Who Is Responsible for Paying My Car Accident Medical Bills?
Car accidents can be incredibly traumatic experiences, and the aftermath can leave you with not only physical injuries but also significant medical bills. If you’ve been involved in a car accident and are wondering who will pay your medical bills, you’re not alone.
At Jett Accident & Injury Lawyers, we understand that medical bills can add up quickly, and dealing with insurance companies can be a daunting task. That’s why we’re here to help you navigate the legal process and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and medical expenses.
Our team of St. Louis car accident lawyers can help you navigate the complex path and recover compensation for your car accident injuries. Call us today to schedule a free case review.
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.
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, and lost wages
- Non-Economic Damages like the reduced quality of life, emotional distress, and pain and suffering
Keep in mind, however, that while the at-fault driver is responsible for paying 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. For example, if the defendant is determined to be 60% at fault, they will only be required to pay 60% of the settlement award. In other words, since you were 40% at fault for the accident, your total settlement amount will be reduced by 40%.
Missouri Car Insurance Requirements
Missouri car insurance laws required drivers 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 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 medical center 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 costs 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 auto 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:
- Payment from your Med Pay policy
- Coverage from your health insurance policy after Med Pay and Uninsured Motorist is exhausted
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 health insurance company agree to postpone collection efforts. They’ll put a lien on your claim to ensure payment once a settlement is awarded.
Missouri’s Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims
A statute of limitations is a deadline for filing 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 experience and resources that legal representation can offer in personal injury cases. To ensure you get all the compensation you’re entitled to after your car crash, get help from an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney.
A car accident lawyer at Jett Accident & Injury Lawyers helps car accident victims navigate the legal system to get the compensation they deserve.
In addition to car wrecks can assist you with the following vehicle-related accidents:
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Uber & Lyft accidents
- Bus accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.