If you’re involved in a crash in Illinois, you may wonder who is responsible for paying your medical bills. Medical expenses add up fast, and medical debt is one of the top reasons for bankruptcy in the United States.
After a crash, you need to be proactive in your medical treatment and you shouldn’t have to worry about struggling to afford the medical care you need.
It is essential to explore legal options to help pay your medical bills, and working with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands your challenges is critical. This article will discuss who is responsible for paying medical bills in an automobile accident.
Common Medical Bills Related to a Crash in Illinois
If you have insurance, it may cover a portion of your medical expenses; however, any part of your medical bills that the insurance company will not cover is ultimately your responsibility. If you were in an auto accident that was not your fault, it’s critical to prove the other driver was at fault to ensure that the party liable for the crash is ordered to compensate you and help pay for your medical expenses.
Some of the ordinary medical expenses that you may be entitled to compensation for include the following:
- Ambulance bills
- Emergency Room
- Private Physician Group bills
- Radiology bills
- Anesthesiology bills
- Prescription medications
- Mental health therapy
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Co-pays and hospital bills
- Medical equipment such as wheelchairs, beds, orthotics, prosthetics, and any other medical devices
- The cost of any necessary medical accommodations you need in your home, like oversized showers or wheelchair ramps
By no means is this an exhaustive list of medical charges one is entitled to seek compensation for in an injury case. Medical billing is a uniquely complex process that is difficult to understand. This is especially true if you are getting numerous bills in the mail while you are coping with a traumatic injury. This is why hiring an experienced injury lawyer is so important. They can take some of the fear and burden off your shoulders and allow you to focus on your recovery.
Who Should Pay Your Medical Bills?
Ultimately you are responsible for your medical bills. What commonly occurs after crashes is the medical providers send the medical bills to (a) your health insurance company, (b) you directly, or (c) the provider may assert a lien on your personal injury case and seek reimbursement upon the case’s settlement. The medical providers know and understand that the “at fault” insurer will not pay for the bills on an ongoing basis. Rather, they know that the “at fault” insurer will only reimburse you for the medical bills when the case settles. As a result, in order to prevent being sent to collections, the bills must be paid as soon as possible. This is why it’s in your best interest to hire an attorney with experience and knowledge of Illinois personal injury law to ensure your bills are handled properly before your credit score is impacted.
Medical bills should be paid for by either (1) your health insurance, (2) your own automobile insurance policy’s medical payments coverage, or (3) yourself out-of-pocket. The last option is obviously the least favorable and/or practical. In the alternative, the providers may choose to put a “lien” on your injury case and seek reimbursement upon the case’s settlement. Either way, these are all ways to prevent medical bills from being sent to collections while a case or claim is pending. Depending on your particular situation, your attorney can help navigate what is best for you and your family.
Also, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits if your accident is work-related. Your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance company will be responsible for covering any related medical expenses resulting from your injury. Hiring a personal injury attorney will help you navigate the ways to get your medical bills paid before your credit is impacted.
As a result, it’s best to communicate with your medical providers that you have pending civil and insurance claims to help avoid falling into default. You should give the medical providers the name and contact information for your lawyer. The medical providers can communicate directly with your lawyers to figure out the best way to get your medical bills paid initially. When your injury case is settled, one of the elements of damages you will be compensated for is reimbursement for medical bills paid.
Will Your Insurance Help Cover Medical Bills in Illinois?
Illinois is an “at fault” state for insurance and accident purposes, which means that you will need to file a claim with the liable party’s insurance provider. Most people will hold insurance coverage, as required by law, to help cover financial damages such as medical expenses and property damage.
However, the liable party’s insurance will only pay the amount the responsible party purchases in bodily injury liability coverage. For example, if your medical expenses are $200,000, but the available coverage is only $50,000, you would only be compensated $50,000. As a result, it’s important to process all your medical bills through health insurance in these types of situations.
In addition, you may have purchased coverage with your own automobile carrier called “Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage”. If you are hit by someone that has no insurance or inadequate insurance, your own automobile coverage can help bridge that gap and reimburse you for medical bills incurred. However, they are only liable to pay up to the insurance policy limits you purchased. Everyone should talk to their insurance agent to ensure they have sufficient Uninsured or Underinsured coverage to protect them in case tragedy strikes.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit to Receive Compensation for Medical Bills in Illinois
Drivers in Illinois are only required to carry the following insurance minimums:
- Bodily injury liability coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability coverage of $20,000
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
However, the person’s medical bills can easily exceed these limits after going to the emergency room, following up with doctors, and going through physical therapy. As a result, these “minimum” limits are not nearly enough to make an injury victim whole.
It’s the lawyer’s job to maximize your recovery and investigate all avenues to obtain additional insurance. One common example is determining whether the “at fault” driver was working at the time of the crash. If the driver was working, then his employer may have a commercial automobile policy with significantly higher limits that would apply. However, this might only be discovered after filing a lawsuit. As a result, you may need to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you file a lawsuit. Contact a personal injury attorney immediately after the accident.
Ensure that you keep accurate records, copies of your medical bills, reports, photos of your injuries, and document how your injuries impact your daily life. It’s also crucial to consider your future and how your injuries may impact you long-term. This information can assist a skilled personal injury lawyer in maximizing your recovery to ensure you will receive full compensation for your past and future medical bills.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney You Can Trust
If you or someone you love has been in an accident, it can be overwhelming physically, emotionally, and financially to try and keep up with everything you have on your plate.
Our team at Pullano & Siporin has been fighting to ensure our clients receive timely justice and full compensation for over 50 combined years. We work tirelessly to protect your rights and understand how your injury has impacted your life and the lives of your family members.
Contact us today to discuss your case and meet our skilled team of attorneys.