Medical Bills: Who Pays Them And How?

Personal Injury Attorney in Las Vegas, NV

After an auto accident or other act of negligence, a common threat that people like to make is telling the opposing party that “you’ll pay my medical bills.” Every personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada knows that’s not entirely true.

In most personal injury cases, the defendant actually isn’t required to pay your ongoing medical bills. For the most part, you the victim, pay your own medical bills. That is either out of pocket or through the various forms of medical insurances or “insurers” that you either have or don’t have.

To restore “fairness” though, while the opposing party is not required to pay your ongoing medical bills (even if you’re the victim), if found at fault for the accident, the opposing party is required to pay for your “damages.” The “damages” are presented to the court which is quantified into an amount that one can pay if you win the case at trial or through negotiated settlement.

Say for instance, you were hurt because a defective product caused a fire that badly burned your arm.

You’d receive a specified amount in a possible settlement for being injured by the defective product, then you’d receive more for the medical bills, then you’d receive even more if the injury caused you to miss work and income. This right here, is representing 3 forms of “damage.”

There are laws that issue a fixed amount for certain forms of damage, but in other cases, you can apply the logic that the more something is, the more you’d receive in a settlement. Same concept for the greater your medical bill, or the more income you lose.

The problem then becomes, how will you pay your medical bills especially when your potential settlement is about 2+ years away? Either you’ll already have medical insurance, or your car insurance or car insurer will have “med pay.” How much they’ll pay, and if they’ll pay depends on whether you’re in a “no fault” state or a “non-no fault state”

No Fault: The med pay (depending on their policy limits) will pay either some or all of your medical bills regardless of whether you’re at fault or not. If the bills exceed the policy and the injury is deemed “serious” you can make a liability claim against the driver who’s at fault, but you’ll still need to acquire a source of payment for the medical bills in the meantime.

Non-No Fault: Nevada falls into this category so plenty of car accident lawyers in Las Vegas, Nevada have to abide by these rules. In “fault” states you must sue the driver who caused the accident so that their car insurance company pays your medical bills. However, unlike “no fault” states, if you’re found at fault for the accident, the opposing party’s insurer won’t pay a thing. If you know you’re not at fault, the best way to make sure the other driver’s insurers pay up is by establishing that you’re not at fault early. Make sure you get evidence at the scene if you can. Get witness reports and take pictures, and if all else fails write down your own recollection of the accident. Whatever it takes to prove your innocence, cause if the other driver’s insurance isn’t paying, you will.



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