Should an at fault auto insurance company pay my medical bills before we settle?

I was involved in a car accident which was not my fault. The auto insurance company that was at fault is telling me they will not pay my medical bills until I settle with them. Is this true? I feel like they should pay them before we settle. What if we settle then they just never pay them?

Asked on May 30, 2012 under Accident Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Paying an injured party's medical bills is part of the settlement; no insurer will pay these bills before having a comprehensive settlement that addresses all claims and liability. Otherwise, they could pay your bills--potentially large ones--and still be sued by your for significant sums of money.

Remember: while you are saying that it is the insurer's insured (e.g. the other driver) is at fault, that is not a legal determination. Until and unless there either is a settlement or court adjudication (a judgment, after trial), there is no legal obligation to pay; therefore, the insurer has every right to refuse to pay your medical bills until there is an overall settlement that it agrees with.

If you have a settlement that includes paying the bills, the insurer will have to pay them; if it does not, you bring a very straightforward legal action, suing on the settlment, which is a contract, to enforce it.


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