Using health insurance after car accident

When you’re the victim of a car accident, there’s a lot to deal with: damaged cars, rental cars, physical pain, missed days of work, and more. But the most common questions we get from clients are about something else entirely: health insurance. When you require medical treatment, therapy, or surgery after a wreck that wasn’t your fault, you may not want to get your own health insurance involved.
Today, our attorneys are helping clear up some of those misconceptions and questions regarding insurance and car accidents.

Q: “If the accident wasn’t my fault, shouldn’t the other driver’s insurance pay for my medical bills?”

A: Yes, the other party’s insurance should pay for your medical treatment, and they will - but not while you’re still getting treatment. Their insurance adjuster will pay your bills at one time, when your case is settled. There is no “pay as you go” process, and they are not legally required or expected to pay each bill as it is received.

Q: “Why should I use my own health insurance to pay my bills? Why can’t I wait for a settlement from the insurance company?”

A: When you are injured in a car wreck, getting medical treatment and recovering from your injuries is the most important thing. Medical providers will not typically treat your injuries without first having your insurance information or another form of payment. If you refuse to give that information, you’ll be locked in a stalemate waiting for a settlement that can’t happen until you receive treatment. You could also damage your case by failing to “mitigate” your injuries.

Furthermore, getting a settlement from the other party’s insurance company is not a quick process. In the meantime, your bills could be sent to a collection agency, leaving you with credit problems.

Q: “Will I be penalized by using my own insurance or MedPay?”

A: In the state of Arkansas, your insurance provider cannot penalize you for using MedPay coverage in an accident where you were not at fault.

Q: “Will I lose money in the long run by using my own health insurance?”

A: Simply put, no. In fact, the opposite is usually true. Insurance companies typically have an agreement with medical providers, so they pay a discounted portion of your medical bills. The insurer will usually file a lien to recover that money once your claim is settled. By using your settlement money to reimburse your insurer, rather than paying each medical provider separately, you will likely pay much less - and that payment will come from your settlement, not your own pocket.

Additionally, Arkansas observes something called the “Made Whole Doctrine,” which states that the insurer’s lien must balance with the victim’s right to be “made whole” after an accident. In other words, their right to recover money is secondary to your right to recover the physical and financial losses you have suffered. Your attorney will ensure that this doctrine is observed so that you are treated fairly and your needs are considered first.

Consult with an Attorney

Because each case, client, insurance company and medical provider is unique, you should speak with an attorney to learn more about using health insurance in your specific case. Taylor King will gladly provide you with a free consultation. Get started by calling 1-800-227-9732 or complete the form on our website.