Once you receive a settlement for your personal injury case, it is not over. Your medical bills still have to be paid. It is important to understand where that money is coming from and who is actually responsible for those expenses.
Personal Injury Settlement in California
A successful personal injury case is one where you receive adequate funds to cover all of your medical and property expenses related to the accident, including loss of wages and ongoing medical treatment.
Ideally, your settlement will also cover any non-economic damages. These are things like pain and suffering, depression, and mental anguish; all of which you would not have experienced if it was not for the action that caused the injury. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve and avoid allowing you to settle for less than what you are entitled to.
California is an at-fault state which means that the party deemed responsible for your injuries is also responsible for your medical bills. If you are partially responsible for your injury, your settlement may be reduced by your percentage of fault. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the negligent party may or may not be personally responsible.
Do You Have To Pay Your Medical Bills From a Personal Injury Settlement?
Payment or reimbursement of payment for medical bills is a component of any settlement or personal injury lawsuit. This includes medical bills that you have already paid, have already been paid by your insurance company, and future medical treatment payments.
A health insurance provider who has already paid for some of your medical costs may place a lien on your settlement in order to be reimbursed. This is important to note, so you understand that some of the compensation you receive may already be spoken for.
Who Pays for Medical Bills After a Personal Injury Settlement?
To get your medical bills paid after a personal injury settlement you may receive compensation from multiple resources including:
- The responsible party directly;
- Government health insurance;
- Private health insurance;
- Workers’ compensation; or
- Healthcare providers willing to work on a California “medical lien” basis.
There are several factors that determine who pays for medical bills after a personal injury settlement. One of the biggest factors is whether or not the person has adequate insurance to cover your expenses.
Paying Medical Bills Before The Settlement
One big concern for many people going through a personal injury lawsuit or waiting on the completion of settlement negotiations is paying medical bills before the settlement is finalized. This is where your own personal insurance is likely to be most helpful. Private health insurance often requires a copay prior to treatment, or you may be billed at a later date.
If you are uninsured, you may be able to get government assistance such as medicare or medicaid. Some California health care providers may also work on a medical lien basis to cover expenses.
Once the parties reach a settlement or you win an award at trial, your health insurance provider is reimbursed for costs they have covered so far. This concept of reimbursement with court winnings is called subrogation.
Types of Medical Bills
There are many types of medical bills you may incur depending on the type and severity of your injury. These may include:
- Doctor visit invoices;
- Hospital bills;
- Ambulance costs;
- Rehabilitation invoices;
- Long-term care expenses;
- Prosthetics, wheelchairs, and similar equipment expenses;
- Ongoing future medical costs;
- Mental health costs; and
It is important to take into consideration future medical costs associated with your injuries. Insurance companies will often try to downplay the extent of your injuries. So recovery may require statements from a medical professional who is familiar with what your body has endured.
Proving Your Medical Costs
When negotiating your personal injury medical bills settlement, it is important to have proof of your actual costs. Make sure you keep thorough records of every injury-related expense. This includes invoices, receipts, records of travel, time off from work, and records of other associated costs.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
If you are concerned about paying medical bills after settlement, the best thing you can do to ease the process is consult an experienced personal injury attorney.
The team at Saeedian Law Group understands how important it is to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We would love the opportunity to help you navigate the legal system and negotiate with insurance companies to manage your medical expenses.
Contact us today for your free legal consultation.