There are two common questions after a car accident:
- Who will pay for my medical bills and losses?
- Can I use my health insurance?
Unfortunately, finding the answers is not simple. First, if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you are going to wonder who is liable for your costs – especially when you didn’t cause the accident. An injury settlement or verdict from a personal injury claim is perfect, but that does not help you with the bills that you have now. After an accident, you may need to see a doctor for emergency care, follow-up appointments, and possibly even surgeries – all designed to help further your recovery process.
It is crucially important to understand your rights as an accident victim, and to know how a car accident will affect your health insurance coverage – as well as what may happen after you file a claim against the negligent party.
The Guilty Party Does Not Have to Pay Ongoing Bills
If you have been in an accident, you are responsible for medical costs as you encounter them – even if you are in the process of filing a personal injury claim. Naturally, as you seek treatment, medical providers will expect payment from you, even as the victim. Because even if it is known who is clearly at-fault, the law does not require that person to pay. That is why you must file a claim with his or her auto insurance company in order to receive medical reimbursement. The next step would be to seek a personal injury claim for future medical costs as part of your damages.
Understanding Fault Laws
If you have been in an accident, your medical coverage will stake a claim in your personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. That is because Illinois is a fault state for car accidents and insurance. Using the “fault” system, Illinois requires the at-fault driver to pay for medical costs associated with the accident they are responsible for.
While most states are turning to the no-fault insurance coverage, Illinois is still one of the few that has not passed a no-fault insurance law for car accidents. But, they do use the modified comparative negligence tort law; therefore, if you are partially at-fault for the accident and your injuries, your settlement will be reduced based on the amount of fault you are responsible for. For example, if you were responsible for 40 percent of your injuries, then your settlement will be reduced by 40 percent and you must cover that percentage from your own finances.
What About Health Insurance?
If your health insurance company picks up the costs of your medical treatments related to your accident, they will request reimbursement upon completion of your accident claim. Therefore, they will stake a claim against your damages awarded in the case – asking for reimbursement of any accident-related claims that were paid for. But, while you are waiting for your claim to finalize in court, your health insurance could cover your medical costs.
Speak with an Attorney First
Understanding the complex laws of Illinois’ Fault policy is difficult. It is important to identify which coverage the other party has, the coverage that you have, and how this will play a role in filing a claim against the other driver. Speak with a car accident attorney today at Malman Law to explore your options. Our attorneys can help identify which coverage applies, and even help you pursue a claim for your serious and long-term injuries. Call us now for a free consultation or fill out our online contact form with your legal questions.