If you get injured accidentally because another person was careless, who pays your medical expenses?

This is an overview of your options – and also some of the obstacles you may encounter – trying to pay your medical expenses if you have been unexpectedly injured by another person’s negligence in the state of Idaho.

If you are accidentally injured in Idaho, you are obligated to pay your medical bills when they are due.

Even if someone else was clearly responsible for the injuries that you sustained, that person is not required to pay your ongoing medical expenses as you incur them.

WHAT DOES THE LAW REQUIRE OF THE PERSON WHO INJURED YOU?

You and your attorney may be able to reach an out-of-court settlement with the person who injured you, but the law in our state only requires that person to pay you damages if you file a personal injury lawsuit and if your lawsuit prevails.

When and if that lawsuit prevails, you will be compensated for your medical expenses and lost wages. But negotiations and legal procedures take time, sometimes months, and healthcare providers expect to be paid promptly.

HOW WILL YOU PAY COSTLY MEDICAL BILLS AFTER AN ACCIDENT?

How can you stay on top of costly, ongoing medical expenses until your personal injury claim is resolved? Here in Idaho, that answer will depend on:

1. how the accident happened
2. the extent of your personal injury or injuries
3. the type of insurance coverage that may be available

With those three variables in mind, we are about to take a brief look at the way medical expenses might be paid in Idaho after:

1. a traffic accident
2. a boating accident
3. a non-work-related accident on private property
4. a work-related accident

While most personal injury cases will fall into one of these categories, if you are the person who is injured, for your own case you’ll need the specific and particular legal advice that an experienced Idaho personal injury lawyer can provide.

HOW CAN MEDICAL EXPENSES BE PAID AFTER A TRAFFIC CRASH?

In traffic accidents, coverage for your medical expenses depends on whether you are in a “fault” state or a “no-fault” state. Idaho is a “fault” state for auto insurance coverage.

That means that you are responsible to pay your own medical bills as they become due – even while you are pursuing a personal injury claim.

If you are injured by a negligent driver in Idaho, seek medical attention at once, and then immediately obtain the advice and representation of a good accident lawyer. Your health and your future must be your priorities if you have been injured.

According to Coeur d’Alene personal injury attorney James Bendell, “In a car crash, most people have PIP coverage (Personal Injury Protection). The amounts vary from $3000 up to as high as $20,000 or even more.”

Attorney Bendell explains that “PIP will pay the medical bills of ANYONE in the clients’ car who was injured in the accident. That should be the first place to send your bills. The reason? Unlike Blue Cross, etc., there is no deductible.”

“If you don’t have PIP, or if PIP is exhausted,” attorney Bendell says that you should “submit the bills to your regular health insurance company. Keep in mind that, when the case settles, you will have to reimburse the money that PIP or your own insurance has paid.”

WHAT IS “MEDPAY” COVERAGE – AND WHAT WILL IT PAY?

Some drivers in Idaho may carry medical payment coverage (or “MedPay”). MedPay coverage protects you – at least partially – and without regard to which driver was at-fault for the accident.

MedPay insurance covers medical expenses for passengers and other drivers involved in a traffic accident with the policyholder up to the policy’s limits – typically $10,000 or less.

In Idaho, MedPay limits must be exhausted before any other insurance will pay. After a traffic accident, your health insurance provider should pay any medical bills not covered by MedPay.

However, an injury victim who eventually prevails with a personal injury claim will usually be required to pay back the health insurance company after receiving the settlement or verdict.

HOW CAN MEDICAL EXPENSES BE PAID AFTER A BOATING ACCIDENT?

Although Idaho’s spectacular lakes and rivers are enjoyed by more than 80,000 registered boat owners, there is no legal requirement to carry boat insurance in Idaho, and boat insurance policies seldom include MedPay coverage.

If you are injured in a boating accident in Idaho, you will most likely be looking to your own health insurance and responsible for paying your own medical bills.

If another person’s negligence is the reason you are injured in a boating accident, you should discuss your legal rights and options immediately with an accident attorney.

HOW CAN MEDICAL BILLS BE PAID IN A “PREMISES LIABILITY” CASE?

Premises liability cases – usually involving “slip-and-fall” or “trip-and-fall” injuries – arise from injuries that happen on private property because of a property owner’s alleged negligence.

If there is any possibility that you’ve been injured in a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall accident, you must be examined by a doctor or by another healthcare professional at once.

Victims injured in these situations will be expected to pay their own medical expenses unless the property owner’s property insurance includes MedPay coverage, which will pay for the victim’s medical expenses up to the policy’s limit.

But if you do not seek medical attention right away, and if you choose to take legal action later, the property owner’s attorneys may insist that you weren’t really hurt if you did not seek immediate treatment – and a trial jury might agree.

Get medical attention immediately, and then speak at once with a personal injury lawyer if you are injured in Idaho because a business or any other property owner was negligent.

HOW CAN MEDICAL BILLS BE PAID AFTER A WORK-RELATED ACCIDENT?

If you are injured on the job in this state, you will almost certainly qualify for workers’ compensation benefits which will pay your medical expenses. Under workers’ comp in Idaho, you will pay no medical bills or deductibles related to your on-the-job injury.

You will not, however, be able to file a personal injury claim against your employer. One of the functions of worker’s compensation is to protect employers against injury lawsuits, and in return, employers pay for workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

However, if your work-related injury was caused by a third party – anyone other than your employer or a colleague – you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against that third party with a personal injury attorney’s help.

WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER?

Coeur d’Alene personal injury attorney James Bendell offers this suggestion: “If you are having financial troubles, see if a doctor will treat you with the understanding that he or she will be paid out of the eventual settlement.”

He insists, “The one thing you don’t want to have in your medical file is a doctor’s notation that he prescribed treatment for you (such as physical therapy) but you didn’t follow up and do it.”

Obtaining medical attention is always the immediate and uppermost priority after any injury, without regard to how the injury happened or who may have been responsible.

If you are injured because another person was careless, after you have been examined by a doctor or by another healthcare provider, consult at once with a good personal injury lawyer.

Your attorney will discuss your legal rights and explain all of your options for paying your medical expenses. Your first legal consultation with an accident attorney is free.

If you’ve been injured and the medical bills are piling up, get that free legal advice right away.