If you have just been in a Colorado car accident, it is crucial that you receive immediate medical treatment. But treatment can often be expensive, especially when your injuries are serious. Depending on how long you have to get treatment for, the bills can pile up extremely fast.
One pressing question that is likely to be going through your mind during the period is: who will pay for all these medical bills? There’s no need to worry though, as you are entitled to compensation from the party that caused the injuries to you.
With the aid of the competent lawyers at Malman Law Firm, your path towards recovering compensation is much more assured. We will also help you plan what strategies to adopt in paying off your medical bills before you secure compensation.
In this article, you will learn what is involved in paying off your medical bills after a Colorado car accident and how you can go about it.
Recovering compensation after a Colorado car accident
The task of recovering compensation is not always straightforward. You will first be expected to prove that the other party was at fault for the accident and that they caused your injuries.
After providing this proof, you then need to show that you are entitled to compensation from them. In showing this, you would also need to establish the money sums you feel you are entitled to.
Once you have proved these, you can look forward to recovering compensation from the at-fault party or their insurer. The compensation you recover will ordinarily cover the cost of your medical bills, lost wages and even pain or suffering in some cases.
The problem, however, is that the at-fault party may refuse to accept liability for the accident. They may insist that the case go on trial and if it does, you may have to wait months or even years for resolution.
Even if they accept fault, their insurer may dispute your claim and try to show that you should not be entitled to the amounts you are seeking. All of this can serve to slow down the process of compensation.
In the meantime, your medical bills keep piling up and in some cases, you will be required to pay up or risk the bills going to collections.
What happens before you secure compensation?
While the at-fault party is ultimately responsible for compensating you for your injuries, in practice, that compensation will come a bit further down the line.
At the outset, you will have to look to other sources to foot your medical bills. You will only be reimbursed for those expenses after compensation is secured. In any case, the at-fault party’s insurer will hardly take responsibility for paying your bills after every doctor appointment.
They will much rather pay a lump sum that covers all your treatment expenses. This sum is rarely determined until you have had a few appointments and have a clear idea of how much your full rehabilitation will cost.
In the meantime, you can generally look to the following sources for payment of your medical bills:
Private health insurance
If you have personal health insurance such as insurance obtained through an employer, you can draw your expenses from there. This insurance will also typically take care of your emergency medical treatment costs in the immediate aftermath of your accident.
The advantage of private insurance is the medical provider will be unable to charge you more than the contracted rate. Apart from this, for plans beginning in 2014 and later, you can enjoy the prohibition of a lifetime maximum or yearly cap on payouts under the Affordable Care Act.
Government health insurance
Government health insurance such as Medicare, Medi-Cal or the Children’s Health Insurance Program can help to pay your bills. You can take advantage of discounted rates if you are using any of these health programs.
You may however need to check to ensure that the insurance covers the range of treatments you will be needing.
Colorado Auto Insurance (Med-Pay)
This is optional auto insurance that takes care of your medical expenses regardless of fault. You often have to elect it and then pay a separate premium at agreed intervals.
But if you have Med-Pay, your insurer will be obligated to cover your medical expenses up to the limit you have selected. It is typically $5,000.00 but we have seen as high as $100,000.00.
What if you do not have Med-Pay or health insurance?
If you do not have health insurance or Med-Pay, you may be required to pay your medical expenses out of pocket. Although Colorado law requires hospitals to negotiate discounts and reasonable pricing with qualifying individuals, the bill will be entirely on you.
Another possible alternative you can explore is approaching health providers that will be willing to work on a medical lien. The medical lien basically means the provider will be willing to delay payment until you resolve your case. At which time they will be paid from the settlement.
The downside to this though is that the providers will charge their full rates for treatment provided under the lien.
What happens if the amount you eventually recover is less than your medical bills?
It is possible that the amount you eventually receive as compensation is less than your actual medical expenses. This may occur due to some confusion as to the meaning of “reasonable expenses”.
Ordinarily, you should receive compensation up to the amount that you actually paid for treatment, plus damages for pain and suffering. However, some courts have held that “reasonable” means what health insurance would pay, and not what was actually paid.
Of course, this can be an inconvenience. But our lawyers are very experienced in this area of law. We are capable of ensuring that you get absolute fair compensation for your injuries. We may also be able to help you secure access to reasonable medical treatment.
Our primary goal is to ensure that your medical bills are comfortably settled and you have enough to pocket for your pain and suffering.
The right of subrogation
Keep in mind that if your medical bills are paid by your insurance company, they will usually reserve the right to recover those amounts. This may not apply to med-pay though as new Colorado laws state that insurers do not have the right to be reimbursed in this regard. In other cases, they will normally seek reimbursement from whatever you actually recover as compensation.
Although, this right only applies if you recover money from the at-fault party. In other cases, the insurer may reserve the right to “step into your shoes” and sue for compensation in your place.
While this may seem convenient, remember that the insurance company is looking out for its interests, not yours. So it is still prudent to have your own attorney looking out for you.
Get in touch with us
At Malman Law Firm, we understand the difficulty that car accidents bring and the inconvenience of medical bills. This is why we fight aggressively to ensure that our clients win fair compensation.
We will not collect a cent from you unless you win. And as a mark of courtesy, we will take care of any property damage you suffered up to a limit.
Our major focus is to ensure that you come out of a forgettable event with the compensation you deserve. Call us on (303) 733-7900 or click here to book a free no-obligation consultation today.