Pedestrian accident victims need to find adequate medical care as quickly as they can. That isn’t always easy. Emergency care is available for life-threatening injuries, but paying for ongoing care can be challenging for people who lack health insurance.
Fortunately, most pedestrians have health insurance. A policy that complies with the Affordable Care Act will cover all necessary care including surgeries, prescriptions, and rehabilitative medicine. Pedestrian accident victims can rely on their health insurance to cover any treatment that their doctor recommends. Uninsured victims have other options. In either case, seeing a physician and following through on a doctor’s recommendations is important for three reasons.
First, immediate medical care can be lifesaving. Some deadly injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, and organ damage, might not produce severe pain immediately after the accident. Brain swelling or bleeding may not cause obvious symptoms of a severe injury until it is too late to save the victim’s life. Visiting a doctor after a pedestrian accident can make the difference between life and death. Second, medical care promotes healing. When doctors recommend physical therapy or an appointment with a specialist, following those recommendations will help accident victims recover from their injuries more quickly. Third, pedestrian accident settlements often depend heavily on medical records. If an accident victim fails to report pain or discomfort to a doctor during early visits, insurance adjusters will not believe that later reports of pain are related to the accident. If an accident victim fails to follow through on a doctor’s recommendation or stops going to physical therapy, the insurance adjuster will argue that the victim’s injuries must have healed. Continuing medical treatment until the doctor releases the accident victim from care is vital to obtaining full compensation for accident injuries.
Finding an Emergency Doctor After a Pedestrian Accident
If paramedics arrive at the scene of the accident and recommend transportation by ambulance to an emergency room, pedestrian accident victims should follow that advice. If an injury is serious or life-threatening, an emergency room must admit the patient and treat the injury until he or she has stabilized. Patients can be billed for the care, but the hospital is required to evaluate the injury and cannot refuse care to patients who are at risk of death or serious disability.
A pedestrian who has no health insurance should not worry about paying for the ambulance or emergency care. In most cases, the driver who caused the accident (or the pedestrian’s own uninsured motorist coverage) will eventually pay for the treatment. It is better to get the treatment when it is needed than to suffer the consequences of failing to treat injuries.
Finding a Physician After a Pedestrian Accident
If a pedestrian has health insurance, the insurance company can explain how to find a doctor. Some policies allow injury victims to choose any doctor. Many policies require injury victims to obtain treatment from a particular network of healthcare providers. If you have a choice of providers, you can ask friends for recommendations. You can also research the reputations of different doctors online. Pedestrians who have reached the age of 65 can obtain treatment from a doctor who accepts Medicare. Injury victims can apply for Medicare even if they are not receiving Social Security. Minors and some low-income adults with disabilities can apply for Medicaid. Members of the military and veterans may be entitled to treatment from the Veterans Administration, particularly if the accident aggravated a service-related injury.
Some doctors will agree to defer payment until after an accident claim is settled. A pedestrian accident lawyer may be able to refer injury victims to doctors who have accepted deferred payment agreements in the past. An attorney can also explain the advantages and disadvantages of entering into a deferred payment agreement. In most cases, however, injury victims should do everything they can to get the treatment they need.