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

UPDATED: May 30, 2012

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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