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Car Accident Medical Expenses Are a Common Cause of Debt

Health care billing statement with stethoscope, bottle of medicine for doctor's work in medical center stone background.

Medical bills due to a bad car accident can quickly add up to thousands of dollars or significantly more. Whether it’s emergency surgery or long-term medical care, all those bills might also explain why medical debt has become so common for so many Americans.

Medical debt in the United States has skyrocketed to $140 billion, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). That figure is nearly twice as much as previous estimates, according to The New York Times.

Medical debt is also one of the most common reasons why people file for bankruptcy. One study estimated that 66.5 percent of people who declare bankruptcy do so due because of medical bills, according to a 2019 academic study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Examples of medical bills from car accidents

Medical bills due to auto accidents can cover a wide range, from ambulance fees to diagnostic medical tests (X-Rays, MRIs, etc.) to overnight hospital stays. Many car accident injuries also require some of the most expensive surgical treatments and medical procedures. According to CBS News, the 50 most expensive medical procedures include some of the following treatments, which are sometimes required for car accident injuries:

  • Spinal cord surgery, which costs $47,166 on average not including fusions of the vertebrae
  • Skin graft surgery, which costs $51,170 on average
  • Facial bone surgery ($55,986 on average)
  • Bone grafting surgery ($59,018 on average)
  • Exploratory laparotomy, to determine if someone has organ damage ($61,957 on average)
  • Craniotomy, in which part of the skull is temporarily removed to expose the brain ($66,935 on average)
  • Spinal fusion ($67,826 on average)
  • Small intestine repair ($72,757 on average)
  • Lumbar spine surgery on the lower section of the spine ($75,361 on average)
  • Liver transplant surgery ($101,240 on average)
  • Exploratory chest surgery, the most expensive medical procedure on average in the country ($137,533 on average)

And even if you don’t need surgery, you might need other medical procedures or treatment soon after your accident or years from now.

Such medical expenses can include:

  • Prescription medications
  • Follow-up doctor’s appointments
  • Physical therapy
  • In-home medical care

Who pays for my medical expenses?

Who’s responsible for paying for your medical expenses has a lot to do with which state you live in. Some states have “no-fault” car insurance. Others have an “at-fault” insurance system.

In a no-fault state, a driver injured in an accident files a claim with their own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault. Pennsylvania is one such state. As a result, you would file your initial claim with your insurance company after your accident.

In an at-fault state, the at-fault party is responsible for compensating injury victims for their accident-related expenses. Ohio and West Virginia are at-fault states. As a result, you would file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, who’s responsible for paying for your accident-related expenses.

But such cases are rarely so straightforward. Sometimes, injury victims in no-fault states still need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. And many times, the at-fault driver’s insurance company in an at-fault state will do everything they can to deny an accident claim, especially when such claims add up to thousands of dollars or significantly more.

Talk to an attorney to learn your legal options

When you have an aggressive attorney on your side, you can decide what happens next. Instead of insurance companies dictating what to do next, you can demand the compensation you deserve for medical bills, vehicle repairs, replacement income, and other accident-related expenses.

We know what’s at stake at Recht Law Offices. That’s because we have years of experience fighting for the rights of car accident injury victims in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Founded in 1952, our law firm has the knowledge, the experience, and the drive you need to succeed. Discover what we can do for you after your car accident. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation at our law firm. We have two offices conveniently located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Weirton, West Virginia.

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