Who Pays Medical Bills in a Car Accident?

Who Pays Medical Bills in a Car Accident

After a car accident, one of the last things you want to worry about is the mountain of medical bills that can follow. Yet, for many victims, this financial burden can become a reality. Unfortunately, not everyone can withstand the burden associated with medical expenses following a car crash. The question “How do I pay my medical bills?” will most likely come up sooner rather than later.

With the help of a car accident lawyer, however, you can pay your medical bills without having to tap into your emergency savings.

We will discuss who pays medical bills in a car accident, how to calculate medical expenses after the accident, and why hiring a car accident lawyer to seek compensation makes sense.

What Costs Will Medical Bills Include?

Medical bills generally refer to any medical expenses and costs incurred by the victim in treating an injury after a car accident. You can recover compensation for these costs through an insurance claim or lawsuit.

When seeking compensation for medical bills, you need to know the cost of medical treatment, which can vary widely based on:

  • Severity of injuries. Severe and disabling injuries typically lead to higher medical costs due to increased care requirements. Statistically speaking, the average economic cost of a disabling injury after a car accident is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, though many can be much more.
  • Insurance coverage. Your health insurance or auto insurance policy details can significantly affect out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Healthcare provider fees. Different providers charge varying rates for similar services, which is why your medical bills often depend on who your healthcare provider is.
  • Location and facilities. The cost of medical care can also depend on the state or city you are in and whether you are treated at a private or public facility.

If you have a hard time determining the full cost of your medical treatment post-accident, you might want to seek the assistance of a lawyer. Car accident attorneys have the necessary experience to consider all factors to calculate the appropriate compensation amount.

Common Types of Medical Bills After a Car Accident

After a car accident, injured victims may incur:

Common Types of Medical Bills After a Car Accident

  • Hospital bills. These are typically the most burdensome medical expenses following a car accident. Hospital bills include costs for emergency room visits, inpatient stays, surgeries, medical examinations, and any immediate medical interventions required.
  • Ambulance services. If an ambulance is called to the accident scene, you will have bills for the transportation to the hospital. These services can be costly, especially if a helicopter or advanced life support services are needed.
  • Primary care physician bills. After initial treatment, you will likely need follow-ups with a primary care physician. These visits will generate bills for consultations, physical examinations, and managing your overall health during the recovery process.
  • Specialist consultations. Depending on the injuries sustained, specialists such as orthopedists, neurologists, or plastic surgeons may become part of your treatment plan. Specialists often charge higher rates for their services.
  • Imaging and diagnostic tests. You may need X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or other imaging services to fully assess your injuries. These expensive diagnostic tests can add up quickly and contribute to medical costs.
  • Rehabilitation services. Physical therapy or other rehabilitation services might be necessary to regain full mobility and strength after an accident. In some cases, sessions can be rather frequent, which can lead to substantial bills.
  • Prescription medications. Medications for pain management, inflammation, infection prevention, and other needs are standard elements of post-accident care, and costs for medications in your case will vary based on the prescriptions.
  • Follow-up visits. As you recover, you may be required to attend multiple follow-up visits. These visits, which monitor your progress, can include various specialists who provide care.
  • Assistive devices. Crutches, braces, wheelchairs, or other assistive devices to aid your recovery process will likely result in additional costs.
  • Home health care. In cases where the victim requires ongoing medical attention at home, professional home healthcare services may add to the medical expenses incurred. This can include nursing services, physical therapy, and other specialized care.

The exact medical expenses in your case depend on the specifics of your accident, the severity of your injuries, and the need for follow-up care.

Ways to Obtain Compensation for Medical Bills After a Car Accident

After a car accident, you might wonder who will pay your medical bill so that you do not have to lose your savings. You can pay your medical bills and/or obtain compensation in several ways, including:

The Other Driver’s Insurance Policy

If another driver is at fault, you can file a claim against their insurance policy. To do so, you will need to prove that the other party was indeed responsible for the accident and your injuries by demonstrating the four elements of negligence: (1) duty of care, (2) breach of duty, (3) causation, and (4) damages. If your claim is successful, the at-fault driver’s liability insurance should cover your medical costs up to the policy’s limits.

Your Health Insurance Policy

Your own health insurance policy can provide coverage for your medical treatments following a car accident. However, your insurer may require reimbursement if you receive compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance later. Review your policy’s details or speak to your insurance agent to understand the extent of your coverage and the process involved.

Your Auto Insurance Policy

Even when a driver is not at fault, their own auto insurance policy may have provisions to help pay for their medical bills.

Two key types of coverage that can help are Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay) and Personal Injury Protection (PIP).

Ways to Obtain Compensation for Medical Bills After a Car Accident I PIP

  • Medical payments coverage (MedPay). MedPay is an optional coverage that helps pay for medical expenses, regardless of who’s at fault for the accident. It can include payments for treatments, surgeries, X-rays, and sometimes funeral expenses. One important aspect of MedPay is that it does not require repayment if you subsequently receive a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP). Personal Injury Protection is mandatory in some states and optional in others. PIP provides broader coverage than MedPay, often including lost income and other non-medical expenses on top of medical bills, regardless of fault.


Another viable option to get compensated for your medical bills after a car accident is through filing a lawsuit against the driver whose fault caused or contributed to the crash.

Even if you file a lawsuit, there is no guarantee that your case will proceed to a trial. If you are considering filing a lawsuit as one of the ways to recover medical bills after a car accident, you need to be aware of the statute of limitations in your state.

This statute, which limits the time to initiate legal action, varies by state. In California, for example, injured victims have two years from the injury to bring a lawsuit.

Calculating Your Medical Expenses After a Car Accident

After a car accident, determining how much your claim is worth is one of the most confusing tasks. In particular, you will have to calculate your medical expenses to know a baseline to ask for when pursuing a claim for compensation.

While you always want your car accident lawyer to handle these calculations, here are some factors they will consider when calculating medical bills post-accident:

  • Total immediate (known) costs. Add up all bills from the date of the accident to the present. This will give you your current out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Estimate future costs. Talk to your medical providers to get an estimate for any ongoing treatment or rehabilitation services you may need. Factor in future visits, medication refills, and potential surgeries.
  • Consider additional costs. Do not overlook indirect costs, which may include transportation to and from medical appointments, over-the-counter medications, and other related expenses.
  • Long-term care and disability. In cases of catastrophic injuries, you may need to consider the costs of long-term care or adjustments for disability. This includes home care services, modifications to living spaces for accessibility, and specialized equipment.
  • Insurance adjustments. If you have health insurance, you should account for what your policy covers. Deduct what the insurance will pay from your total expenses to understand your out-of-pocket exposure.
  • Account for rehabilitation and physical therapy. Many people injured in car accidents require physical therapy or rehabilitation to fully recover. This may involve multiple sessions over weeks, months, or even longer. Talk to your provider about the costs associated with these services and how frequently you’ll need them.
  • Factor in the loss of income. If your injuries have impacted your ability to work, calculate any lost income during your recovery period as well as the diminished earning capacity.
  • Account for non-economic damages. While harder to quantify, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress are often part of personal injury settlements.

Remember: careful documentation and accurate calculations are key to ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve to aid in your recovery. In particular, estimating future medical bills after a car accident is complex and can have numerous variables, which is why you might need a lawyer’s help.

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help You With Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

You might have heard countless times that you need legal representation after a car accident to ensure you get the most favorable resolution of your case.

But will a lawyer help you in any way with your medical bills? Well, yes.

A car accident lawyer can assist you in several ways:

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help You With Medical Bills After a Car Accident

  • Deal with the insurance companies. Navigating through the claims process with insurance companies can be a challenge. When you work with a lawyer, they will handle all communications with the insurance companies on your behalf so that you do not have to worry about that. Your lawyer’s job is to ensure that the insurance company is held accountable for paying out the proper amount as per your policy and the specifics of your case.
  • Negotiate a fair settlement. In the vast majority of cases, car accident claims are resolved through settlement agreements. In this scenario, your lawyer’s negotiation skills can obtain the maximum available compensation. A lawyer will take the time to determine the value of your claim, which may consist of past and future medical expenses, lost income, and other damages. Once your case’s worth is known, your lawyer will fight vigorously to negotiate a settlement that covers not only your immediate medical costs but also any long-term care you might need.
  • Work with healthcare providers to reduce your medical bills. Often, medical bills can be negotiated or reduced. Lawyers typically have established relationships with healthcare providers and may work out an agreement to lower the total cost of a client’s bills. In some cases, they might arrange a lien on future settlements to ensure you receive ongoing medical treatment without immediate out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Argue your case at trial. If you cannot reach an acceptable settlement outside of court, your lawyer will be ready to take your case to trial. By presenting evidence of negligence that led to the car accident and demonstrating the impact of your injuries, your lawyer will convince the court to issue a verdict that covers your medical expenses in full. Statistically speaking, only 3 percent of all tort cases go to trial.

If you are ready to discuss your case with a car accident attorney, consider scheduling a free consultation with one. Many car accident lawyers provide free initial consultations, which means you do not need to pay anything to talk about your case with a lawyer. This way, you will know how a car accident lawyer can help you without facing any financial risks.

Car Accident Attorney, Mickey Fine

Mickey Fine, Car Accident Lawyer in Bakersfield

Time is of the essence following a car accident. Even if you are still undergoing medical treatment, it is never too soon to meet with an injury attorneys in Bakersfield about your legal case.

Car Accident
by Mickey Fine Law
Last updated on - Originally published on