West Virginia roads can be confusing, slippery, and dangerous. As a lawyer in Morgantown that represents accident victims, we’re asked the same question nearly every time a new client comes to us after they have been injured in a car crash. SHOULD I USE MY INSURANCE IF I’VE BEEN INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT?
The shortest, safest answer is “Yes”. This probably seems unfair on its face, but at the resolution of your claim, using your own insurance is almost always the better financial decision. Here’s why.
When you are injured by another driver in a car wreck, the other driver’s insurance company is responsible for your medical bills, along with other types of damages. However, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will not pay for any of your medical expenses until after you have agreed to release the driver from all liability. Until that time, your bills will remain unpaid.
Many times, this will result in a hospital or doctor’s office submitting your unpaid bills to a collection company. Even worse, sometimes the medical provider will sue you for unpaid bills before you have completely recovered or even finish with your treatment. We have seen many of our clients end up in this very situation before we are called to help, even after just a couple of months. Even the best attorneys may have trouble sorting things out at that point, and it adds unnecessary anguish to an already stressful situation.
Unfortunately, medical providers sometimes add to the confusion by asking for auto insurance policy information instead of your health insurance ID card if you are seeking treatment related to an auto accident. This is because you may have medical payments coverage (“medpay”) or personal injury protection (“pip”) as part of your own auto policy. If so, you should definitely give the billing department your own auto insurance policy information, but make sure to also give them your health insurance ID card as well. That way, if you don’t have medpay or pip, the billing department can resubmit your bills to your health insurance provider.
But remember, the other driver’s policy will never pay for your bills until after you agree to a settlement, and its never a good idea to settle your car accident claim until you are sure that you have completely recovered.
-- Andrew G. Meek Attorney At Law HAMSTEAD, WILLIAMS & SHOOK PLLC