When you sustain injuries in a New York City car accident, you may incur significant medical debt to treat your injuries. Medical bills can quickly accumulate after a car accident. Worrying about how to handle medical bills after a car accident can be stressful.

Fortunately, you can seek reimbursement for your medical expenses from the driver who caused the car crash. However, you might not receive money for a car accident claim for more than a year after the car accident. Are you responsible for paying your medical bills from a car accident?

Who is Responsible for Paying Medical Bills After a Car Accident in New York?

A car accident victim may require many different types of medical care and treatment after a car wreck. Therefore, you could receive medical bills for expenses, including, but not limited to:

  • Ambulance fees
  • Emergency room fees
  • Hospital bills for in-patient medical care and surgery
  • Diagnostic tests, including CT scans, x-rays, lab work, ultrasounds, and MRIs
  • Doctors’ bills from emergency room physicians, general practitioners, dentists, surgeons, specialists, radiologists, etc.
  • Cost of occupational, physical, and other therapies 

In addition to the medical bills, you may also incur substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses might include medical equipment, over-the-counter medications, medical supplies, and prescription drugs.

The accident victim is personally liable for payment of medical bills and expenses after a car accident. You might have a legal cause of action against the at-fault driver for damages caused by the crash, including the cost of medical treatment. 

However, the at-fault driver is not responsible for paying your medical providers. Instead, you must pursue a personal injury claim against the driver for reimbursement of your medical costs and other damages. 

Will Health Insurance Pay Medical Bills for Car Accident Injuries?

If you have medical insurance, your insurance provider should pay medical bills related to the car crash. However, you would be responsible for paying co-pays and deductibles required by your insurance policy. Also, the other terms and conditions of your health insurance coverage would apply.

Medicare and Medicaid may also pay medical bills related to car accident injuries. However, the terms and conditions of the insurance coverage could limit the payment of some medical costs. Also, you are still responsible for copays and deductibles. 

It is important to note that if your private health insurance company could seek reimbursement of costs it paid under a subrogation claim. Generally, health insurance policies have a subrogation clause giving the company the right to reimbursement of any medical bills that it paid from the proceeds you receive from a personal injury lawsuit or claim. Medicaid and Medicare have similar subrogation rights. 

Therefore, before you receive any money from a settlement agreement or a jury verdict, you are required to reimburse the health insurance company, Medicaid, or Medicare for any bills they paid for medical treatment of car accident injuries. 

In some cases, your car accident lawyer may negotiate a lower payment for a subrogation claim. However, these parties are not required to negotiate or settle a subrogation claim for any amount less than they paid.

Medical Payment Automobile Insurance Coverage May Help

If you have medical payment coverage on your car insurance policy, it should pay for medical bills related to a car crash. This coverage is often referred to as “Med Pay” or “PIP” coverage. The payment of medical bills is limited to your policy limits and restrictions. 

Because medical payment coverage is a type of no-fault car insurance, it pays benefits regardless of who caused the car crash. Therefore, you do not need to prove fault to receive benefits. In other words, you can file a claim and receive medical payment benefits even though your accident claim is still pending. 

Is There a Deadline for Filing Car Accident Claims in New York City?

New York’s statute of limitations applies to most motor vehicle accident cases within the state. The deadline for filing car accident lawsuits is three years from the accident date. If you do not file your lawsuit before that deadline, you lose your right to pursue legal action against the at-fault party through the courts.

However, there could be cases in which the statute of limitations is tolled or extended, as in the case of a minor victim. Likewise, there are cases where the statute of limitations for filing car accident claims is shorter than three years.

You should never assume the general three-year deadline applies in your case until you speak with a personal injury attorney. A lawyer reviews the facts of your case to calculate the deadline for filing claims and lawsuits.