If you’re injured in a South Carolina truck accident, you’re likely to be transported to a hospital emergency room, and you might not be able to decide how you’ll get there. Transportation by ambulance could cost from $1,000 to $15,000. Ultimately, the expense of your trip to a medical facility is the responsibility of the party who caused the accident, but getting the bill paid can be a complicated process requiring the help of a truck crash attorney.
Responsibility Depends on Liability
The at-fault driver’s insurer generally bears responsibility for all medical expenses resulting from the accident, including ambulance transportation.
If you’re at fault for the truck accident in which you’re injured, your auto insurance might include ambulance coverage that will pay for your transportation. If you’ve selected optional MedPay personal injury protection, it will pay transportation bills up to your coverage limits. A victim whose car insurance won’t cover an ambulance trip might be able to pay through health insurance.
In many accidents involving a commercial truck and a passenger car, the truck driver is at fault. If you’re transported from a crash caused by a trucker, there might be multiple defendants who share responsibility for your medical expenses, including ambulance transportation:
- Truck driver
- Truck owner
- Trucking company
- Loading dock personnel
These defendants are likely to have sufficient insurance coverage to pay your claim for medical expenses, but the insurers involved are not going to do so anytime soon.
Time Is Not On Your Side
The process of filing an insurance claim and receiving fair compensation for your damages can be slow. If the insurer does offer you a fair settlement, it won’t do so until you’ve completed your medical treatment. Only then can your total health care expenses be calculated or projected. If you’re not offered reasonable compensation, you might have to file a lawsuit and fight in court for a fair recovery. Getting an award will take even longer if you go to trial. Meanwhile, your ambulance bill, as well as other medical bills, will arrive soon and be due long before you get any money from the defendant(s) in your case.
If you don’t pay the bills on time, you might be charged late fees or have your outstanding debt sent to a collection agency. A debt collection could damage your credit rating and cause you other problems, so you want to pay all bills on time if possible rather than waiting for your settlement, which could take months or longer. Again, if you have MedPay personal injury protection as part of your auto insurance policy, it might pay for your ambulance transportation up to coverage limits. If you don’t have MedPay or its limits leave you with an outstanding balance, you have some other options.
If you have health insurance, you can request that your ambulance bill and other medical bills be submitted to your health insurer, which would then be able to recover its expenses through a subrogation lien against your settlement when you get it. Some health insurers, however, will pay for ambulance transportation only if they consider your injuries serious enough to constitute a medical emergency. (Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, internal bleeding, broken bones, and severe burns are examples of injuries requiring emergency treatment.) If using your health insurance leaves you responsible for deductible amounts or co-payments, it’s best for you to pay them on time or set up a payment plan.
No Health Insurance
If you don’t have health insurance, an experienced truck crash attorney might be able to direct you to health care providers who will treat you now and defer payment until you receive your settlement. This type of arrangement is generally based on a “letter of protection” in which your attorney legally promises that you will pay your medical bills from your settlement or jury award when you receive it.
Once you receive your award, your attorney might be able to negotiate with health care providers to reduce your bills in order to leave you with as much compensation as possible. Under no circumstances, though, may your lawyer’s firm simply pay your bills for you while awaiting a settlement. Doing so would be an ethical violation on the attorney’s part.
How a Lawyer Can Help
The complexities of paying ambulance bills and other medical expenses while awaiting compensation for your damages often require the help of an attorney. Your lawyer can guide you through the process of seeking a fair settlement and make sure you observe the statute of limitations and other procedural requirements in the insurance claim process.
Have You Been Injured In A North Charleston, South Carolina Truck Accident?
If you've been hurt in a truck accident you should speak with an experienced South Carolina truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our North Charleston office directly at 843.488.2413 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach, Florence or Charleston office locations.