Who pays for my medical bills if I am injured in a car crash?

Did you know that neck injuries are some of the most common injuries in a car collision? They are also frequently ignored until you realize that they’re not just going away and they really affect your ability to think and do normal, everyday things. Regardless of whether you’ve suffered a neck injury, if you are hurt in a car crash in Washington state, you should see a medical provider. There are usually three ways your medical bills can get paid. First, your medical bills could be paid by your car insurance. Under Washington law, all car insurance agents are required to offer Personal Injury Protection benefits (“PIP”) when you buy individual car insurance. PIP is a type of coverage that pays for medical bills and even lost wages after a car crash. The great thing about PIP is that you do not have to pay co-pays or deductibles to providers, and you don’t have to search for a specific “in-network” provider. Also, PIP will pay for medical treatment and lost wages even if you caused the crash. If you caused the crash, you do not have to pay your car insurer back. If someone else caused the crash, they will be responsible for paying back your car insurer.

Second, if you don’t have PIP, your medical provider can bill your health insurer. Health insurers will pay for medical treatment related to a car crash, but you’ll likely be responsible for co-pays and meeting your out-of-pocket deductibles for treatment. Like PIP, if you caused the crash, you do not have to pay your health insurer back. However, if someone else caused the crash, your health insurer will demand repayment.

Finally, if you do not have PIP or health insurance, your medical provider may agree to wait until you settle with the at-fault party before they are paid. This is sometimes called “treating on a lien”. A lien is a promise between you and your medical provider. You promise to pay the provider out of any money you receive from the person that caused the crash and the provider promises to hold your bills for an unknown period of time. Although liens can be helpful, there can be some significant downsides and risks that you need to understand before agreeing to a lien.

Navigating payment of medical treatment after a car crash can be complex. Many medical providers in the Tri-Cities either don’t know how to bill PIP or won’t offer medical treatment on a lien. But, don’t worry, any of the personal injury attorneys at Anderson Law can help you understand your rights and duties. If you have been in a car crash in Washington, give Anderson Law a call at 509-734-1345 for a free consultation.

About the author: Brian Anderson

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