I'm Louisiana injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois. Here to answer a frequently asked question that we get here in our office.
"Who pays the medical bills after you've been injured in an auto accident?"
Often times, this is the most pressing question we get from clients. They're facing medical treatment and bills. They don't know exactly how to get them paid for. They don't want to have collections calling them. They don't really know what to do.
Should I use my health insurance for my Louisiana car accident case?
If you’ve been in a car accident in Louisiana, you’ve probably been asked by your health care providers whether you want to use your health insurance for your bills. (Or perhaps a health care provider has refused to take your health insurance “because your treatment was due to an accident.”) If you are lucky enough to have health insurance through your employer or through your spouse, you should absolutely use your health insurance to pay for your medical treatment and medical bills.
But in the short term, it is best to get the treatment that you need for your injuries through your medical insurance provider. Now you may ask, "Why? I thought the other party was responsible for paying for my medical bills." And, you would be right.
Why does my health insurance have to get involved if the accident was someone else’s fault?
The other party or insurance company will not pay for your medical bills as you incur them. They will basically wait until the case is fully resolved. Whether that be through a settlement or a judgment, to pay all the medical bills at one time, in one lump sum along with paying you for any pain and suffering.
So, you may have to go years without any recovery from the other responsible party. During that time you're going to need treatment. So you should use your own insurance company to pay for your medical treatment and bills. That will include Medicare or Medicaid if you have that as well.
When does the auto insurance come into play?
some people do purchase medical payments or med pay coverage through their own auto insurance, and if you do have that you can submit your bills through them to be reimbursed. Again, it probably won't be on an as you incur them basis right away, but you'll be able to get it reimbursed sooner. But they too may have a claim against any future recovery you may get as a result of your injury.
Once you’ve fully recovered (or if you’re approaching the statute of limitations on your case), you will pursue your personal injury action. However, this can be far down the road (Louisiana has a 1-year statute of limitations/prescriptive period for most auto claims and 2 years for your UM coverage).
Therefore, early in your case, you should focus on physically recovering and making sure that your bills are being submitted to your health insurance. Once you’ve got a sufficiently solid idea of what your injuries are, you can then pursue money from the defendant’s insurance company.
What if the defendant doesn’t have enough insurance to cover my claim?
If you’re lucky enough to have been following Loyd J. Bourgeois, LLC prior to your accident, you know we stress the importance of Under-Insured Motorist Coverage (UIM). If a defendant doesn’t have enough insurance, you can make a claim against your own policy. If you’ve bought enough to cover your claim, then you don’t have to worry.
My health insurer sent me a letter about my Louisiana accident case. Why do they care?
As we said above, you should have your health insurer pay your medical bills. However, in many instances, they have a right to be reimbursed for what they paid on your behalf IF you get money from the accident case.
Keep in mind, however:
- The health insurer only gets paid what it pays out (generally health insurers get discounts for medical bills [so a $100 bill might only require $40 from a health insurer],
- The health insurer helped you keep your finances stable for you to have time to pursue your auto case, and
- You may be able to negotiate with your health insurer on the amount claimed and paid back to them. What’s more, not all health insurers will ask for reimbursement in all auto cases.
But, I hope this answers your question about who pays for your medical bills after your auto accident. I'm Louisiana personal injury attorney Loyd Bourgeois. I trust you found this answer helpful.
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If you're looking for help, do not hesitate to give us a call at 985-240-9773. Our team is here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve after an injury.