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California is a fault-based state. If you are injured in an accident in California that was not your fault, you are not responsible for the medical costs associated with your injuries. The driver who caused the accident bears that responsibility. They or their insurance carrier are required to pay for your medical expenses. Unfortunately, the at-fault party may delay paying those medical expenses and you may need to look for other sources to pay your medical bills and expenses in the interim.
Your medical expenses may be covered under your private medical insurance, through your employer’s insurance, or through Medi-Cal or Medicare. If you do not have any medical insurance or you meet the federal poverty level requirements, California law requires that hospitals offer discounts for medical treatments and services. The hospitals will create a payment plan that works for your specific situation.
Another option is a medical lien to pay for your accident injury bills. A medical lien authorizes payment of your medical bills directly to the health care provider from a settlement or judgment when your legal case is resolved. You are able to receive the health care you need while waiting for the legal process to run its course knowing that the medical provider will be repaid from your lawsuit settlement.
The California Department of Health Care Services has a Personal Injury Program for its clients who are in the process of filing a personal injury action. When the injured party receives a settlement from a liable third party for the injuries they suffered in the accident, the Personal Injury Program recovers funds for related services that Medi-Cal paid on their client’s behalf when they are signed up for Medi-Cal.
If you received Medicaid benefits to pay for medical treatments while you recover from an accident, you are required by law to notify the California Department of Health Care Services about your personal injury claim.
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