Q: I was seriously injured in a car accident, who pays for my medical bills and lost wages?
A: Under Virginia law, the at-fault driver’s insurance is responsible for reimbursement of your medical bills and lost wage up the applicable policy limits. However, it is very rare for the at fault driver’s insurance to pay for your bills as they are incurred. You are usually responsible for payment of your medical bills when you receive treatment. You will then get reimbursed for those medical bills at the time of settlement. In most cases, it is best to use any available health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid to pay for your medical treatment after a motor vehicle accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance will still be responsible for reimbursing you for the amount of those bills. And although you may have to repay what Medicare or Medicaid pays, you won’t have to worry about your bills going into collection while your case is pending.
Q: I have been hurt in a car accident, should I go the hospital or see a doctor right away?
A: Immediately after an accident, many people are in a state of shock and do not realize the extent of their injuries. Often what appears to be a minor injury can prove to be much more serious. It is usually a good idea to get checked out by a medical provider if you are feeling any pain or discomfort after an accident. Give the doctor an honest history. If you have had a prior neck or back injury, tell the doctor – it may be important for his or her evaluation and treatment. Don’t delay-it is quite common for accident victims to wake up the next day feeling much worse than they did right after the accident.
If you don’t seek medical attention right away, the insurance company will use that delay against you. They will argue that the delay proves you really were not that seriously injured or that your injuries occurred somehow or somewhere else either before of after the accident.
Q: I have some minor aches and pains but I think I’ll be all right. Should I still see a doctor?
A: Not all injuries caused by vehicular accidents are immediately apparent. Head and brain injuries may not be noticed until days, weeks or months later. Some injuries, such as knee or shoulder trauma, may not be felt while you are resting and not using the affected joint. Sometimes what seems like a minor injury gets worse over time.
Q: What should I do if the insurance company asks for a recorded statement?
A: Do not give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster until after you have spoken to an attorney. The insurance company may use your words against you to deny responsibility for the accident or to later assert that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim.
Q: Should I sign the insurance company’s release form for my medical records?
A: Do not sign any paper work from the insurance company without speaking to an attorney first.
Q: Who pays my claim if the other driver has no insurance?
A: Every policy of insurance sold in Virginia is required to carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage. This coverage protects you if you’re injured by a driver that has no insurance or a hit and run driver.