Car accidents can be traumatic experiences, both physically and financially. Even with insurance coverage, the aftermath of a serious collision can result in substantial medical bills. What happens when your medical expenses surpass your insurance policy coverage? This situation can feel overwhelming, but there are steps you can take to navigate the financial aftermath in an effort to help ensure you receive the care you need.

Q: What does it mean when my medical bills surpass my policy’s coverage? 

A: Every car insurance plan comes with a capped amount of money it will pay to its insured to cover their medical bills. Traditionally, the higher your monthly premium, the more of this coverage you have. But even so, there are always limits to what an insurance company will pay back to you for your bills. So sometimes, when someone is involved in a particularly bad accident that results in grave injuries calling for extensive amounts of expensive treatment, those medical bills can actually surpass how much your insurance policy will cover, leaving you feeling helpless to pay the remainder out of your own pocket.

Q: What kind of insurance policy should I have in order to make sure I’m covered?

A: No policy will guarantee absolute coverage of all medical bills no matter their cost, so choosing the type of insurance that’s right for you depends on a lot of personal factor, such as how much coverage you believe you need, and how much you can afford. If you don’t do a lot of driving, you might need less coverage. If you believe you’re more prone to accident and injury, you might opt for more. In any case, it’s important to understand the different types of car insurance available when it comes to medical coverage, such as personal injury protection (PIP), liability insurance, uninsured motorist coverage, MedPay, medicine, GAP insurance, and more. The more coverage you add, the higher your premiums will be, but it will give you more coverage should you be involved in an accident and suffer injuries.

Q: Will other types of insurance help me cover my accident injuries?

A: It is possible to explore other options for covering your car accident medical bills. For one, if the other person involved in the accident is the one who caused it, but their insurance isn’t sufficient to cover your bills, you may be able to use your own MedPay to cover the difference. You can also sometimes access your underinsured motorist coverage to help pay for your own medical bills. And though it’s not an avenue we always recommend, if needed, you can also explore using your own health insurance coverage (rather than car insurance) to cover your medical bills. But this doesn’t always help with avoiding paying your bills out of your own pocket, because health insurance providers will use subrogation to try and recuperate the coverage costs they spent.

Q: Can I negotiate with my insurance provider to try and gain more coverage after an accident?

A: Though it’s unlikely that your insurance provider will make exceptions or changes to your policy that are in your favor after an accident, sometimes you can negotiate with the medical facilities themselves. Many hospitals and doctors’ offices are often willing to work with patients to establish payment plans or reduce charges, especially if you’re facing financial hardship. This isn’t a guarantee though, so it’s not a tactic you should readily rely on if you can help it.

Q: Do I have other options for coverage outside of my insurance policies?

A: If you’ve exhausted all other means of trying to get the financial coverage you need after you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may have the option to file a lawsuit against the responsible party to seek additional compensation. But there are certain qualifying parameters that you must meet in order to file a lawsuit, such as there being another party at least partially at-fault for your injuries, or that you actually have proof of needing all the medical treatment that you’re seeking coverage for. In other words, if you decide to get an MRI that your doctor doesn’t recommend you need, then you won’t be able to get compensation for the cost of it via your insurance or a lawsuit.

Q: What can I do to make sure I’m covered before I’m involved in an accident?

A: Always thoroughly review your insurance policy at least once per year to make sure it still consists of what you need most. Understand the limits of your coverage, including liability limits, MedPay coverage, and any other relevant provisions. Knowing what your policy covers and what it doesn’t can help you assess your situation more accurately and plan ahead for possible accident scenarios.

Q: Do I need a lawyer to help me gain all the coverage or compensation I need?

A: You don’t technically need a lawyer to help you recover the costs of your injuries and medical expenses, but it’s highly recommended that you seek one out, especially if you’re having trouble getting the full coverage you need. A car accident attorney can help you work with insurance providers or the at-fault party, or can file a lawsuit if it comes to that. These kinds of cases might seem cut-and-dry at first, but they have the potential to get very complicated very quickly, especially in matters of money. When you’re in the midst of trying to recover, those complications can get especially overwhelming, so it’s always recommended to work with a legal expert who’s going to work hard to get you the very best outcome possible.

Q: If I hire a lawyer to help me, what should I be doing to still help myself?

A: Throughout the process, it’s crucial to document everything related to your accident and medical treatment. Keep copies of medical bills, insurance correspondence, police reports, and any other relevant documents so you can provide them to your attorney. This documentation will be essential if you need to file a claim or pursue legal action. It’s also imperative that you take good care of yourself. Prioritize your physical and emotional well-being above everything else by following your doctor’s treatment plan and attending follow-up appointments. Taking care of yourself is the very best thing you can do while your personal injury lawyer takes care of the rest.