Can I Use My Personal Health Insurance if I Get Injured in a Car Accident?
If you suffered a vehicle accident in North Carolina, you might face a long, painful recovery and staggering medical care costs. Who will cover your medical expenses, and can you use your personal health insurance after accidents?
Using Your Personal Health Insurance After a Car Accident
In short, you can — and should — use your personal health insurance following a car accident. Personal health insurance in NC works on a no-fault basis. It covers your medical treatment no matter who caused the accident.
Using your health insurance gives you instant access to your primary care physician and any specialists you need to see based on your condition. It can also protect your credit from medical debt.
Who Covers Medical Costs if Another Driver Was Responsible?
If your accident and injury occurred because of someone else’s negligence, the at-fault driver’s insurer is ultimately responsible for covering your accident-related medical costs. However, this is just part of what they pay as the liability insurance policy pays for the “personal injury claim”, which includes claims for past AND FUTURE medical bills, past and future lost wages, and additional tax-free payment for pain and suffering. At the conclusion of the injury case when the victim is paid for all aspects of a personal injury claim, the insurer makes a payment toward the medical bills. However, sometimes there is not enough insurance to even pay the medical bills. Under our mandatory insurance laws, NC drivers must carry liability coverage of $30,000/person and $60,000/accident. While we often find hidden coverage or commercial policies with much higher limits, the fact remains that in some cases, there is not enough car insurance coverage to cover and pay all accident-related medical bills.
It is typically a mistake to settle a personal injury case before medical treatment is concluded. Also, liability insurance that pays the injury claim will not pay medical expenses as they are incurred. They only pay the single lump sum settlement, which is usually paid after all treatment is concluded. In the meantime, you may have to deal with ongoing medical costs like hospitalization, surgery, doctor’s visits, prescription meds, and physical therapy.
Using your personal health insurance after accidents can help cover these medical bills without delay so that you can afford necessary medical care with fewer out-of-pocket costs. If you have a MedPay policy (a portable health insurance policy that will be on the vehicle you occupied and/or your family car insurance policies in your household), you can also use this policy to pay for medical expenses along the way.
At the same time, you can start your claim process against the at-fault driver and their insurance provider. Your health insurance company will sometimes claim a right to reimbursement for the medical bills it covers from any future payout you collect, but we always make them prove that they have this legal right to reimbursement, and we also seek to negotiate a discount in their reimbursement claim if they do have a right to share your settlement money.
What if You Were Partially Responsible for the Accident?
North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, which means you aren’t entitled to any settlement if you share even part of the fault for the accident. Insurance companies often try to deny claims based on alleged contributory negligence. Case investigations may take a long time, so it’s typically best to use your insurance for immediate help with medical costs.
Do You Need an Attorney To Settle Your Car Accident Claim?
Even if you believe you have a straightforward case, consult an experienced personal injury attorney before starting your accident claim. As a former insurance adjuster, attorney Carl Nagle of Nagle & Associates Personal Injury Trial Lawyers knows that insurance companies routinely deny or underpay legitimate claims. You need a skilled attorney to advocate for your interests throughout the claim process.
An experienced personal injury and insurance law attorney can:
- Assess your case and evaluate the worth of your claim
- Handle the entire claim process so you can focus on recovery
- Work hard to reach the maximum possible settlement on your behalf
- Negotiate with your health insurance company to bring down reimbursement liens and increase your total payout
- Represent you at trial if settlement negotiations fail
Call Nagle & Associates Personal Injury Trial Lawyers for Legal Assistance
At Nagle & Associates Personal Injury Trial Lawyers, we focus on helping North Carolina accident victims coordinate health benefits and use the full extent of personal health insurance after accidents. If you suffered an auto accident in NC, call (866) 631-2228 to schedule a free case review and start working on your claim.