How to Handle Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident in WA
Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents on February 21, 2023
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver in Washington, you need to know how your medical bills will be paid. Unfortunately, this can be a challenging aspect of car accident claims. Medical bills often start coming in right away, but car accident claims may not settle for weeks, months, or even years after the incident occurs. Here, our Seattle car accident lawyers want to discuss how your medical bills can be paid in the meantime.
Waiting for an Insurance Settlement
Medical expenses do not wait until a person receives a settlement from an insurance carrier or as a result of a personal injury lawsuit against an alleged negligent party. The bills will start coming in immediately, and individuals may even have to pay upfront before receiving medical care. In other words, waiting for a settlement is usually not an option when it comes to paying medical bills after a car accident in Washington.
In the best of circumstances, meaning fault is clear and the insurance carrier agrees to pay fair compensation, individuals will not receive any settlement money for weeks or even months after the incident occurs. However, if there is any pushback from the insurance carrier, insurance claims can drag out for quite a while, even more than a year. If it becomes necessary to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent driver, a jury trial may not occur for years after the incident.
Do You Have Personal Injury Protection?
In Washington, drivers are responsible for carrying a specific amount of minimum insurance coverage. This includes not only injury liability coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident as well as $10,000 worth of property damage liability coverage.
This state does not require individuals to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which is a no-fault type of insurance that individuals can use to recover compensation for their expenses, regardless of who caused the injury. We strongly encourage all drivers to carry personal injury protection coverage so that they can receive compensation for their medical bills as soon as possible after the incident occurs. Even if another party caused the incident, the driver’s personal insurance carrier can pursue compensation from the other driver’s insurance at a later date.
Using Traditional Health Insurance
In some cases, drivers may be able to use their health insurance to pay for their medical bills while awaiting a settlement from an insurance carrier or for a personal injury lawsuit to conclude. In the event individuals are able to use their personal insurance coverage, the insurance carrier will likely require repayment of this compensation after a successful insurance claim or personal injury jury verdict.
Asking the Doctors to Continue Care
It may be possible for you and your attorney to ask a doctor or medical facility to continue providing medical care with the understanding that they will receive payment after a personal injury lawsuit has concluded. The medical professionals may or may not agree to this, but if they do, they may place a medical lien on the final settlement or jury verdict that will have to be paid as soon as the compensation comes in.