Car accidents happen all across America’s roadways daily. Even if you’re a phenomenal driver, you can still sustain an injury or damage your vehicle if someone hits you unexpectedly. Maybe you’re minding your own business and following all traffic laws when it happens, but it’s just bad luck. You must still deal with the aftermath, though, even if you’re not at fault.

Major cities see a lot of car wrecks. For instance, 2021 saw more than 15,000 Dallas car wreck injuries, and any other large, crowded city likely has similar numbers. If you become a statistic and the accident injured you, you may not feel certain about who will pay your medical bills. It’s worth talking about, so let’s do so right now.

Several Factors Come Into Play

It would be nice if we could simply say, “this entity pays for your medical expenses after a car accident.” In reality, though, it varies. Several factors often come into play when a car hits you, and you sustain injuries. If you hit another vehicle instead and caused the accident, the answer can change.

For one thing, you must determine whether you’re in an “at-fault” or “no-fault” car accident state. No-fault means that regardless of whether you caused a car accident or not, if you injured yourself, then your insurance must pay for your medical bills. That’s assuming, of course, that you have insurance.

If you don’t have car insurance, then you shouldn’t drive. Some people drive even without an active policy, though. You never know who on the road has an active policy and who doesn’t.

READ:  8 Creative Ways Human Rights Are Revolutionizing Employment Law in Canada

As for an at-fault state, that means if the other driver conclusively caused the wreck, their insurance pays for your medical expenses. Right now, you can see that 12 states have the no-fault system in place, while the other 38 have the at-fault policy. Both systems have positives and negatives, but you should certainly figure out whether you are in an at-fault or no-fault state if you’re in a car wreck.

What Else Becomes a Factor When Determining Who Pays Your Medical Bills?

Most states have minimum car insurance amounts that you must carry. Using Texas as an example, for instance, you must have $30,000 in coverage for each person that an accident injures. In addition, you must have at least $60,000 in total accident coverage. You must have at least $25,000 per policy for property damages, such as if your car crashes into someone’s house or something similar.

You can also get insurance policies that provide more than these amounts if you like. Not everyone does, but generally, the higher amounts your policy covers, the safer you can feel. That’s true in at-fault states even more than no-fault ones.

Let’s say for a moment that you hit another vehicle and hurt someone in it. You have the minimum insurance amount your at-fault state demands. However, they have a lot of medical bills, and your insurance policy does not totally cover them.

If you have PIP insurance, which stands for personal injury protection, you can usually file a claim with your company. This will often cover what your minimum car insurance policy did not.

READ:  Master the Art of Handling Debt Collectors! Expert Tips to Help You Win

That works the other way around as well. If someone injured you by hitting you with their car, and you have a big stack of medical expenses that their minimum insurance amount didn’t cover, their PIP policy might pay the rest.

What if the Other Driver Does Not Have Enough Insurance?

Let’s look at a worst-case scenario now. You’re in an at-fault insurance state, and a car hits your vehicle. You sustain serious injuries, like a TBI or some broken bones. You’ll have some high medical bills. You will likely go through a complicated process to determine how you cover them.

If the other driver has the minimum insurance amount, that’s usually where the payments start. If this person has PIP insurance as well, that could be their fallback.

If that still doesn’t cover your bills, that probably means you needed surgery, months of physical therapy, or similar expensive procedures. Now, you must probably sue the other driver. That’s likely the only way you can reclaim the money these two insurance varieties didn’t cover.

Obviously, if the other driver hits you, and you’re in an at-fault state, then suing them becomes necessary if they have no insurance at all. You must also bring a lawsuit against them if their policy lapsed.

If you’re in these situations, you must hire a skilled lawyer who knows about these kinds of lawsuits. They can get the situation’s details and determine how you should proceed.

A Brief Recap

To sum up, there’s a key question you must answer if you have medical bills following a car wreck that someone else caused. Do you live in an at-fault or no-fault state?

READ:  You Can Benefit From Meeting US Tax Obligations While Living in Australia

If you don’t know, a simple Google search will tell you. That should point you in the right direction. If you have the proper insurance amount, and you’re in a no-fault state, your insurance should pay your bills, as long as they’re not too large.

If you’re in an at-fault state, the other driver’s insurance should pay your medical bills, assuming they have the proper insurance policy and amount. If they have PIP insurance, that’s probably their fallback option.

If they don’t have these things, or if their policies can’t meet the bill amounts, you should likely hire an attorney and sue them. Maybe you’re not litigious, but if you don’t bring legal action, you must probably pay those bills on your own, and they can add up quickly.

Paying their own medical expenses following a car wreck can bankrupt someone in a hurry. Even if you have some cash saved, you might liquidate your account paying medical expenses following major surgery or a similar event.

If you’re ever unsure about who should cover your medical bills, contacting a lawyer and consulting them makes sense.