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Who pays your medical bills after a car accident?

When it comes to auto accidents in West Virginia, people have many misconceptions. One of the most common is that the at-fault driver (or his or her insurance company) will pay all the medical bills while the case is pending.

This simply isn't true. Even if the other driver was clearly at fault, his or her insurance will not pay for you to go to the doctor or obtain other medical treatment - at least not until you reach a settlement or obtain a verdict in a personal injury case.

So what are you supposed to do in the meantime? You can't wait on the hospital's doorstep until your case is resolved. You can't put your health in further jeopardy by ignoring the immediate medical care that you need.

Thankfully, you may have several options. Depending on your particular situation, you may be able to use one or more of the following to pay for your immediate medical bills:

  • Private health insurance - Medical providers will often bill your own health insurance company first (assuming you have health insurance coverage).
  • Medical payments coverage - You may have "med pay" coverage as part of your own auto insurance policy. According to Allstate, this type of coverage can help pay for hospital bills, surgeries, nursing care, prostheses and other medical expenses for you or your passengers, regardless of which driver was at fault.
  • Workers' compensation - If your car wreck happened while you were driving on company business, workers' compensation insurance provided by your employer may cover your medical expenses.
  • Medicare or Medicaid - If you meet certain criteria, you may qualify for one of these types of government health coverage.

It's very important to realize that whichever option you choose - whether private insurance, government insurance, auto insurance or workers' compensation insurance - the insurance carrier will ultimately want to be reimbursed.

For this reason, it's wise to get an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. He or she can help negotiate the terms of this reimbursement. In some cases, an attorney can also negotiate with the treating physicians and persuade them to accept payment at a later date.

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