By David L. Duff of Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. posted in About the Law on Friday, March 29, 2019.
If you have ever been injured in an automobile accident, you have already experienced the nightmare of dealing with different insurance companies to have your medical bills paid. Often one insurance company will refuse to pay your medical bills, while pointing the finger of responsibility to another insurance company who, it is claimed, “must pay first before we get involved.” The insurance hassle is frequently more painful than your injuries.
The following is the hierarchy of insurance when paying medical bills:
Rule #1 is that all medical bills are to be submitted first to your HEALTH insurance company for payment. This is true even if you were not at fault in the accident; and, the person who was responsible is covered under a policy of automobile insurance. Do not accept a statement from the hospital personnel or your doctor’s staff that “we won’t bill your health insurance because this is an auto accident.” One has nothing to do with the other. You pay hefty premiums each month for your health insurance coverage – use it!
The next insurance company in the pecking order for payment of your medical bills is the company that provides AUTO insurance for the car you were in at the time of the accident, whether as the driver or as a passenger. Payment of your medical bills by this auto insurance company will depend on whether or not the policy includes “Medical Payments” coverage. This coverage is quite inexpensive, and provides a fund of money to reimburse you for 100% of your medical expenses, up to the limits of coverage in the policy. AND, such payments are in addition to any payments made by your health insurance company.
The final source for payment of your medical bills will be the AUTO insurance company for the person at fault in causing the accident. Most often, payment from this insurance company will not occur until there has been a final settlement, or other resolution, of your personal injury claim. Since such settlement could be many months away, it is important to make full use of the two previously discussed insurance companies.
Hopefully, the foregoing will help ease the confusion in dealing with insurance companies after you have been in an automobile accident. If you would like further assistance, call an attorney at Duff & Kronfeld for a complimentary, 30-minute phone consultation at (703) 591-7475.