Car Accident, Can I Get the Other Person to Pay Damages?

Hi, my name is Carolina Schottland. I am an attorney with Zanck, Coen, Wright & Saladin right here in Crystal Lake Illinois and today we’re going to be talking about personal injury cases and more specifically, car accidents.

So if you just got in a car accident and somebody else was at fault, you might be asking the question: “Will I get somebody else to pay for this?”

Well, the answer is maybe.

There are two kinds of damages that we might look at when you get in a car accident. Property vehicle damages and bodily injury or personal injury damages. Now I practice personal injury damages and so if you get in a car accident I am the type of attorney that you might seek to get oriented in this kind of case. And what I normally tell my clients is that if there is another person responsible for the accident, we will pursue damages against that person or more specifically, through their insurance company.

In theory, the insurance company will eventually pay for the damages of your case. However, that might happen sometime down the road. So there are many things that need to happen before that that you need to be aware of. That leads into the question of – “Well in the meantime, if I get medical treatment who pays for my medical bills?”

We always counsel our clients if they have personal health insurance to always process everything through their personal health insurance. And that could be a private health insurance company or a public health insurance company or public health insurance such as Medicaid or Medicare.

It is important to put this treatment through whatever health insurance that you have for many reasons. There is no protection in personal injury cases in Illinois from a medical treatment provider sending you to collections. So when we finally resolve the case it might be several months after you have initially received treatment which means that you might get sent to collections if nobody pays for those bills.

If you are waiting for the insurance company to pay for those bills, it’s not going to happen until your case is settled. There is nothing in Illinois that forces that insurance company to pay for the medical treatment as it occurs. They will eventually settle the case or ultimately if nothing settles, we might have to file a suit but again that will happen several months down the road. So if you are able to process your medical treatments through your own health insurance company, that protects you from getting sent to collections.

It is also beneficial because when your health insurance company pays for those bills, they generally pay it at a reduced rate which means your medical treatment gets paid 100%. Or, sometimes there is a co-payer, some amount that you have to pay, but it is generally still a reduced rate. Now we will eventually have to repay that insurance provider however it’s usually less than we would have paid originally to the medical treatment provider.

Now when you have bills left over or you have out-of-pocket expenses for that medical treatment, there is another source of insurance that a person might have. This is called a medical payment benefit that you might have through your own car insurance. Your car insurance might be able to cover certain medical treatments or costs associated with medical treatments that you had to pay out of pocket or that aren’t covered by other types of insurance.

So more specifically, what is a medical payment benefit? A medical payment benefit is usually a benefit that you might have paid for with your insurance company. You won’t know you have it until you ask your agent for a declarations page or you go back and look for your declarations page and figure out whether you have medical payment benefit.

Now a medical payment benefit is a non-liability benefit which means that it doesn’t matter if it’s your fault or somebody else’s fault, if you need treatment, your medical payment benefit can cover the treatment costs without too many questions asked. It will need documentation about the accident, they will need more information about perhaps your health insurance but generally this is a source of payments to take care of some bills that won’t otherwise get paid. It is important to immediately call your insurance company so that you can figure out whether or not you have these benefits and you can start to process for getting these benefits paid out.

The attorneys at Zanck, Coen, Wright & Saladin have handled hundreds of personal injury cases, many of them likely similar to your situation. When you come to our office we will give you a free consultation and provide you with earnest and direct information about your choices moving forward with your personal matter. Call us for your free consultation today!