If you have been injured in an automobile accident or a premises liability slip-and-fall case, one of the first things you have probably wondered about was how were your medical bills going to be paid. This is a very important issue for you and there are several different factors and strategic decisions to be made.
- If the accident is your fault: If the accident is your fault, then the other driver's insurance company will not be helping pay for your medical bills. In a situation like this, you may still use your health insurance to help pay the cost of your medical bills. You may also have medical payments (med pay) coverage on your automobile insurance policy. Typically, med pay policy limits in Oklahoma are less than $10,000.00, but under Oklahoma law they are available to you regardless of who was at fault for the accident. It is very important to contact your insurance company after an accident to determine if there is med pay coverage available to you.
- If the other driver is at fault: If the other driver is at fault for your accident and your injuries were caused by the accident, then the other driver or their insurance company will be responsible for reimbursing you for your damages. Your damages include any medical bills you have incurred or any future medical bills you will incur. But, and this is important, the other driver or insurance company is not required to pay your medical bills as you incur them. In a normal case, they will only look at settling your case once you have completed all of your treatment. Many hospitals and medical providers will agree to hold your bills and not turn them over to collections until your case has been settled. However, some will require you to pay them immediately, to avoid having the bill turned over to collections. It is important to communicate with the hospital or medical providers early on. Keep in mind, even if the other driver is at fault, you can still receive your med pay benefits from your automobile insurance company. In Oklahoma, you are allowed to “double dip” and receive a settlement from the other driver's insurance company and receive your med pay benefits.
- If you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident or other premises liability case: If you are not injured in a car accident, but are injured at a business or on someone else's property, the business or property owner may be responsible for your medical bills. Basically, if the business was negligent-legally responsible for your injuries- and failed to maintain their premises in a safe condition, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If this is the case, typically, you will be able to get med pay benefits from the business and a settlement for your injuries. However, even if the business was not negligent and, thus, not legally responsible for your injuries, you may still be able to recover med pay benefits to help pay your bills.
It is important to keep in mind that in none of these situations are your medical bills paid as you incur them. An attorney can often help during this process by contacting the medical providers and letting them know that you are represented and that a claim is being made for your injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney can also help ensure that you maximize your recovery through any and all available insurance. Finally, an attorney can help to negotiate your medical bills with your medical providers, so that you end up with more money in your pocket. If you have any questions or if you or a loved one has been injured and is trying to figure out how to pay medical bills that you have incurred, feel free to contact a personal injury attorney at The Cotton Law Firm for a free consultation.