While it may seem like the cost of your emergency room bill and further treatment should be the responsibility of the party who caused the accident, it is actually smarter to have your own insurance cover the payments.
Once the medical provider finds out that your injuries were caused by an auto accident, they may insist that the bills be paid out of the medical payments coverage of your auto insurance policy. Regardless of what the intake person at the hospital or doctor's office tells you, it is OK to have your personal health insurance pay the bill. In fact, state law mandates that health insurance should be used first if it is available. The only exception to this is if you use Medicare or Medicaid; in this instance, the government requires that other sources of insurance are used first, if available.
Medical providers understand that health insurance companies rarely pay the full amount of the medical bills, and of course they do not like this fact. Health insurance companies typically have contracts that enable them to pay a certain percentage of the actual bill, whereas auto insurance companies almost always pay the full amount - which is why the provider will try and insist that auto insurance medical payments coverage pay before private health insurance.
What does this mean to the injured party?
When it comes time to settle your claim, the company who paid for your treatment has the right to be paid back whatever they paid out - whether it is health insurance or auto insurance med pay. If your insurance company typically pays less for your medical bills, then that's less money that comes out of your settlement at the end of the case.
This concept may sound confusing, which is why we encourage you to contact the experienced Southern California car accident injury lawyers at Steinberg Injury Lawyers toll-free at 800.989.6385. Not only will they provide you with an explanation on how the different types of insurances work, they will also give you a complimentary case evaluation and a free copy of their book, The Seven Biggest Mistakes That Can Ruin Your California Injury Case.