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paying for medical care in a personal injury case
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THE FINE PRINT: The information provided on this website is opinion and general legal information about the laws in North Carolina. It is not intended to provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

If you have been in a motor vehicle accident in North Carolina, it is usually best to use whatever kind of health insurance you would normally use for sickness or injury to cover your automobile accident related injuries. Whether you have health insurance that you pay for, a group plan from work, Medicare or Medicaid, handle your medical bills in the way you would any other injury or illness.

Some people think that they should give their doctor or the hospital the insurance information of the person that caused the accident. It seems like it would make sense for that insurance company to jump in and pay the bills. Unfortunately, it is extremely rare for the insurance company of the driver who caused the wreck to pay anything at all until you are ready to settle the entire case, or until they are forced to do it in Court. So, if you do not use your health insurance, it might be a long time until your doctor gets paid. That’s not fair to your doctor. There are some other reasons to do this, which I’ll discuss later on, but being sure your doctor gets paid right away is probably the most important.

If you are among the many people out there who don't have health insurance, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. You have to get the medical treatment you need to get better, but if the injury is bad enough to keep you out of work you’re not making any money to pay the rent or buy groceries. You may be afraid to go to the doctor and run up more bills. Again, you have to get the same medical care that you would if the injury were not related to the wreck. If it is bad enough to go to the doctor under other circumstances, then go to the doctor for a car wreck.

You should write the insurance adjuster a letter outlining your medical needs and your financial problems. Make a copy of it and send it through registered mail. It may help later on if you have to go to court. But don’t expect the at-fault driver’s insurance company to help you. They know that if you’re living week to week, you are more likely to settle your claim cheaply so you can pay the rent and feed your family. Helping you may very well be against their interests. It’s not a new tactic; in the military, it’s known as starving the enemy out.

To sum up, if you have health insurance, turn your accident-related bills in to your insurance. If you do not have health insurance, ask the insurance adjuster for help in a letter, but get the health care you need regardless of whether the adjuster does the right thing or not.

Joe Adams is a personal injury attorney based in Asheville, North Carolina, who takes personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout the state of North Carolina. He has been fighting insurance companies and big corporations for more than 25 years.

Contact Joe Adams about your personal injury claim:

For the fastest response call 828-251-1821 between 8 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday.

Copyright © Joe G. Adams 2015. All Rights Reserved.
Joe Adams Law, 107 Merrimon Avenue, Ste B, Asheville, North Carolina 28801