One of the more unpleasant aspects of getting into a car accident—and there are many—is facing a pile of unexpected, massive, medical bills. Nevada is an at-fault state, which means that, in theory, the party at fault for the accident should have to pay for the costs associated with your injuries and losses.
However, saying that party (or their insurance) should pay is one thing. Actually getting them to pay is another kettle of fish. In the meantime, the bills keep rolling in. Who pays them? Read on to find out.
Initially, It’s on You and Your Own Insurance
Let’s start with the basics: the cost of medical care you receive is on you, at least initially. In a car accident that leaves you badly injured, a first responder and/or hospital emergency room delivers care. If you carry health insurance, the medical provider will likely bill your insurer for those services. You will be on the hook for any deductible, copay, or uninsured expense, which the insurer and/or medical provider will bill to you directly.
In whatever fashion the costs break down between you and your insurance company, these are your debts in one form or another. They are in your name, and if they remain unpaid for whatever reason, they will affect your credit and financial health.
Who Else Might Pay Your Medical Bills
Just because your medical debts belong to you, however, does not mean you should always be on the hook for them. If someone else caused your car accident injuries, then that person or entity, should pay for your medical care. The trick is getting them to pay in full, and as soon as possible, so that the burden of your medical bills does not drown you.
Here are some of the sources of payments that could be available to you if someone else caused your car accident.
The Other Driver’s Liability Insurance
Nevada requires every driver to carry minimum auto liability coverage of 25/50/20: $25,000 for bodily injury or death for one person in an accident, $50,000 for two people injured or killed in an accident, and $20,000 for property damage. The purpose of requiring this coverage is to make sure there is money to pay for injuries a driver causes to others.
After a car accident that was the “other driver’s” fault, the other driver’s auto liability insurance should pay for your past and future medical expenses up to the policy limit. Unfortunately, the minimum $25,000 coverage may not go very far; medical costs can quickly exceed that amount for all but the most minor injuries.
Of course, drivers can carry more than the minimum auto insurance. Also, some other types of common insurance, such as homeowner’s insurance and “umbrella” insurance policies, can also cover a driver for personal liability in a car accident. The best way to figure out what insurance the other driver carries that may cover your medical expenses is to talk with an experienced car accident injury lawyer.
The Other Driver’s Employer
If a driver behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle caused your car accident, then the driver’s employer may also have to pay your medical expenses. Generally speaking, employers in Nevada have legal liability for the actions of their employees that occur within the scope of the employee’s job responsibilities. So, for example, if you get into an accident with a beverage delivery truck, the beverage company itself may have liability for the medical bills you now have that resulted from the actions of its employee who was behind the wheel.
Seeking compensation from an employer enhances your chances of having your medical bills paid in full. Businesses frequently carry liability insurance with limits far higher than individual insurance policies. Businesses also have assets—cash in bank accounts, property, etc.—that could help to pay for your medical expenses. Speak to a lawyer to learn more.
A Third Party
Not all car accidents happen because of the negligent or reckless actions of the “other driver.” Sometimes, the actions of a person, business, or organization far from the accident scene cause a crash. Just because those “third parties” were not behind the wheel of one of the vehicles in the collision does not mean they have any less of a legal obligation to pay for your medical expenses, however. Anyone whose actions cause a car accident can have liability, including (for example):
- Auto parts manufacturers whose defective products (such as faulty airbags or sub-standard tires) cause an accident;
- Drug manufacturers who market drugs without proper warnings that cause drivers unexpected side effects leading to accidents; and
- Road engineers and construction crews who fail to design, build, or maintain safe roads for drivers.
Any party whose actions caused your injuries, and led to your medical bills, should have to pay those bills. An experienced car accident injury lawyer identifies those parties for you and pursues them for payment, either through a settlement or in court.
How to Make Others’ Pay Your Medical Bills
Speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident leaves you injured. There is no need to wait for medical bills to start piling up. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the sooner the attorney can:
- Investigate your accident to identify all of the parties who have a legal obligation to pay your medical bills;
- Calculate the amount of money those parties should pay you, today, to cover not just your past medical expenses, but your future ones, too; and
- Take action to make those parties pay, either through a negotiated settlement or by taking the parties to court.
Acting quickly matters for your financial health and your legal rights. Hiring a lawyer today gives you the strongest chance of recovering every penny of compensation you need to pay your medical bills.
Contact an experienced car accident lawyer today to learn more.
Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101