If you need to go to the hospital or urgent care to stabilize your injuries after a crash, you may be wondering who covers these costs if you were not at fault for the collision. The answer is not as straightforward as one might think.
Fortunately, our knowledgeable Fort Worth-area car accident lawyers are prepared to review your claim and discuss the legal options that may be available to you. The initial consultation is free, and there are no upfront fees. We do not get paid unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.
Call us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.
What is Considered an Emergency Medical Service?
According to the Texas Health and Safety Code, an emergency medical service is one that is in response to an individual’s perceived need for immediate medical care and to prevent death or aggravation of physiological illness or injury.
Under this definition, emergency medical services may include the following:
- Ambulatory transportation to medical care facility
- On-scene medical attention from a qualified paramedic
- Emergency room assistance
- Emergency diagnostic services, such as X-rays or other imaging tests
- Emergency medical equipment for the purposes of stabilizing an injury
If you were injured in an accident and require emergency medical assistance, both Texas and federal law protect your right to receive necessary care with or without insurance. The issue of costs comes in once you receive a bill in the mail for these services.
When Does Liability Insurance Pay Emergency Medical Services?
Texas is an at-fault state. This means that the liability insurance of the driver who caused the collision should cover the costs of your damages, including any emergency medical services you incur.
To do this, injury victims must file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance to recover compensation for damages.
However, the insurance company is going to try and avoid covering these costs. One way insurers deny valid claims is by arguing that emergency medical services were not a necessary expense and that the victim should have taken care to mitigate the extent of his or her economic damages.
While injury victims do have this duty, our attorneys are prepared to help you fight back by arguing that the emergency medical services were required to ensure your injuries were stabilized to prevent further injury. Thus, your duty to mitigate damages was met because you took the necessary precautions to diminish the extent of your injuries.
Can My Own Insurance Cover the Costs of Emergency Medical Services?
While third-party insurance claims are generally the way to pay for your emergency medical service costs, there are some scenarios when you may be able to have these expenses covered by your own insurance.
The first option is to use your health insurance at the hospital or urgent care. Since compensation for your damages after filing a third-party claim does not usually come for a while, most accident victims rely on their own health insurance to pay these costs up front. However, this comes with deductibles and co-pays that must be met before the expenses are covered.
Another option for covering emergency medical costs is your Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This is an add-on option on your own motor vehicle insurance policy. Also known as no-fault insurance, PIP covers medical expenses no matter who caused the collision.
Both health and PIP insurance are optional coverages, and not every accident victim has these options. Therefore, having an attorney on your side who is prepared to help you recover compensation after incurring these costs is important.
Understanding the Texas Hospital Lien Statute
For injury victims who do not have PIP or health insurance to cover the costs of emergency medical services after a crash, the only option may be to pursue compensation from the liability insurance. However, that means the accident victim will receive bills from the hospital or urgent care where he or she was treated. If these bills go unpaid, the medical facilities have the right to send them to collections, significantly impacting the victim’s credit.
With help from an attorney, an accident victim may be able to negotiate a deal to hold off on paying these expenses until he or she successfully recovers compensation. This is where a hospital lien comes into play.
Under Texas law, hospitals have the right to place a lien on a cause of action or claim of an individual who receives hospital services for injuries caused by an accident that is attributed to the negligence of another person. In other words, the hospital is entitled to repayment of their services from the compensation you recover at the close of your case.
Our attorneys may be able to help you negotiate a lien from the hospital that is less than what the costs of services would be had you paid out of pocket.
Injured in a Fort Worth Crash? Call Us Today
If you were seriously hurt in a crash and need help covering the costs of your medical emergency services, you should strongly consider calling our firm today.
Our attorneys are prepared to help you fight back against the liable insurance company and negotiate with the hospital to avoid having your credit affected if you cannot pay the upfront costs.
We offer a free consultation, and there is no obligation to take legal action.
Call (817) 920-9000 to get started.