Question

Who pays my medical bills after a Connecticut car crash?

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Matthew Maddox - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Matthew Maddox

Located in New Canaan, CTThe Maddox Law Firm, LLC

New Canaan, CT
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Answer

If you are injured in a car accident and have medical payments coverage (med pay) under your car insurance policy, your car insurance will pay your healthcare expenses. If your healthcare expenses exceed the med pay policy limits or you do not have med pay, your accident-related healthcare expenses should be billed to your personal health insurer. If you do not have personal health insurance, there are some healthcare providers who will agree to provide treatment to someone injured in an auto accident through a letter of protection signed by you and your attorney. A letter of protection is an agreement that states that the healthcare provider will be paid from the proceeds of settlement or judgment after trial.  Separately, you may also be able to negotiate payment plans with providers regarding how your expenses will be paid.

Your Car Insurance Company

In Connecticut, there is no statutory provision that sets up mandatory medical payments related to fault in car crashes. The defendant driver who hit you is not legally required to pay your healthcare expenses as they are billed to you.  Until a settlement or verdict is reached, you will need to consider alternative ways to pay healthcare expenses as described above. First, you will need to determine if you have medical payments coverage under your car insurance policy. If you have coverage, your car insurer will pay your healthcare expenses up to the policy limits.

Your Personal Health Insurance

If you are not covered under your car insurance policy or your expenses exceed the med pay policy limits, you can submit bills to your personal health insurer. In most cases, they will cover healthcare expenses such as office visits, rehabilitation therapy, chiropractic care and surgical procedures.  Your insurance company will work with a participating provider to ensure that your bills are paid in accordance with the plan.  

Paying Bills If You Exceed Policy Limits or are Uninsured 

If your insurance company is not required to pay your healthcare expenses, or if you have reached your coverage limits, or if you are uninsured, you can work with an attorney who will issue letters of protection to your healthcare providers. However, this depends upon your healthcare providers’ procedures and whether they accept letters of protection.  Letters of protection (LOPs) inform your providers that they will receive payment after a settlement or after judgment. If your provider agrees, you can continue to receive healthcare in exchange for your promise and your attorney’s promise to pay at the end of your case. Not all healthcare offices accept letters of protection. Attorneys who have established professional relationships and reputations of reliability with providers may have a greater chance at arranging for LOPs.

If a provider does not agree to the LOP, they may be willing to work with you to set up a payment plan. You must agree to pay out of pocket for healthcare expenses over a set period of time in payment plans. If you cannot work out a payment plan, you may be able to seek relief by working directly with the provider. Some hospitals have funds available such as trusts and hardship arrangements to cover healthcare expenses. However, you must know whom to ask, when to ask and how to ask about such arrangements. An experienced lawyer who has an ongoing relationship with local providers can inform you of any health care facilities in the area that may offer these types of services. If you cannot obtain relief from a third party, you will be solely responsible for your healthcare expenses.

An Attorney Can Help You Fight For Payments

A lawyer plays a vital role in ensuring that healthcare bills get paid after a car crash. Healthcare claims contain many moving parts and you must have a clear understanding of your options. Navigating the process of payments, coverages, and who pays what and when can be a minefield for the average consumer. An experienced, dedicated personal injury attorney can help to keep track of what is being paid, ensure that claims are being processed correctly and forestall credit damage.

An attorney understands that there is no detail that is unimportant. It is critical to hire a lawyer who is well-versed in insurance claims and is vigilant about every aspect of your healthcare so that nothing is overlooked.  You need to hire an attorney who is driven to advocate for you and protect you every step of the way until the conclusion of your case.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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