When a person is critically injured in a catastrophic car accident, they’re not thinking about how they will pay the resulting medical bills. First responders assess the situation and call for whatever help is needed to save the person’s life, and victims often have little choice about whether or how they receive lifesaving treatment.
Sometimes following a catastrophic crash on a highway or remote location, a victim must be airlifted from the scene to the hospital. Air ambulances save lives every day, but they are not cheap. If you were airlifted from a car accident site and were billed for the cost, you should not have to pay for the transportation if the crash was not your fault. Our Indianapolis car accident lawyer details further.
How Air Ambulance Services Work
Air ambulances—also called medevac services—are privately-owned medical transportation companies. An air ambulance might be called if a trauma patient needs to be evacuated from an accident scene quickly and a ground ambulance cannot reach them fast enough. As the patient, you have no say over which company responds or which hospital they take you to, even if you are conscious and able to speak.
While you might have some coverage for emergency transportation in your car insurance or health insurance policy, you may not get in-network services and could face considerable out-of-pocket expenses. In 2017, the median cost of helicopter ambulance transport was $36,400. If your insurance does not cover the total amount, the air ambulance company could directly bill you for the difference.
Who Should Pay the Bill?
If you were at fault in the accident that left you injured, payment of the air ambulance bill will be your responsibility. Fortunately, the federal No Surprises Act that went into effect on January 1, 2022, says that privately-insured patients can only be charged their in-network deductibles and copayments if they’re transported by an out-of-network air ambulance company. The act bans “balance billing,” or billing the patient for the difference between the air ambulance’s fee and their insurance coverage.
However, if another driver was at fault for causing the accident, they and their insurance company should be accountable for paying your damages, including emergency transportation. When you work with an experienced car accident attorney at Keller & Keller, you can be sure that accident-related expenses like these will be included in the demand for compensation from the at-fault party.
Typical Catastrophic Injuries
Any number of car accident injuries could warrant transportation by air ambulance. Some typical catastrophic injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause total or partial paralysis, loss of physical control, intellectual disabilities, personality changes, depression, headaches, communication deficits, and more. A person who sustains a TBI might need ongoing medical care, educational remediation, physical rehabilitation, and help with daily tasks for the rest of their life.
- Paralysis. A car accident victim paralyzed by the crash faces a lifetime of expensive medical care and tough challenges. In addition to life-saving surgery following the accident, the person will likely need further surgeries, extensive rehab, adaptive equipment, or even admission to a long-term care facility.
- Loss of limb. High-speed, violent crashes can result in the loss of a limb or the need to amputate a badly damaged limb. Some people require rehabilitation, prosthetics, physical therapy, trauma counseling, and other assistance after losing a limb to cope with their new life.
- Multiple traumas. Very often, the full extent of injuries cannot be determined at the crash site. If you are in danger of dying from your injuries, the priority will be on getting you to a trauma center as quickly as possible.
Your life is more important than the bills you might face and who might be responsible for paying them. That’s why you should contact an Indiana car accident attorney to figure it out for you as soon as you or your loved one is able.