If you are involved in a car accident, it can be a big relief to learn that the at-fault driver has full insurance coverage. You certainly won’t have to worry about any medical bills, right? Actually, wrong! While it is always a good idea to get the other driver’s car insurance information, it is important to understand how to use it, especially when you are asked for the information about insurance at the hospital after an accident.
The biggest mistake many people make after an accident is trying to give the hospital the other person’s car insurance information instead of their own health insurance. The other driver’s car insurance does not work the same way as your health insurance.
Health Insurance for the Hospital, Car Insurance for the Claim
One way or another, your medical bills have to be paid, even if you are being treated for an injury for an accident that was not your fault. The only question is how much you will pay out of pocket.
Here’s how it works. If you are taken to the hospital after a car accident and give them your own health insurance information, you will pay your policy’s deductible and/or co-pay. Then you will get treatment, go home and contact your personal injury lawyer who will then call the car insurance company. From there, you only have to worry about your accident claim.
However, if you give the hospital the other person’s car insurance information, things won’t go quite so smoothly. The hospital will take the information and will try to process a claim. Then, that claim will be rejected because car insurance companies won’t pay your individual bills; they only reimburse you after the fact.
Once the hospital finds out that they won’t get payment from the insurance company, they are going to come after you for their money for the entire bill, not just the deductible, and medical bills are notoriously expensive. To make matters worse, most health insurance policies require notice of medical treatment within a limited amount of time from the date of the treatment. Your failure to notify them or submit the bills to them within that time period may release their responsibility to pay your medical bills making you responsible for the entire amount.
So the answer to the question of whether you can use the other driver’s car insurance at the hospital after an accident is really very simple: No. Use your health insurance, and your lawyer will help you negotiate with the car insurance company for reimbursement.
Our Illinois and Missouri law firm can answer any questions you may have about hospital liens, insurance coverage or personal injury cases in a free consultation or review of your claim.