Who Pays My Medical Bills After a Car Accident in Connecticut?

Driver suffering arm injury from car collision.

Like most states, Connecticut has an at-fault or fault-based insurance system. This means if another driver caused the accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical expenses and other losses from them by filing an insurance claim. However, you may have other options for financial recovery.

Is Connecticut a No-Fault State?

Connecticut is not a “no-fault” state. It is a fault-based state, meaning any driver “at fault” for the crash will be financially responsible for other parties’ accident-related costs. Any party injured in the accident can file a claim against the at-fault driver, including:

  • Other drivers
  • Passengers
  • Bicyclists
  • Pedestrians

If a claim succeeds, the responsible driver’s liability insurance usually covers the amount up to the policy limits. Most cases settle out of court through negotiations between lawyers and insurance teams, though some go to trial. Your lawyer will prepare your case as though it could go to trial so that they’re prepared for every possibility and the insurance companies know they mean business.

You may find that you will have to file a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver to pursue the full compensation you are owed. An attorney can help you through this process to ensure your expenses are covered.

What Happens If the Driver Who Hit Me Had No Insurance?

If you’re hurt in a car accident and the responsible driver has insufficient or no liability coverage, you can seek compensation through an uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claim. Every auto liability policy in Connecticut must include UM/UIM coverage.

State law requires UM/UIM coverage limits to equal a policy’s bodily injury liability limit. However, you can carry up to double your bodily injury coverage limit. This means you likely have at least $25,000 per individual and $50,000 per accident in UM/UIM coverage.

Pursuing a settlement from an uninsured motorist can be tricky. You can still file a lawsuit against the other driver. But instead of their car insurance policy covering your compensation, your settlement or award will be their personal responsibility. Those who do not carry insurance might not be able to afford it, meaning they simply cannot afford to pay the judgment against them. Your lawyer can work with the judge hearing your case to explore several ways to get reimbursed for your losses, such as garnishing the defendant’s wages.

Could I Use My Health Insurance to Pay My Bills?

It depends. If you have medical payments coverage under your own auto policy that would be primarily responsible for your medical bills. Once that coverage is exhausted, you can then turn to your health insurance to pay your bills.  Your attorney will ensure to include any outstanding medical bills, co-pays or deductibles as part of your case.

What Is MedPay?

Medical payments coverage (MedPay) is a type of optional insurance coverage that pays for your medical expenses after an accident, no matter who is at fault. You can add it to your insurance policy for an extra premium. However, Connecticut does not require you to have it.

If someone with MedPay insurance gets into an accident, their policy can cover their personal medical expenses up to the policy limits. Coverage extends to the policyholder, their passengers, and household family members, even if the policyholder caused the accident.

Unlike your health insurance policy, there are no annual deductibles or copays to satisfy before MedPay benefits kick in. But once you hit your limit, you must rely on your health plan or personal finances for any remaining medical expenses.

Will My Medical Expenses Be Paid Right Away?

Your car accident attorney probably won’t begin legal proceedings against the other driver until you’ve reached the maximum medical improvement (MMI) for your injuries. MMI means your injuries have stabilized and are unlikely to suddenly get worse. At this point, their overall cost should become more clear.

Getting to this point can take just a few weeks or months, depending on how extensive the injuries are and what kind of aftercare treatment you need – like surgery or physical therapy sessions. But your doctors need to be paid and usually won’t wait months. You have several options to pay your bills, including asking your lawyer to write a Letter of Protection (LOP) to your physician that guarantees payment and helps you avoid going into collections. Note that not all medical providers will accept an LOP.

What Is a Letter of Protection?

Letters of protection (LOPs) are contracts that lawyers draft on behalf of their clients as part of the car accident case process. They serve two key purposes:

  • Notifying your doctors that you’re actively pursuing compensation in court for your injuries
  • Assuring them that they’ll be paid for their services from the compensation you receive

An LOP allows you to pause medical-related collection activities and gives you some immediate financial relief while you wait for your settlement. However, not every doctor will agree to treat patients on an LOP basis – and having one doesn’t remove your obligation to pay the bills. Your lawyer can help you arrange payment plans or explore other possible sources of compensation if necessary.

Who Else May Be Responsible for My Medical Expenses?

Sometimes, filing an insurance claim through your own or the other driver’s insurance isn’t the only option. Depending on the circumstances of your case, several other parties could share liability for your car accident injuries. You could be able to pursue compensation for your medical bills and other losses from at-fault parties like:

  • An auto parts manufacturer who produced defective parts
  • The at-fault driver’s employer if they were working at the time of the crash
  • A government entity responsible for maintaining the roads

An experienced Connecticut car accident lawyer can review your case and determine all possible sources of financial recovery.

Are There Issues That Could Affect Me Getting the Money to Have My Medical Bills Paid?

A few things hinder the payment of your medical bills. While getting the at-fault driver’s insurance company to pay your bills should be straightforward, certain issues could complicate matters, such as if:

  • The other driver didn’t have insurance or was underinsured.
  • The at-fault driver left the scene of the accident.
  • The other driver contests the blame for the crash.

Remember, the other driver’s insurance company is not on your side and will try many tricks to deny or minimize your claim. The insurance adjuster may claim:

  • You caused the crash, not their customer.
  • Your injuries were pre-existing and not caused by the collision.
  • You aren’t hurt, or you’re exaggerating how badly you’re injured to get a larger settlement.

Anything you do and say after the accident can be used by the other driver’s insurance company as “proof” that you are responsible for the crash. That’s why you should consider leaving all communication with the other party’s insurance company to your Connecticut car accident lawyer. They know the tricks insurance companies pull and can protect your rights in each discussion.

It’s important to know that the other driver’s insurance does not have an obligation to pay your medical bills unless and until they accept responsibility for your claim. It may take months or years for that to happen.

What Other Losses Can I Recover Through a Car Accident Claim?

After a car accident, you can pursue compensation for various other losses besides medical bills. These might include the following, depending on your situation:

  • Lost wages – Your lawyer can use pay stubs, bank records, and other documentation to calculate and seek compensation for any income you’ve lost as a result of your injuries. This can include regular pay, bonuses, commissions, and even projected losses in your lifetime earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering – Physical pain and emotional suffering are “non-economic” losses with no fixed monetary value. However, the law still allows you to seek compensation for them. Your lawyer can use their knowledge of your situation and typical settlements in your area to calculate a reasonable amount for your pain and suffering.
  • Property damage costs – Compensation in a successful car accident claim can also go toward repairing damage to your vehicle. If your car was totaled in the crash, this money can cover rentals, towing, and replacement costs.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Connecticut?

According to Connecticut’s statute of limitations, you have two years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

A two-year deadline might seem generous at first. However, remember that building a strong case takes time. Your lawyer needs to investigate what happened, discuss the case with subject matter experts, and negotiate with insurance companies before they file a lawsuit. The sooner you reach out to a lawyer, the more time they’ll have to prepare.

Contact a Connecticut Car Accident Lawyer

If you’re struggling to pay your medical bills after a car accident in Connecticut, contact the attorneys of Jainchill & Beckert, LLC to learn more about your legal options. Our team has more than 55 years of combined legal experience. With our collaborative and personalized approach, you can count on us to pursue justice on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our Connecticut car accident lawyers to learn more.

Aaron has been practicing law throughout Connecticut for over two decades. In that time, he has developed a strong reputation for providing both excellent and compassionate legal representation to every client that passes through our doors. He has litigated cases in nearly every courthouse in the state, and our clients benefit from his deep knowledge of the law within his practice areas and beyond.  

Reflecting the high quality of his services, he has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. This honor is granted to fewer than 100 attorneys in the state, as well as fewer than 4% of attorneys nationwide. Aaron graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1995 and the Western New England University School of Law in 1998.