If you are injured by a negligent driver here in Idaho, and if you don’t have any health insurance, what are your options? Where can you turn for help with your medical expenses – which might be staggering if you’ve been seriously injured?
If you are injured by a negligent motorist in Idaho, the first and most important thing to know is that you must consult at once with an experienced Coeur d’Alene car accident attorney. A good injury attorney will advise you step-by-step until the final resolution of the matter.
ISN’T IDAHO A “FAULT” STATE FOR AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE?
You may be wondering, because Idaho is a “fault” state for automobile insurance, doesn’t the at-fault driver’s auto insurance pay the medical bills if that driver injures someone?
The answer to that question is “yes and no.” The at-fault driver’s auto insurance company will not arrange for any treatment. The insurance company will not send you to a doctor, and it will not pay for your medical bills as they fall due. With rare exception, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will only pay money at the end of the case, either through settlement or jury verdict.
An auto insurance company may insist on resolving your entire claim quickly and completely at a low amount, but you should not settle a case quickly, because your health condition could worsen and then it would be too late to come back for additional money. Therefore do not let the insurance company pressure or intimidate you into acting prematurely.
WHY SHOULD YOU WAIT TO SUBMIT AN INJURY CLAIM?
It could take weeks – maybe longer – for your condition to stabilize. Only then can you begin to determine what your complete medical expenses will be. A little patience will be needed before you file the injury claim.
Meanwhile, you should follow all treatment recommendations. Failure to do so could lead a jury or claims adjuster believe that you are really not hurting.
In the meantime, your health care providers may be insisting on prompt payment. After it’s been filed, a personal injury claim could take weeks to resolve, and there is no guarantee that your claim will not be denied.
If your case does not settle, you may have to go to a jury trial to get monetary compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, etc.
WHAT PAYMENT OPTIONS WILL SOME INJURY VICTIMS QUALIFY FOR?
In the interim, what are an injury victim’s options and alternatives for getting the medical bills paid without health insurance? Listed here are some of the possibilities that may be helpful:
1. PIP insurance
3. a payment plan or medical lien arrangement with your healthcare providers
CAN MEDPAY COVERAGE HELP? WHAT ABOUT PIP COVERAGE?
When a driver in Idaho carries has elected to purchase PIP (“personal injury protection”) coverage when buying insurance, it will cover the medical costs of drivers and passengers involved in an accident – without regard to fault – up to the limits that you selected when you purchased auto insurance. It is always wise to purchase high PIP amounts when buying auto insurance.
If you lose your job or your health insurance due to the injury that you’ve sustained, you may qualify for Medicaid benefits to cover some or all of your medical expenses. Medicaid is state-managed, federally-funded health insurance offered to qualified recipients with low incomes.
Still, it is going to take some time to file, process, and pay a claim, even if you have PIP coverage. While your claim is pending, your incoming medical bills still need to be paid. But how? Keep reading.
AFTER AN ACCIDENT, WHY IS A MEDICAL EXAMINATION SO IMPERATIVE?
If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, it is absolutely imperative to receive medical attention at once. If you are clearly seriously injured, you will probably be treated at the scene or taken to a hospital. But even if you feel healthy and fine, have a medical exam immediately.
A medical examination within twenty-four hours of a traffic accident will discover any latent or hard-to-find injuries. A medical exam will give you peace of mind, and if an injury is discovered, it will create the medical documents that you’ll need if you subsequently take legal action.
If you were injured by a negligent driver in Idaho while you were working or “on the clock,” you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If so, you’ll pay no medical bills or deductibles. In most cases, workers’ comp will pay all of your medical bills and part of your lost wages.
WHAT IF YOU’RE OUT OF OPTIONS?
But if you have no health insurance, if your traffic accident was not work-related, and if none of the other options listed above are available to you, you’ll need to ask your doctor and other healthcare providers if they can treat you and wait to be paid until your case is settled.
If you have hired a personal injury attorney, that attorney can write a letter to the doctor stating that he or she will be paid out of the proceeds of the settlement or jury verdict.
Many of the healthcare providers who regularly work with accident victims know that serious injuries can happen to anyone, so they are sometimes willing to offer helpful payment options or even agree to wait for payment until your personal injury case has been resolved.
These healthcare providers may ask you to sign a medical lien, a legal contract that requires your injury attorney to ensure the healthcare provider is paid from the compensation amount – before you see a cent.
Idaho law also allows medical providers to file a formal lien for payment, even in the absence of your agreeing to do so, if you become late in paying your medical bills.
IF YOU’RE INJURED IN A TRAFFIC CRASH, WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES?
Medical attention is always your top priority after any injury, without regard to who may have been at fault. If a negligent driver injured you, your next priority – after medical attention – is legal assistance.
If you are injured in Idaho in a traffic collision because another driver was careless, after you’ve received medical treatment, speak immediately with an experienced Coeur d’Alene personal injury attorney.
Your attorney will negotiate for the best possible settlement of your claim and may recommend taking your case to trial if no acceptable settlement offer is made.
WHAT WILL IT COST TO LEARN MORE?
Putting a good accident attorney on the case at once is the way to have the matter resolved – and to have your healthcare providers paid – as quickly as possible.
The good news is that if you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, it won’t cost a thing to learn more about your rights. Your first legal consultation with an Idaho accident attorney is free.
If you are an injured victim of negligence in Idaho, and if the medical expenses are starting to pile up, get that legal advice now. That is your right.