Who Pays the Hospital Bills in an Accident?
That’s a good question, and it really depends where the accident occurred. For the most part, the short answer is, at the end of the day, the responsible party that’s held liable, that’s going to be included in the damages that you’re awarded either via settlement or when you get a verdict if you have to go to trial on the issues. Who pays them in the short-term really depends on the state and their laws and what type of insurance coverage you have.
If you get in an accident in Massachusetts, Massachusetts has PIP coverage. It’s a modified no-fault state. What that means is we’ve got a law that says, regardless of fault, if you get in a motor vehicle accident, as long as you’re not on a motorcycle, your own motor vehicle insurance company is going to pay the first X amount of your medical bills, so if you have a private health insurance plan and you get in an accident in Massachusetts, your own Massachusetts motor vehicle policy is going to pay the first $2,000 of your medical bills. If you have either a Medicare plan or a Medicaid plan, they could pay up to $8,000 of your medical bill. Some of that money is also used or it’s available to compensate you for your lost wages under that PIP coverage, the no-fault coverage in Massachusetts.
If you get in an accident in Connecticut or New Hampshire, that type of coverage is not available. You’re just going to have to go through your private health insurance company, unless you have something called Med Pay on your motor vehicle insurance policy. Med Pay is a type of insurance coverage that’s optional that you can purchase when you get your motor vehicle policy. Again, it’s like a no-fault type of coverage, so they will pay for your medical bills regardless of fault up to the amount that you purchased the coverage for. For example, if you live in Connecticut and you’ve gotten in an accident in Connecticut, you might have Med Pay on your policy that will pay the first $5,000 of your medical bills. If you do have that, your own motor vehicle insurance company will be responsible for that first $5,000. Then after that, just as if you were in Massachusetts and the PIP had paid the first $2,000, the rest then gets covered by your private health insurance in the short-term.