Millions of car accidents occur in the US each year. The majority of these are minor incidents with little to no injuries reported. Unfortunately, thousands of serious car crashes happen annually, leading to tens of thousands of deaths. Those who are lucky to survive are often left with severe injuries that may lead to permanent disability or require years for treatment for a full recovery.
Serious car accidents are characterized by soaring medical bills for the victims that live through them. Medical expenses are one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy in America. So it’s vital that you work with your car accident lawyer to explore all payment options at your disposal if you are going to stay on top of your medical costs. Here’s a look at alternatives you should explore.
Did the accident take place in the course of discharging your duties as an employee? Perhaps you were driving to a client meeting or were taking a customer on a tour of a project they were interested in. Workers’ compensation is the first insurance policy you should invoke if applicable before exploring any other insurance.
As a proportion of motor vehicle accidents, only a tiny minority would fall under the ambit of workers’ compensation. Nevertheless, it’s important that you make sure before taking a look at other means of payment.
Personal Injury Protection
With most car accidents, personal injury protection (PIP) is the first insurance cover that will take care of medical expenses. The PIP would take care of the cost of transporting the victim to the hospital, pain medication, and more. Most states require that motorists have basic PIP coverage.
The auto insurer that will pay depends on whether ‘no-fault’ rules apply in the state the accident occurs. In ‘no-fault’ states, each party’s own insurer pays their medical bills irrespective of who was at fault. For ‘fault’ states, the at-fault driver is responsible for part or all of the accident victims’ treatment expenses.
Medicaid and Medicare
Once the PIP policy is exhausted, the victim’s health insurance is next. Unlike Medicare that takes care of citizens 65 years and older, Medicaid is for individuals who need but cannot afford low-cost medical care.
Medicaid and Medicare don’t take care of injury costs before the PIP has run out. You must provide a notification of PIP exhaustion to Medicaid and Medicare before notifying your health services provider to bill Medicaid and Medicare instead of your PIP insurer.
Private Health Insurance
Like Medicaid and Medicare, private health insurance comes into play once the PIP is out. You, however, have to make it clear when submitting your claim that the medical expenses related to a car accident.
Note that your private health insurance may want their money reimbursed if there’s a personal injury settlement due to a third party being found at fault. Even then, having private health insurance gives you much-needed peace of mind. At the minimum, it helps you avoid the headache of constantly checking into the health provider’s collections department while you are still grappling with injuries and waiting for a settlement.
It goes without saying that out-of-pocket expenditure should be your absolute last resort in paying for car accident injury bills. It would mean eating into your hard-earned savings and, therefore, jeopardizing your long-term financial goals.
That being said, not everyone will be fortunate enough to have all insurance plans available to them to take care of all the injury costs they incur. On the bright side, the out-of-pocket expenses don’t necessarily have to be a completely lost cause, especially if you obtain a personal injury settlement thereafter.
The aftermath of a serious accident is traumatizing—from learning to use a wheelchair to battling emotional turmoil. Your mind should be focused on getting better. The last thing you need is money worries torturing your thoughts. By knowing the different payment alternatives you have and how to logically work through them, you can minimize or eliminate the need to use your own savings to pay.