Who Pays For My Medical Bills After A Car Accident? Four Common Misconceptions

Maxey McFarland Law Firm > Blog > Blog > Who Pays For My Medical Bills After A Car Accident? Four Common Misconceptions

When you are injured in an accident that’s someone else’s fault, one of the first things you may wonder is who will pay for your accident-related medical treatment. There are many misconceptions out there regarding who pays for medical treatment following a car accident and how that process works. The goal of this post is to help provide some clarity for those faced with that question following a car accident. Here are some common misconceptions around this issue:

1) The at-fault driver’s insurance company will directly pay my bills

This is perhaps the most common misconception regarding paying medical bills following a car accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for compensating an injured person following a car accident. However, they do not typically issue payment directly to the hospital or provider. Insurance companies pay injury settlements in lump sums once all treatment is completed. They do not issue payments directly to providers as each bill is incurred. This means that if you’re injured in a car accident that’s not your fault, you could be waiting months or even longer to be repaid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Another problem is that the at-fault driver may not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay your medical bills

2) I shouldn’t bill my health insurance for accident-related medical bills because it’s the other driver’s fault

This is an especially troubling misconception that is extremely common among people who are injured in motor vehicle accidents. While it is true that the other driver is at fault. If possible, you always want your health insurance to be billed for accident-related medical treatment. This is true if your health insurance plan covers it. First, if your health insurance carrier pays your medical bills, you won’t be getting numerous phone calls and letters from providers for payments while recovering from your injuries. It also means you won’t have to worry about collections agencies hounding you for payment. Nor do you have to worry about them reporting your failure to pay to credit bureaus. That gives you financial peace of mind during a stressful time.

Secondly, if your health insurance plan pays for your accident-related medical expenses, you’ll only have to repay out of your settlement what the plan paid and not the full billed amount. Health insurance carriers have lower contracted rates with providers. That means if your provider bills your health insurance, you will most likely take home much more of your settlement at the end of your car accident case. 

3) If I don’t have health insurance or enough money to pay for medical treatment, I won’t be able to seek treatment for my injuries

Suppose you are uninsured and don’t have enough money on hand to pay for medical treatment relating to a car accident. In that case, a skilled personal injury lawyer will be able to help you find medical providers or medical funding companies willing to wait until the conclusion of your case to be repaid out of your settlement.

Some medical providers are willing to provide medical treatment to you for injuries relating to a car accident if your lawyer is willing to send them what is commonly referred to as a letter of protection. A letter of protection is simply a letter from your attorney informing your medical provider that he or she will protect your provider’s interest in any settlement funds. The provider will be repaid out of the settlement at the conclusion of the case. In addition to individual providers and clinics, medical funding companies will accept letters of protection to help those injured in accidents pay for medical treatment. At the same time, their personal injury case is ongoing. 

4) My lawyer will pay for my medical treatment

Not only is this incorrect but it is specifically prohibited by the rules that govern the legal profession in South Carolina. Lawyers can help find providers willing to provide treatment pursuant to a letter of protection or who will work with a medical funding company. They CANNOT directly pay for medical treatment. That would be unethical under the rules. Any lawyer telling you they’ll pay for your medical treatment is dishonest with you or intends to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct. You don’t want to be involved with a lawyer who does either.

Contact us for help with your medical bills

Contact our compassionate, experienced personal injury lawyers of the Maxey McFarland Law Firm at 864-387-8362 for a free consultation. We will give you the advice you need to ensure you can get your injuries taken care of. You won’t have to worry about who is going to pay your medical bills.

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Last Updated: 01-29-2024
Written By: Will Maxey