After you have been in an accident, one of the biggest issues most people encounter is getting their medical bills paid. Before, during and after trial, different insurance companies have different methods for dealing with significant hospital costs, and sometimes it leaves the injured person out in the cold. It is not unheard of to get your attorney involved in these matters if need be; your primary concern should be healing, not negotiating complex payments and reimbursements for whenever your insurance company sees fit to disburse the appropriate money.
Before and During Trial
As a general rule, the defendant is not required to contribute anything toward the payment of your medical bills unless a court order or jury award mandates it. This is not the case in auto accident cases in states with no-fault auto insurance; in those states your insurer will pay a percentage of your medical bills with no questions asked, and afterward you are responsible for the remainder, with no option to bring suit (except in extremely rare cases). In states like South Carolina that adhere to the more traditional insurance model, the option to bring suit against the other driver, if you believe they are at fault, is preserved.
Sometimes, especially in auto accident cases, one or both of those involved will have medpay coverage through their insurance company. This insurance will pay all medical bills up to a specific amount— most often, $10,000— but some drivers elect to carry more. South Carolina does not require medpay coverage, but will recognize it if you have it. If your accident is work-related, your bills will almost certainly be paid by workers’ compensation.
It is important to be aware that many insurers, especially in the case of auto accidents, have repayment clauses written into their policies. Thus, if you recover in a personal injury action, your insurer will be entitled to at least part of what you recoup.
Most insurance companies will place a lien on any proceeds you gain from a successful suit against the person guilty of the negligent act that injured you. A lien is defined as the right of a person or corporation to retain the property of another until that person’s debt has been repaid. When you agree to health coverage under most plans, you agree to reimburse an insurer or health care provider who pays for your medical bills out of any proceeds you obtain from a settlement. Most people are not aware of this requirement, but it is extremely common, showing up in almost all insurance policies. If you lose your case, you are still liable for the balance of the lien, unless it is later discharged in bankruptcy, which can be somewhat difficult to do.
Contact A Personal Injury Attorney
The best chance of getting your medical bills are paid is to ensure that you have the best possible representation during your lawsuit. The North Charleston accident attorneys at Callihan & Syracuse are passionate about ensuring that you have the best chance possible to recoup your expenses. Contact us today if you have been injured in an accident and need your medical bills paid.