Medical costs can mount quickly in the wake of any serious automobile accident. Emergency room visits, diagnostic testing, physical therapy and pain management expenses can escalate, spiral, and become overwhelming.
If there is a party deemed or determined to be “at-fault” for causing an accident they are ultimately responsible for the payment of all of your medical expenses.
In the most common scenario that at fault individual will have liability insurance that is designed to compensate you fully for the medical expenses that you have occurred. Having said that insurance companies routinely dispute whether or not medical services were necessary at all, and even if accepted as necessary, that same insurance company will then argue that the charges were excessive. Although it is true that an at-fault party or their insurance company is always ultimately responsible for compensating you in full for your losses, it is vital to realize that this insurance company will not pay your medical expenses on an ongoing or on an “as-incurred” basis. Rather, you will be compensated at one time at the end of the case whether by way of settlement or a verdict handed down by a court.
The difficulty confronted by many people in this situation is obtaining needed payment for the medical expenses as they are incurred and while treatment is ongoing, but before the case is resolved. In these situations there are three primary sources of upfront as incurred payment.
The injured individual’s own personal injury protection [or PIP] benefits on their policy are available to pay medical expenses up to the amount of the policy limit- in Maryland typically $2,500.
If the insurance individual has private health insurance, they may pay for the medical expenses as they arise, but will later have a right to recovery a subrogation interest, or a lien, on the person's financial compensation from the at-fault partiy’s insurance company.
Finally, if the individual is the recipient of a government funded health program such as Medicare or Medicaid, those entities may pay medical expenses as they are incurred as the result of an accident, but likewise will have a right to reimbursement at the conclusion of the case from any settlement or judgment.