If you’ve been involved in a personal injury accident, and it is someone else’s fault, you may not be responsible for your medical bills. Instead, the individual(s) who caused the accident may be responsible.
Getting Your Medical Bills Paid
While those responsible for the accident (also called the at fault party) may also be on the hook for your medical bills, his or her insurance company will not pay your medical bills right away.
Instead, the insurance company typically makes a one-time payment at the end of the case. In the meantime, as you receive treatment, you should continue paying medical bills using your own health and car insurance. (If you are on Medicaid or Medicare, submit your claims as you normally would.) When the case is complete, either through settlement or verdict, your insurance company/companies are repaid using settlement funds.
If you don’t have insurance, things get tricky. Usually, you can set up a payment plan with your healthcare provider. Sometimes, a facility will hold balances until the end of a case, provided you submit a letter of protection from your attorney.
Often, the insurance company of the at-fault party will ask you to send them your medical bills. This is not because they are going to pay your bills. Instead, they just want to keep track of ongoing costs.
Payment by Accident Type
In Wisconsin, the driver primarily responsible for a car accident is also responsible for medical bills and property damage costs. This means you have to prove another person’s negligence caused the accident. Common types of negligence include:
- Distracted or inattentive driving
- Reckless driving
- Drunk Driving
- Mechanical defects or malfunctions
If the court finds you more than 50% responsible for the accident, you are responsible for your medical bills. (You can learn more about car accident injury claims here.)
Premises Accidents (Like Slip & Fall)
If you’ve been injured on another person’s property, such as an injury caused by a slip and fall accident, the property owner may be responsible for your medical bills.
Like car accidents, you must prove your injury was primarily caused by someone else’s negligence. This means you have to prove:
- The property owner or occupant caused a dangerous condition on their property
- The owner or occupant knew about a dangerous condition and didn’t address it
- The owner or occupant should have known about a dangerous condition because it should have been discovered as part of routine maintenance
If the court finds you more than 50% responsible for your injury, you must pay your medical bills.
Accidents At Work
If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, worker’s compensation should cover medical bills and lost wages. Unlike other types of personal injuries, with worker’s compensation, your damages are paid as they are incurred.
Work injures caused by the negligence of a third-party may be handled by the third-party’s insurance. (Learn more about third-party liability claims here.)
What About Future Medical Treatment?
It’s important to wait until you’ve reached a “healing plateau” to settle your injury claim. Waiting until you’re 100% better ensures you won’t incur any large medical bills after your case is resolved. It also stops you from settling too early, which would prevent you from receiving the compensation you deserve.
If you’re expected to need future medical care, get an estimate from your doctor about the treatment, costs, etc. This will help provide an accurate projection of future medical costs as part of your personal injury settlement or trial case.
Working with Habush Habush & Rottier
If you’re wondering about paying medical bills after a car accident, or other personal injury accident, the personal injury attorneys at Habush, Habush & Rottier can help. We help you keep track of your medical bills and monitor costs. We make sure your medical bills are submitted to the proper insurance carriers so you don’t have to worry about unpaid expenses while recovering. Once you are feeling better, or know what your future care looks like, we fight to get you the compensation you deserve, whether through a settlement or trial. Our free consultations with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you identify potential mistakes as you move forward with your claim, even if you decide not to hire us. If you’ve been involved in a personal injury accident, and are wondering about paying your medical bills, contact us today. We can help.
Attorney Theresa B. Laughlin
Theresa Laughlin joined the firm in 2008 after working as an advocate for injured people since completing law school. Her practice focuses on claims involving motor vehicle accidents, dog bites, falls, medical malpractice, and other personal injuries. Theresa’s representation of plaintiffs in trial courts across Wisconsin earned her certification as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. She is one of only eight women in Wisconsin who currently carry this distinction
Theresa graduated with her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992 and in 1995 she received her J.D. A native of Wausau, Theresa is an avid, albeit beginning, downhill skier who will often visit Granite Peak for a couple runs over her lunch break. She enjoys gardening, reading, theater, horseback riding, travel, and the many recreational opportunities available on the lakes of Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Most of all, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, and three horses.