Who Pays Medical Bills In Virginia Car Accidents?
In Virginia, an insurance company only needs to pay for medical bills from liability coverage when a driver is at fault. The at-fault driver with insurance will have at least $25,000 available to use towards bodily injury claims, which include medical bills.
If the driver is uninsured or if their coverage only pays for a portion of your expenses, you might be wondering who will pay the medical bills from your Virginia car accident. Christina Pendleton & Associates is here to offer the legal advice you need to understand this process.
How Are Medical Bills Paid After a Car Accident?
If the other driver is found to be responsible for the accident, their car insurance will cover your medical expenses. Unfortunately, it can take a considerable amount of time to get that payment. In the meantime, you’ll have to use your own insurance policy to pay for hospital bills and doctor’s visits.
Once the at-fault driver is found liable for the accident, you’ll be able to receive compensation. The payment you receive will cover the cost of your medical bills and any other monetary or non-monetary loss you’ve been saddled with as a result of the accident.
Why Should My Health Insurance Pay if I Was Not at Fault?
Using your own health insurance to pay for medical treatment from an accident you didn’t cause might seem unfair. But medical treatment cannot wait for the at-fault driver to be held liable, and neither can medical bills. This is where your health insurance comes in handy.
If you have a primary health insurance policy, it will cover the costs of medical bills as soon as you meet the deductible and coverage eligibility. This may vary depending on your individual plan, but in all likelihood your health insurance will be able to cover medical expenses. That way, your doctor won’t have to call a collection agency to pursue payment for unpaid bills.
Does the Driver Who Was At-Fault Have to Pay Anything?
If the at-fault driver has auto liability insurance, they probably won’t have to pay out-of-pocket for your medical expenses and other losses. Instead, their insurance will cover your injury related bills. That being said, there are some instances where a driver might have to dip into their personal finances to compensate you.
According to Virginia Code § 46.2-706, drivers must carry insurance that pays for medical bills from a car accident. However, the law also allows car owners to forgo such insurance if they pay $500 and offer proof that they’re able to pay out-of-pocket for an accident victim’s medical bills
Drivers that opt for coverage must choose a plan that covers up to $25,000 worth of medical bills for a Virginia car accident involving one victim, and $50,000 for two victims. If you get into an accident with a driver who has coverage, you’ll have to prove that they caused the accident to be able to draw from their policy.
Paying for Car Accident Medical Bills in Virginia When the At-Fault Driver Is Uninsured
If the driver that caused your accident is uninsured or has a policy that doesn’t cover the full extent of your medical costs, and can’t afford to pay you out-of-pocket, all hope isn’t lost. You can use your own auto liability insurance to cover your bills.
Unless you opted out of it when you first purchased your insurance, your plan will include coverage for accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers. This coverage will allow you to pay for your medical bills and other expenses if the at-fault driver is unable to.
Contributory Negligence Laws Could Prevent You From Receiving Compensation for Your Medical Bills
Virginia is one of several states that enforces contributory negligence laws in car accidents. That means, if you are found to be even 1% responsible for the accident you were injured in, you won’t be able to receive compensation from the other driver’s insurance plan.
As you might guess, this law leads insurers to comb through all the evidence from the crash to try and find a way to blame the victim. They’ll do anything they can to reduce their client’s liability and avoid paying your car accident medical bills.
If you want to get the payment you’re entitled to receive, we highly recommend working with an experienced attorney. They’ll be able to investigate your accident, and find irrefutable evidence that shows the other driver was 100% responsible for the crash.
What Is Med-Pay Coverage on My Auto Policy?
Auto insurance policies allow individuals to purchase medical payment coverage known as Med-Pay. Med-Pay covers the cost of medical bills for any auto related accidents up to the coverage limits, regardless of whether you were walking, biking, driving, or riding as a passenger when the accident occured.
Med-Pay also pays regardless of whether you caused the accident or not, though coverage limits vary, and many people do not elect to purchase this insurance if they already have comprehensive health insurance. It also requires that the insurer pay for medical bills, up to the coverage limits, even if the medical bills have been paid for by other means.
In other words, if you have a $5,000 Med-Pay coverage limit and your health insurance already paid for the entire accident, your insurance company would still have to give you $5,000. The insurance company also cannot request this amount back if you receive a favorable judgment against the at-fault driver.
An Attorney Can Negotiate With Insurers to Get You Compensated for Medical Bills After an Accident
As previously mentioned, insurance companies will stop at nothing to prevent you from getting the compensation you need to cover your car accident related medical bills. In order to do this, they’ll often call victims before they’ve had time to hire a lawyer in an attempt to ambush them with a low settlement offer.
Don’t talk to insurers or agree to a settlement before you’ve had a chance to speak with a lawyer. Talking to insurance adjusters is particularly risky, as they might get you to say something that they’ll later use against you.
An experienced attorney will be able to handle all communications with insurance companies. They’ll also be able to negotiate a settlement that covers all your losses, not just your medical bills. Once your attorney has done their job, you’ll most likely walk away with a hefty settlement that allows you to get the treatment you need to move on with your life.
Our Attorneys Can Help Get You Compensation for Vehicle Accident Medical Bills
Now that you know who pays the medical bills after a Virginia car accident, it’s time to get the legal help you need to secure that payment! The car accident attorneys at Pendleton Law are highly qualified and will be able to get you the highest amount of compensation possible for your injuries.
Due to Virginia’s statute of limitations for car accidents, you might not have much time to take legal action. You’ll need an expert attorney to make sure you meet your deadline and get the payment you’re entitled to. Contact a car accident lawyer today for a free consultation.