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Who is Responsible for Hospital Bills after an Accident?

Posted in Blog on March 9, 2015

It is a given that hospitals and medical providers are going to require payment for services rendered when an accident victim comes into their facility, and the general rule of thumb is that it is the patient who is responsible for paying the medical bills. This may seem unfair if the patient was injured at no fault of his or her own in the automobile accident.

Regardless, the medical bills must be paid, and things can become complicated when it comes to payment, especially if the accident victim cannot return either temporarily or permanently to his or her regular source of earning income.

Don’t Rely on Auto Insurance

There is a general assumption that the responsible party’s auto insurance will cover all bills after an auto accident, but insurance cannot be completely relied upon. Even if responsibility is determined without incident and the victim is entitled to receive an insurance settlement, auto insurance generally has an upper limit that caps off the coverage, such as $100,000 for medical bills related to the auto accident.

Any amount that goes over the maximum is referred to the victim’s health insurance or billed directly to the accident victim, returning the responsibility for the medical care to the person who, seemingly, should not have to pay the medical bills. While the caregivers are sympathetic to an accident victim’s situation, they still require payment for the medical services rendered.

Insurance Companies Care About Their Bottom Line

It is possible that the insurance company can negotiate with the hospital and providers in order to reduce the total amounts that are owed, effectively keeping medical expenses under the maximum cap. In some cases, however, the insurer, too, is more interested in its own bottom line, and may only pay what it deems it is obligated to pay, not the entire balance, negotiated or otherwise.

For example, if there are injuries that require rehabilitation, the responsible party’s insurance company may deem this medical care as unnecessary and refuse to pay the relating bill. This is where it becomes necessary to consult with an attorney to protect the victim’s rights, and while retaining legal help may seem like an extreme reaction to the situation, it has the potential to be beneficial for the victim because its sole purpose is to protect the victim of the auto accident.

An attorney can determine the best course of action to ensure that all medical bills relating to the accident injury are covered in full along with potential coverage for lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other damages the injured party incurred as a result of the incident.

If an accident victim is being pressured into signing a settlement agreement with the responsible party’s auto insurance carrier, he or she should seek legal assistance to ensure that the agreement fully covers all damages relating to the auto accident.

If the settlement agreement is lacking, the attorney can review the case in its entirety and suggest an alternate course of action designed to ensure that the victim is made whole after his or her auto accident. This extra step ensures that the entity responsible for paying the medical bills is required to pay them, as responsibility is often muddled after auto accidents. If you have questions about medical bill expenses following an injury you can learn more at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.

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