Who Pays for Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

October 17, 2022

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a vehicle accident caused by the negligence of another driver, it is absolutely crucial that you recover compensation for your medical bills. Medical care can become costly, but it can be challenging to understand who actually pays the medical bills after an accident occurs. Here, we want to discuss the complexities and challenges associated with receiving medical care while also awaiting an insurance settlement or a personal injury jury verdict.

Personal Health Insurance

After sustaining an injury, individuals are rightfully worried about how they will be able to pay for their expenses, especially their medical bills. With medical visit costs, including hospital stays and doctor follow-up visits, at astronomical monetary levels, this is a significant worry for injury victims and their family members.

The reality is that an insurance settlement is not likely to occur right away, even if the other party was clearly at fault for the incident. This process could take even longer if the injury victim has to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.

So, if an injury victim cannot rely on any type of settlement right away, where do they turn?

It may be necessary to use personal health insurance to cover medical bills during the time frame a person is working to recover compensation for their expenses from another party. In these cases, if the personal health insurance carrier does cover the expenses, the carrier will likely be able to seek reimbursement of any money they pay through a process called subrogation. This means they will be entitled to pay back through the insurance settlement or jury verdict award.

In the event an individual does not have health insurance, they could end up having to pay these expenses out of their own pocket, which may be nearly impossible.

Talking to the Doctor or Medical Professional

If a personal injury victim is working with a Martinsburg injury attorney, they could approach the doctor that is providing ongoing medical care about taking care of all of the medical needs with the understanding that they will be paid after the insurance settlement has cleared or the injury victim recovers compensation through a jury trial verdict.

Medical professionals are under no obligation to accept this type of plan, but they will likely be more willing to go with this type of arrangement if an individual is working with an attorney who can provide some assurance that they expect a settlement. Even though there is no guarantee that an individual will win their case, an attorney could provide some assurance to the medical professional. If a doctor or other type of medical professional accepts this type of option, they will be paid once the insurance settlement or jury verdict amount comes in.

Possible Liens

In some cases, the insurance carrier or the medical provider may place a lien on the final settlement or jury verdict. Under West Virginia law, there is a “made whole” doctrine, which means the injured party will have to receive their compensation and be made whole before the liens are dealt with. We encourage all injury victims to work with an accident lawyer to understand what this means and how to approach the process.


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