Paying Medical Bills In A Car Accident In California: Everything You Need To Know
Home » Paying Medical Bills in a Car Accident in California: Everything You Need to Know
Care for injuries suffered in a California car accident could be extremely expensive. The potential expense should not deter you from seeking the medical treatment you need. You deserve to receive medical treatment until you fully recover from your accident without worrying about the payment of your doctors bills.
Car accident injuries do not always appear immediately after an accident. The adrenaline rush you experienced in your car accident could mask some injuries, and you may not experience pain until later that day or even a few days later. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident so that you can start the healing process right away.
You may wonder, Who pays medical bills in a car accident in California?
Seeking the advice of an experienced California car accident lawyer could help clarify your rights and responsibilities following a severe car accident that left you or a loved one injured.
Please give us a call at or send us a message today for a free consultation.
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Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit Against The At
You could sue the at-fault driver personally or negotiate with that person to pay the medical bills not covered by insurance. However, the person driving a vehicle without insurance is likely to have little money or assets that would allow you to collect on a judgment. So you might have to look elsewhere to find compensation for your medical expenses.
The injured person could file a personal injury claim against other people who might have contributed to the accident, such as another driver, business owner, or municipality. As an accident victim, you remain responsible for proving the negligence of the other parties and proving their negligence contributed to your injuries.
How Are Medical Bills Paid
Until 2003, Colorado was a no fault state. Now, the state operates as a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that if you suffer injury in a car accident, the party responsible for the accident is also responsible for paying the damages. However, if you are partly to blame for the accident, then you will be responsible for that portion of the crash damages. For example, if a jury determines that you were 10% responsible for the accident and there was $10,000 in damages, then you would be awarded $9,000.
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What Is Personal Injury Protection Coverage In Texas
PIP coverage is a type of auto insurance coverage in the event of an auto accident that results in personal injury. It is a no fault type of coverage, meaning that it does not matter who caused the accident in order for you to receive compensation. As such, even if you caused the accident, you can still be eligible to receive PIP coverage. In general, PIP pays for the following:
- Medical bills
- Funeral bills resulting from a fatal injury
- 80 percent of lost wages as a result of being unable to work due to your injury and
- Cost of hiring a caregiver for the injury victim.
PIP covers the driver, the drivers family members, any passengers in the drivers car, and other injured people. In Texas, auto insurance companies automatically provide PIP coverage, but the insured has the option to decline the coverage in writing. Texas auto insurers must offer $2,500 in PIP coverage to insured drivers, but drivers can waive this coverage . Also, drivers have the option to pay for additional PIP coverage if they desire to do so.
How Does The New Michigan No
Every vehicle owner in Michigan is required to carry No-Fault insurance. Typically, if a driver is injured in a motor vehicle accident, their Personal Injury Protection benefits cover medical and related expenses according to the PIP medical coverage limits they have selected.
However, according to the Michigan Vehicle Code, motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles. Therefore, motorcyclists are not entitled to the same benefits as automobile drivers. An injured motorcyclist is entitled to No-Fault benefits ONLY when another vehicle was involved in the accident.
In that instance, the following order of priority is used to determine who is responsible for paying the No-Fault benefits of an injured motorcyclist:
1st – the No-Fault policy of the owner of the motor vehicle involved in the accident
2nd – the No-Fault policy of the driver of the motor vehicle operator involved in the accident
3rd – the No-Fault auto policy of the motorcycle operator
4th – the No-Fault auto policy of the motorcycle owner
5th – Michigan Assigned Claims Plan , which caps allowable medical expenses at $250,000
Other PIP benefits, which did not change under the new law, cover up to 85% of lost wages and $20/day for replacement services for up to three years.
If the other driver does not have sufficient PIP medical benefits to cover the motorcyclists injuries, the motorcyclists only recourse is to sue the driver for the excess expenses.
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Does Medicare Cover Medical Costs For Car Accident Injuries
Most seniors celebrate the day they turn 65 and qualify for Medicare coverage for their health insurance. However, Medicare doesnt cover every medical treatment and what happens if you are injured in a car accident? How will those medical bills be paid?
Auto insurance coverage
First, for those injured in a car accident, your auto insurance will cover medical bills to treat those injuries. Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state so part of your auto insurance premiums covers your medical treatments for car accident injuries. If you have given up your license and was driving with your spouse who is insured, check with your auto insurance policy to see what coverage you are eligible to receive.
Medicare will act as a secondary insurer if you have auto insurance coverage. So, if you broke a leg and hip in the accident, your auto insurance company will cover those costs up to a certain limit. Then, Medicare coverage kicks in.
If you end up receiving an injury settlement because of the accident, you will need to reimburse Medicare for any costs it covered. Also, you want to make sure the documentation was correct for treating your injuries.
Giving Too Much Information To The Insurance Companies
Your motorcycle insurance policy likely requires you to notify your insurer of any accidents and cooperate with their investigation. You should follow the directions as required by your policy, but you should not give any additional details or statements. In fact, its best to have your attorney handle all communications with any third parties, including insurers, on your behalf.
This is because insurance companies are focused on one thing reducing their liability. Theyll be searching for a reason to reduce or deny your claim, and you may accidentally say something that they can use against you.
You also shouldnt sign anything from an insurer until youve talked to your attorney. The documents you sign often have big legal consequences. For example, a medical release form may give your insurer access to your entire medical history, and they may use previous injuries or conditions as an excuse to reduce or deny your claim. Settlement offers also permanently bar you from pursuing additional compensation even if you find out later that the settlement amount is inadequate.
Note that you do not have any obligation to talk to anyone elses insurance company. If a third partys insurer contacts you, you should decline to talk to them. Instead, just take down their contact details and give them to your attorney.
Misconception: Comprehensive And Collision Coverage Are Interchangeable
Two of the more commonly used terms throughout the insurance industry are comprehensive and collision.
Collision: Provides protection for the physical damage to your bike when it hits or is hit by another vehicle or object.
Comprehensive: Provides protection for damage not caused by collision, and usually covers things such as theft, fire, vandalism, weather damage, or hitting an animal. It is also sometimes called “other than collision” or OTC.
While comprehensive and collision are both optional coverages, most lienholders do require themand for good reason. Comprehensive and collision coverages are designed to help get your bike fixed and back on the road as quickly as possible. If you are in an accident on a motorcycle, chances are, there will be some damage.
Keep in mind that comprehensive and collision coverages only cover damages done to your bike. If you cause damages to someone elses vehicle or property and are found legally liable, those damages would be covered under property damage liability coverage.
What If You Have Health Insurance
If you have health insurance, you will want them to pay for your medical bills after Med Pay and PIP benefits have been exhausted. Unfortunately, you will likely have to pay some out of pocket payments up your deductible or even co-pays that you will be responsible for . You have the right to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit whether or not you have health insurance. Typically, when an injured party requests damages for medical expenses, they request the amount that the doctors and hospitals charged, including the portion that the insurance paid. For example, if your insurance paid $20,000 for your treatment, you paid $4,000, and you still owe $16,000, you would request $40,000 for medical expenses. If you win your case, you will have to pay the portion you still owe to the doctors and hospitals you may also have to reimburse the insurance company for the amount it paid, especially if you got the health insurance policy through your employer or your spouses employer and that health insurance plan is a fully-funded ERISA plan that has reimbursement rights . Further, if you have Medicare or Medicaid, you will only have to reimburse them for part of the amount they paid. Sometimes health insurance companies negotiate with healthcare providers and write off part of the amount originally charged. Most of the time, you cannot claim the written off amounts because they disappeared into thin air no one paid them or is still being asked to pay them.
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More Medical Bill Math
If you collect from the “other guy”, there is no segregation of the funds to identify what goes to the medical bills and what goes to you. You get a single check. So here’s where the health insurer’s discount works in your favor. To make it easy, let’s say that your medical bill is $100. Your case is resolved for $200. If you have to directly pay the bill from your settlement or verdict, you will pay the entire $100. But if your health insurer pays the bill, it will pay less than the total due . This is known as a negotiated discount. So if the health insurer’s share is $80, it may pay only $60. When you repay , you only pay what the health insurer paid. In this example you would repay $60 instead of the full $80. The estra $20 stays in your bank account.
$35k Settlement For Motorcyclist Hit By Car In Jacksonville
A rider was on his motorcycle in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida. A driver of a car made a left hand turn in front of the rider. The rider flew off the motorcycle.
At the hospital, the motorcycle rider was diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear. However, the radiologist who read the MRI said that the tear wasnt acute. In other words, the radiologist said that the tear was there before the accident.
I claimed that the accident aggravated his rotator cuff tear. Progressive insured the car owner. State Farm insured the careless drivers employer. The total combined BIL insurance available was $35,000.
The motorcycle rider ultimately had shoulder surgery.
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A Few Important Notes About Insurance Scoring:
- Insurance scoring does not take into account things such as income, education, ethnicity, age, or genderit’s more of a measure of financial responsibility.
- Unlike credit checks when applying for a loan, insurance scoring is a “soft hit” inquiry on your credit and does NOT impact your credit score.
- While many insurance companies may have access to your insurance score, they do not actually see your credit score or your credit history.
Each insurance company may have different reasoning for why they do or do not use insurance scoring. Given all of the factors considered when developing an insurance score, it is a reliable predictor of a persons behavior, which allows for better alignment when setting insurance rates.
How Long Do I Have To Send The Bill To Medicare After A Car Accident
A hospital cannot bill Medicare if prompt payment is expected from a liability insurer.
Any billing to Medicare must happen with 12 months of the patient discharge from the hospital. If the patient has Medicare and the hospital does not bill Medicare within that 12-month window, then it can never come after the patient to pay the bill but it can still assert a Georgia Medical Lien against any potential injury settlement from the car accident.
The hospital cannot have it both ways and submit to Medicare and make a lien claim. The submission to Medicare invalidates the lien claim. See Medicare Secondary Payer Manual, Chapter 2 Sec 40.2 Provision E
If you dont have Medicare and are just fighting with the hospital on the amount of the lien, your sole attack is on the reasonableness of the cost of the medial care. OCGA 44-14-470 and 471. In a recent Georgia Supreme Court case, the Court allowed the Plaintiff to get discovery of how much the hospital got paid but certain health insurers and under other rate plans so that a jury could decide what is fair in the industry. Unfortunately for the actual victim, the Plaintiffs lawyer, in this case, should have taken the hospitals offer to settle for $8500 on a $21,000 bill. Its hard to beat that discount at trial. Bowden v. The Medical Center, Inc.
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Weather Or Road Conditions
Poor visibility and reduced traction in weather such as heavy rain, fog, strong wind, and snow can cause all kinds of accidents. But bad weather is even more dangerous for riders on two wheels. In these situations, it might seem like no one is at fault after all, no one can control the weather. But a driver may still be found at fault if they dont drive in a way thats appropriate for the conditions. Examples of negligent driving in poor weather may include:
- Driving at unsafe speeds for the conditions even if theyre under the speed limit
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Failing to use headlights when visibility is poor
- Driving a vehicle that isnt properly maintained
Other types of road hazards can also cause accidents. Motorcycles are especially vulnerable to road hazards due to their smaller size and less stable nature. If someone else was responsible for creating these hazards, it may be possible to seek compensation from them. Examples of road hazards include:
- Slick or uneven payment
- Other unexpected objections
How Long Do I Have To File A Claim After A Motorcycle Accident
Michigan has strict statutes of limitations for filing motorcycle accident claims and lawsuits. If you fail to meet the prescribed deadlines, you may forfeit the chance to receive the benefits you are entitled to.
If another vehicle is involved, an injured motorcyclist has one year from the date of the accident to file a claim for Personal Injury Protection benefits. This includes reimbursement for expenses such as medical bills, attendant care, mileage, lost wages and replacement services. Medical and related expenses are limited to the amount of PIP medical benefits selected by the policyholder. Lost wages and replacement services are covered for up to three years.
Moreover, victims have three years from the date of an accident to file a claim for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. This timeline also applies to lawsuits filed to recoup excess economic losses such as medical expenses that exceed the drivers Personal Injury Protection medical coverage limit. These third-party benefits, which can be substantial, are typically paid by the insurer of the driver that caused the accident. In Michigan, victims are entitled to these damages only if they were less than 50% at fault for the accident.
In a fatal motorcycle accident the deceaseds survivors may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In that case, the three-year deadline starts on the date of death.
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Common Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents happen for many of the same reasons other types of accidents happen. But there are also some factors that are unique to motorcycle crashes. Either way, you should never make assumptions about what caused your accident. It often takes a thorough investigation to determine all causes and this information is critical to getting the right amount of compensation from the right parties.
Below are a few common causes of motorcycle accidents. To understand what happened in your accident, you should get the help of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Your attorney, with the help of an accident reconstructionist if needed, will be able to investigate the accident and identify all possible causes.
Before You Change Your Auto Insurance Policy Consider This
Changing your auto insurance policy could potentially save you money. However, it could also be a costly change in the event of an auto accident. We recommend you weigh your options carefully before making the switch, and we’ve put together the following guidelines to help you decide what’s right for you.
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