Car accidents can leave victims with injuries that can be incredibly expensive to treat. If you were hurt because of an accident that someone else caused, it isn’t fair that you should be the one who has to pay for your medical bills. Car insurance claims and car accident lawsuits often deal with how these bills should get paid and who is responsible for paying them.
After a car crash, Maryland courts can often order the at-fault driver to pay for damages, including medical expenses. Often, their insurance company will cover the payments for them, but that doesn’t always mean that an insurance claim is going to get you all the damages you need.
The Maryland Personal injury attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can investigate your accident case and help you determine the best course of action – and the right parties to hold responsible for your medical bills. Call us at (410) 694-7291.
Who Covers Medical Bills from a Maryland Car Crash?
In Maryland, the law often puts responsibility for the “damages” in a car crash on whatever parties can be considered “at fault.” This means that if you file an insurance claim, the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay for your medical bills. If you instead file a lawsuit, the court can order the at-fault driver to pay. Often, their insurance company is required to pay on their behalf – and sometimes other parties are also required to pay.
Payments from Insurance
Some states use “at-fault” insurance systems, while others use “no-fault” systems. In an at-fault system like the one in Maryland, the driver who caused the crash uses their insurance to cover the injuries of anyone hurt in the crash. You’d usually file a third-party claim against their insurance to get this coverage – which can include payments for medical bills. Contrast this with no-fault states, where each driver’s insurance covers their own injuries regardless of who caused the crash.
Payments in a Lawsuit
If the insurance claim falls short of covering your injuries or the money offered by the insurance company excludes damages for pain and suffering or other damages, you may be better off filing your claim in court instead. In a lawsuit, the court will hold one or multiple parties “liable” after the evidence shows they caused the crash through “negligence.” This often means pointing to traffic violations or other errors behind the wheel that led to the crash.
Once you prove that the other driver was liable, the court can order them to pay any damages stemming from the accident. This will undoubtedly include medical bills if you suffered injuries that were severe enough to need treatment, but it can also include lost wages and pain and suffering damages, as well as damages for vehicle repairs and other property damage.
Holding Multiple Parties Responsible
In some car accident cases, there are actually multiple parties that can split the damages. Courts in Maryland can assign partial fault to all of the at-fault drivers in a crash so that if you were involved in a pile-up or pinned between two cars, you can potentially get damages paid by each driver.
Sometimes other parties can also be held responsible, such as the at-fault driver’s employer. If you were hit by a truck, a taxi, a bus, or some other commercial vehicle, the driver’s employer could be responsible. Transportation companies are often partly liable if their vehicles had equipment malfunctions, if they hired dangerous drivers, or if they committed transportation violations that helped cause the crash (such as overworking their drivers).
Does the Driver or the Insurance Company Pay for Medical Bills in Maryland Car Accidents?
Injured drivers and passengers are often confused about whether the insurance company or the driver pays for the damages in an accident. Generally speaking, a car insurance policy is a contract between the insurance company and the driver they agree to cover. If the claim is filed through insurance, the insurance company will follow the terms of that policy and pay whatever damages are covered. Victims usually cannot get damages beyond the limits of the insurance policy.
If you take your case to court, you file it against the at-fault driver directly. Their insurance policy will typically include an agreement that says the insurance company will provide them with a lawyer and cover the damages – but the case is still filed against the driver directly. If the court finds that the damages you faced are higher than the insurance policy will cover, the driver and the insurance company will have to decide who pays what. In some cases, this could mean you do get additional out-of-pocket damages paid by the defendant directly.
In cases involving large companies like trucking companies or bus companies, suing the company alongside the individual driver can often open access to more damages. Since these companies are more able to pay, courts are often willing to award higher damages if they are appropriate for your case.
If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, they pay out of pocket for damages. Insurance companies are usually in a better position to pay, whereas individual drivers might not have enough cash on hand to pay without insurance. This is why Maryland and most other states require drivers to carry car insurance.
If the other driver and their insurance cannot cover your injuries, your own insurance might have first-party benefits or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that can help cover the rest of the damages for you.
Call Our Maryland Car Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation
After a car crash, it is important to talk to a lawyer about whom to sue and what insurance policies will pay for your injuries. Call (410) 694-7291 to speak with Rice, Murtha & Psoras’ Maryland car accident lawyers in a free consultation.