Who is Responsible for Medical Bills After a Car Accident in Illinois?

Often a motor vehicle accident happens because someone made a poor decision, violated a traffic rule, or did something reckless. Another person was negligent, distracted, maybe even driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If the traffic safety laws were broken, the criminal justice system can hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligent actions. However, when a driver’s negligence results in incredibly expensive financial damages or, worse, devastating bodily injuries, the injured person has certain rights. Many car accident victims may expect the insurance company to cover their financial losses, but some ignore the law and drive without insurance coverage. Even when they are covered, however, it’s often difficult to deal with the insurance companies to get the financial compensation you deserve to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and other financial damages.

Thus, anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident should reach out to a Chicago car accident lawyer for help. An experienced attorney can explain your legal options and protect your rights. 

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Who Pays for Car Accident Medical Bills?

If you were injured in an auto accident in Illinois, you may wonder who pays the medical costs after an automobile accident? 

There are many ways to pay for medical bills after a motor vehicle crash. However, many car accident victims believe that the auto insurance for the driver of the vehicle that hit you won’t pay your medical bills until your car accident case settles.

A woman with a neck injury after a car accident

And thus, there’s no need to tell your medical providers to bill the at-fault driver’s auto insurance. That is an established way to have your medical expenses go to collections, which is unfair, especially if you weren’t responsible for the car accident. But you need to confirm who pays your medical bills after an auto crash. Thus, at CCAL we recommend you use one of the following ways to get your medical bills paid.

MedPay Insurance

MedPay is also known as medical payments coverage. It’s a clause within many car insurance policies. In Illinois, MedPay is optional insurance coverage; thus not every motorist has it. Normally, you need to contract with your auto insurance company for them to pay the first $2,500, $5,000, or $10,000 of your medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault.

However, most people don’t recommend getting MedPay coverage, which is a bad idea. Although MedPay insurance coverage costs a few dollars a month, it’s worthwhile if you get involved in an automobile accident. Most people can’t afford to pay for their copayment or deductible are very high nowadays. MedPay insurance coverage can cover that for you. If you have no health insurance at all, medpay is an incredible option for recovering your medical expenses, regardless of fault. Further, MedPay pays 100% of your medical costs, unlike other health insurances which pay 80% of your medical costs leaving you with the balance.

Health Insurance

After an auto accident, when you get any kind of medical treatment, it’s essential for your medical provider to bill all the medical bills to your health insurance apart from those paid by MedPay. There are many benefits to using your health insurance to pay for your medical costs, the main one being that your health insurance company will probably have contracted rates with your medical provider. Your health insurance provider will only pay their contracted rate for a medical bill instead of the whole rate.

So, for instance, if you get a bill for $20,000 for an emergency room visit, your health insurance provider will pay $10,000 of that bill and the medical provider will write off the rest. 

However, you aren’t completely off the hook because you might still have copayments or a deductible that you have to pay. Also, you’ll have to reimburse your health insurance provider for the money they paid on your behalf out of the proceeds of your car accident settlement/recovery.

Using your health insurance to cover your medical costs after a motor vehicle accident is the best way to keep your medical expenses down and get your medical bills paid.

Liens

Liens provide an interesting guide to who pays the medical costs after an automobile crash. A lien basically means that when you recover from the physical injuries you suffered after an accident, you must pay back your lien holders. These may include the emergency room, the ambulance company, or your physician.

Often, hospitals file liens shortly after treating a patient so that they’re sure of getting reimbursed for their medical services. Once your health insurance company pays the hospital, it’ll release its lien. Other medical providers may voluntarily enter into a lien agreement with you, this includes a chiropractor or physical therapist. In exchange for you and your personal injury attorney signing the lien, they agree to offer you medical treatment and hold off on billing you for the medical services until your car accident case is resolved.

To learn more about Illinois medical liens, check out the Illinois Healthcare Lien Act.

Cash

Another option for paying your medical costs is to pay them upfront with cash. However, this is a rarely used payment option, but it’s an option to ensure your medical costs are paid.

car accident medical bills

What if the At-Fault Driver doesn’t have Auto Insurance Coverage?

Illinois law stipulates that all motorists must carry liability insurance, but some motorists choose to break that law. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance coverage, he or she can be held personally liable for financial damages caused by the car accident. Similarly, if the driver doesn’t have enough liability coverage to pay for all of your damages, he or she can be held liable for anything above and beyond the auto insurance policy limit.

Thus, you still have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit and recovering financial compensation directly from the at-fault driver’s assets. However, seizing a person’s assets is a more complicated, time-consuming, and laborious process than recovering from an insurance company. Also, the at-fault driver might not have enough assets to recover. A better option is to file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance provider.

Illinois law requires all motorists to carry uninsured motorist protection. Thus, if you’re involved in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver, your auto insurance provider will pay for any financial damages that would have been paid by the uninsured negligent driver’s liability coverage, up to the insurance coverage limits. Also, uninsured motorist protection applies if the identity of the driver who hit you is unknown like with a hit-and-run accident.

Contact the Experienced Chicago Car Accident Attorneys at CCAL Today for Legal Advice!

Filing for an insurance claim after a motor vehicle accident is complex, and the insurance companies are experts at reducing, delaying, and denying these claims. So, it’s essential to have a strong, legal advocate on your side, fighting aggressively to protect your rights and to ensure you recover fair compensation. At CCAL, we represent clients in these cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you don’t have to pay any legal fees upfront until we recover compensation for you. If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, the Chicago personal injury lawyers at CCAL can help. Contact our personal injury law firm today at (312) 300-2515 for a free and confidential initial consultation.

Our lawyers can help you pursue compensation for your car accident medical bills in the greater Chicago area, including:

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