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Medical Bills and California Car Crash Insurance Claims

Who Pays Medical Bills After a Car Crash?

Sadly, car accidents can be completely life-changing and they happen on a daily basis. In the state of California, car accident-related deaths occur more frequently than in any other state, with a reported 3,304 fatalities in 2017 alone.

If you are lucky enough to survive, you may be wondering: Who pays for the medical bills after a car accident?  And what if extended care is required? Insurance companies and defendants may make an argument towards “comparative negligence” to lower your reward in a car accident settlement.

It’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Our experienced team of car accident attorneys will make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve in order to cover your medical bills.

Insurance Laws in California 

Due to California’s large population of drivers, strict regulations are enforced. Like in most states, some type of car insurance is mandatory for every vehicle on the road. The costs of these insurance policies may vary depending on region or availability. However, there is a minimum amount of insurance that you must legally have.

  • Bodily injury liability coverage – Insurance companies pay up to $15,000 for the death or injury of a single person and up to $30,000 for multiple victims.
  • Property damage liability coverage – $5,000 minimum required and used to pay for any property your car has damaged.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage – Most insurance companies offer this as an optional coverage at the same rate as bodily injury liability.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage coverage – A $3,500 minimum is given to no-fault parties who have had their vehicles damaged by an uninsured driver. This coverage is only available if the uninsured driver is found.

Fault vs No-Fault States

According to a recent study, the average driver files an insurance claim every 17.5 years. In California alone, there are over 26 million drivers, which is why it is expected for auto insurance claims to be high.

In no-fault states, there is no burden to prove the liability of any party. Alternatively, the insurance company will pay the victim rather than sue the other driver’s insurance company. Although, the law may cap how much you are entitled to or which injuries are covered.

Fault states, including California, require the plaintiff to defend their stance while examining their level of responsibility. Insurance claims are disputed in court and the amount of the car accident settlement is usually measured based on the negligence of both parties.

Waiting for a Settlement 

California law mandates that at-fault parties are responsible for any bodily injury or property damage they cause. A victim’s medical bills may be paid by an individual, the company at-fault, or the guilty party’s insurance company.

Unfortunately, there are cases where the responsible party will attempt to negotiate the car accident settlement for a lower amount. Going to trial can be a long and exhausting process, but most people need their bills immediately to ensure a healthy recovery and optimum quality of life. If the insurance company is playing hardball, there are still a few options that are available to you:

  1. Your private health insurance – Insurance provided by a private company that can usually be found at Health Insurance Marketplaces where they offer many flexible options.
  2. Your government health insurance – Typically low-cost or free. These plans are offered through the state. Examples of these types of plans include Medicare, Medi-Cal, or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  3. Med Pay Auto Insurance – Medical Payments Insurance awards the victim whether they are at-fault or not.
  4. California worker’s compensation insurance through your employer.

Available Damages

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact are only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

West Coast Trial Lawyers will not charge you for a consultation. Our clients are represented on a contingency fee basis. If we do not win, you owe us nothing. There is no financial risk to prevent you from reaching out. Our qualified personal injury lawyers are highly-trained and have extensive experience with cases that are similar to yours. We are committed to helping you resolve your legal issues as quickly as possible while receiving the best results.

If you or someone you know has been injured, reach out to our legal team 24 hours a day by calling us at (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected].

Read More About Car Accidents 
Our excellent team of car accident attorneys have created several resources for you to read through. Feel free to browse these topics and read the ones you would like to learn about more.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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