How To Get Help With Your Medical Bills After An Auto Accident in Atlanta

by The Roth Firm
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You were going about your normal routine. The same thing you do every single day.

You get up, get ready, and you're off to work.

However, this day was different.

You were almost to work, driving through the last stoplight before you turn in to your office.

Your light was green, so you drove through.

But the driver coming the other way didn't notice his light was red, and...

BOOM.

He hits you out of nowhere. You're okay, but you're injured.

You've got to go to the hospital, and you'll have medical bills.

But this wasn't in your budget. You don't have money laying around to pay for the extra bills.

Keep reading to find out how your medical bills will be taken care of after your accident.

First things first.

Before you can do anything else, you need to take care of the basics.

There are certain things you need to do immediately to be sure everyone gets the care they need, and to start establishing fault.

You need to call the police immediately. You'll also need to request emergency medical services if they're required.

Do this first every time. 

You also need to be careful of what you say. Don't apologize for anything. Your words can come back to haunt you.

Even if it was determined that you weren't at fault, if you tell someone you're sorry those words can be used against you in court.

Get the insurance information from the other driver. You will also need to contact your insurance, both auto and health, to get the ball rolling.

Who's At fault in the Accident?

Whoever is deemed at fault will ultimately be responsible for paying all the damages, including medical bills.

In this situation, it's assumed that you're innocent and the other driver is at fault.

However, if the roles are reversed, and you're at fault, you will be held responsible.

A complete investigation will be done to determine who is and who isn't responsible.

That's why it's important to call the police right away and to watch what you say.

It's time to pay.

You've been in an out of the hospital to get your injuries treated, and the bills are starting to pile up.

It's a common misconception that the at-fault driver is responsible for covering the medical bills from the beginning.

That's not true.

Until the investigation is complete, you will be responsible for making the payments.

Most of the time, your auto insurance will help pay for your medical bills.

That's why it's good to have an understanding of exactly what your insurance does and does not cover.

If you don't have auto insurance, you'll have to pay out of pocket.

You have to pay.

This isn't an option. Your bills have to be paid as you receive them.

If you aren't getting help from your insurance while the investigation is taking place, you're responsible.

Sometimes the investigations can take a long time, and you'll need extensive medical treatment while the accident is under investigation.

If you don't pay, the hospital can refuse to keep treating you.

This can affect your long-term health and lead to even more problems down the road.

The hospital can also send your debts to collection agencies which will adversely affect your credit score.

You have nothing to gain by not paying.

No-Fault Insurance.

There are a couple of different ways your auto insurance can help you get your medical bills paid.

There are "No Fault" states, and "Non-No Fault" states.

It's important to figure out which you live in.

No-Fault State

If you live in a no-fault state, your auto insurance will cover all or some of your medical bills regardless of who was at fault.

Georgia was a no-fault state effective 1975 but later that law was repealed in 1991.

Typically, they'll cover up to $10,000 worth of bills.

If you go over their limit, you will be responsible for paying the rest.

If that happens, your health insurance usually kicks in.

Non-No-Fault or At-Fault State

If you live in a state without no-fault insurance, you'll be responsible for paying the medical bills.

Some of these states will have an option for insurance called "med pay."

Atlanta, Georgia has a certain type of at-fault known as “proportional comparative fault.”

What this means, is that each driver involved in the accident has a certain percentage of blame.

If it’s determined that a driver is more than 50 percent at fault for causing the crash, then they are unable to seek any compensation.

This insurance steps in and pays for your medical bills, typically up to $10,000.

However, this insurance isn't required, so if you don't have it, the burden of payment falls on you.

Delayed payments.

This is when having a good attorney will come in handy.

Depending on the accident and your injuries, there's a good chance you'll be left with medical bills to pay.

Whether you don't have insurance, or your bills exceeded the spending limit, the remaining bills have to be paid.

Now it's time to talk to your lawyer.

Any attorney worth his salt will talk to the hospitals to negotiate delayed payments.

This means you won't have to pay anything until the investigation has concluded.

So if you weren't at fault, you wouldn't have to worry about paying anything. 

The bills will be delayed until the investigation is over, and then the at-fault driver will take on the responsibility for them.

Talk to the hospital.

It's always good to have an attorney that can do the heavy lifting for you, but you should speak with the hospital as well.

They might be able to go ahead and set up a payment plan for you in a worst-case scenario where you have to come out of pocket for your bills.

Sometimes they can also give discounts depending on the situation.

This can become pretty complicated, so always be ready to speak to an attorney.

When the at-fault driver doesn't have insurance.

What if you're hit by a driver that is uninsured or underinsured?

They're still responsible for covering all the damages incurred in the accident, but it is often a long and grueling process.

They're still responsible, yes, but receiving the payments becomes much more difficult and very time-consuming.

That's why it's good to be prepared for situations like this.

Most auto insurers will offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

This coverage will help you when the at-fault driver doesn't have adequate insurance.

Getting Financial Assistance.

If all else fails, there are options for financial assistance.

Be very careful here.

While there are options, they can often be challenging to pay back and cost you a lot more in the long run.

Bankruptcy is also an option here.

Bankruptcy will erase all your debt from the hospitals, but it comes with additional baggage.

Financial assistance is an option in a worst-case scenario, but you should do your best to avoid it.

Having good insurance and a competent attorney are the best options to you after a car wreck.

What else can I do?

There are also support groups and non-profits available to people who have been involved in auto accidents.

These are typically filled with empathetic people who want to help you.

The non-profits may also be able to help you with your expenses.

No matter what you do, you need to get your insurance involved ASAP.

The next best thing for you to do is talk to an attorney.

We live in a world where what's fair and what's right don't always happen.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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