?

What if the car accident wasn’t your fault and the other driver is either uninsured or doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to pay for all of your medical expenses?

In these situations, the process for paying your medical bills will likely follow this model:

If you still have out-of-pocket expenses to pay after all of your policy limits are reached, a Personal Injury Lawyer in St. Louis can help you file a civil lawsuit against the uninsured or underinsured driver for fair compensation.

Do Medical Providers Ever Postpone Payment Collection?

When you’re in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, there are some instances where you may not have to pay any medical expenses until a settlement is reached.

In these instances, the health care providers or the medical insurance company agree to postpone collection efforts. They’ll put a lien on your claim so that they can ensure payment once a settlement is awarded.

Missouri’s Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims

A statute of limitations is a deadline for when you can file a personal injury claim to pay for car accident damages, including medical bills. This applies to both car accident claims made to the car insurance company and civil claims made against the at-fault driver.

How long after an accident can you sue in Missouri?

While you should report the car accident to the at-fault driver’s insurance company right away, you have a bit more time to file a civil lawsuit if needed. In the state of Missouri, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed up to five years after the injury is incurred or discovered.

Contact an Experienced St. Louis Car Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you need the expertise that legal representation can offer in personal injury cases. To ensure you get all the compensation you’re entitled to in your car accident lawsuit, make sure you get help from an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney. A car accident lawyer at Jett Accident & Injury Lawyers helps car accident victims get compensated, and they can help you get started with a free consultation today.