If you’re injured in a car accident in Maryland, the at-fault driver is liable for your medical bills. State law requires motorists to carry personal injury liability auto insurance for such expenses, and even drivers most companies won’t insure can purchase coverage from Maryland Auto Insurance (formerly known as MAIF). You may file a claim for damages with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, but doing so doesn’t guarantee all your bills will be paid or in a timely fashion because:
- You probably won’t get a settlement until you’ve recovered completely.
- If the negligent driver has only the minimum liability coverage of $30,000 required by law, your bills could exceed that amount.
- The insurance company might dispute your claim.
Your healthcare providers expect to be paid on time. If they aren’t, they could turn your accounts over to collection agencies, which means:
- Harassment by the agencies
- Possible wage garnishment
- Damage to your credit rating
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the at-fault driver’s coverage limits leave you with outstanding bills, you may file a personal injury suit against that driver for the balance of your medical expenses. Even if the driver has the assets to pay you, however, a suit can drag on for a long time, and healthcare providers expect to be paid promptly. If the driver doesn’t have the assets to pay you, a favorable judgment won’t guarantee you the money to pay your expenses. You can’t get what the at-fault party doesn’t have.
Other Responsible Parties
There are certain situations where responsibility for your accident could be shared by more than one party. For example:
- If you’re hit by a commercial vehicle, there may be multiple defendants.
- A vehicle/parts manufacturer may be liable if defective equipment caused the crash.
- A local/state government agency may be responsible if dangerous road conditions led to your wreck.
- A bar, restaurant, or social host who served the at-fault driver alcohol may be held liable if drunk driving was a factor in your accident.
In such cases, you can file a claim for compensation and/or file suits against any of the parties. It’s helpful to have legal representation if you’re trying to recover damages from multiple sources.
Your Insurance Company
The uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) motorist protection on your insurance policy could cover a portion of your medical expenses. Your policy also includes add-on, no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) unless you’ve waived it. PIP covers medical bills and up to 85% of lost wages. You can file a PIP claim with your insurance carrier and provide the claim number to:
- Your doctor(s)
- The hospital
- Other healthcare providers
They will bill your insurance company directly, but your PIP probably has a coverage limit of only $2,500 unless you’ve opted to pay for a higher cap. Even if this is enough to cover your lost wages, it might not be sufficient to pay your medical expenses if your injuries are severe.
Your Health Insurance Carrier
Once you’ve used up your PIP coverage, you may submit outstanding medical bills to your health insurance carrier, but you’re likely to be charged a co-pay/deductible amount. Even if your bills are fully or partially paid by your PIP and/or health insurance, you’re still entitled to claim all your medical expenses (even those already paid) from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Once you receive that compensation, you’re not required to repay your insurance company for PIP coverage, but you are responsible for reimbursing your health insurance carrier, which will have a subrogation claim against your settlement for the amount it has paid to your healthcare providers. If you have no health insurance, your providers might agree to wait for payment until your claim against the at-fault driver is settled. However, you and your attorney could be required to sign an authorization and assignment (A&A) contract, which essentially gives your providers a lien against your settlement when you receive it.
If you’re injured by someone other than a co-worker while you’re driving a company vehicle or your own vehicle for work-related purposes, you should be able to file a workers’ comp claim with your employer’s insurance company for your medical bills and lost wages. This claim is separate from your personal injury claim.
Have You Been Hurt in an Accident in Maryland?
An experienced car accident attorney can help you find all sources of compensation for your medical bills. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call us to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.