According to insurance industry estimates, the average American will experience four car crashes in their life. Often it’s just a harmless fender bender, but sometimes the people involved need medical attention. Doctor visits mean doctor bills, and those can add up pretty fast.

Car Crash-Related Medical Expenses in Indiana

The typical ambulance ride in Indiana starts at around $1,000—plus a certain amount per mile for the transportation. The emergency room visit itself can easily add an additional $2,000 to your total bill, and that’s just the start!

If you need X-rays, imaging, medical testing, or surgery, it will get even more expensive. This can seem really unfair—especially if you’re not the one who caused the crash.

The Classic Dilemma: Long Run vs. Short Run

When the bills start to pile up, it’s natural to wonder, Who’s going to pay for all of this? In the long run, the person who’s at fault will be responsible for medical bills. This, however, can create a problem in the short run.

Personal injury cases can take a year or more to get money from a settlement or verdict. Meanwhile, those bills keep adding up, and your credit score keeps getting wrecked.

The bad news is that an attorney cannot stop unpaid medical bills from getting sent to collections. The good news is that there are some options in the short run for dealing with those bills, which ideally means there’s no need to involve a collections agency.

Option One: Car Insurance

For some people, it would never occur to them to use their own car insurance for a crash that wasn’t their fault. After all, shouldn’t the person who caused the collision (or their insurance company) be footing the bill?

Remember that the fundamental purpose of insurance is to make sure you’re taken care of in an emergency. These days, many auto insurance policies have a medical payments clause, commonly known as MedPay.

A MedPay clause commonly covers a certain amount of medical costs—usually in the $5,000 to $10,000 range—even if the crash was not your fault. Be sure to check your policy though. Sometimes MedPay is an optional add-on and not automatically included in an insurance plan.

An important thing to remember about MedPay is that it’s not free money. Whatever you use in MedPay will need to be paid back, ideally with some of the money you win in a successful personal injury case.

Option Two: Health Insurance

Another option when you’re injured in a car crash is to use health insurance. Your health care provider should be able to cover and/or control costs and keep you from being sent to collections. This applies to Medicare and Medicaid recipients as well.

The bottom line here is that if you have health insurance, you should use it. Unexpected injuries are one of the many reasons for getting health insurance in the first place!

The downside to using health insurance is that you’ll first have to meet your deductible, which in some cases can be pretty high. As with MedPay, those expenses will take a chunk out of any winning settlement or verdict in a personal injury case.

Option Three: Pay Out-of-Pocket

This is probably the least attractive option following a car crash. Nobody wants to personally pay for injuries caused by someone else’s carelessness. If you decide to pay out-of-pocket for your medical treatment after a car crash, it’s crucial that you keep track of everything. An attorney will need receipts and records to bring a winning claim to court.

Make the Right Call

If you’ve been in a crash and you have medical bills to pay, there are options available to you. If you have any questions, give us a call at 317-632-3642. Until next time, be safe and watch out for each other.