After a slip and fall accident, 18-wheeler or trucking accident, car accident, or any other type of accident, you may be facing significant medical bills. These days, just one visit to the ER can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. Our clients are often confused about whether their health insurance will be paying their medical bills following an accident.
The short answer is yes, you can absolutely use (and should use) your health insurance following an accident to pay your medical bills even if the accident is someone else's fault.
In Louisiana, a tortfeasor is responsible for all of the damages that are reasonably foreseeable based on his or her negligent acts. When making a claim against a third party for negligence, we seek compensation for all of the medical expenses that were incurred by our clients that medical experts relate to the accident or incident, even if they have already been fully paid by your health insurer.
A lot of our clients are under the impression that they cannot use their health insurance if they were involved in an automobile accident or have a claim or case pending. This is not true! We know we pay enough these days for our health insurance, from monthly payments, out of pocket expenses, and deductibles (that are often times thousands of dollars on their own). If you are hurt in an accident, you can 100% use your health insurance to pay for your medical bills from the accident.
In fact, under current Louisiana law, if you have private health insurance, it may be more beneficial to you in your case to use it. In Louisiana, under the Collateral Source Rule, a tortfeasor may not seek a reduction in the damages award for any written-off or discounted amounts procured by the tort victim's insurer. See, e.g., Griffin v. Louisiana Sheriff's Auto Risk Ass'n, 1999-2944 (La. App. 1 Cir. 6/22/01), 802 So.2d 691, writ denied, 2001-2117 (La. 11/9/01), 801 So.2d 37.
What that means, simply, is that you are entitled to collect 100% of the bills that went to your insurance company, not just what they paid your healthcare provider. So, if your Emergency Bill was $10,000, you are entitled to seek $10,000 from a tortfeasor even if the insurance company only paid the doctor $1,000.
Under the law, your health insurer may be entitled to seek reimbursement for the amount that it paid if we receive compensation from a third party by asserting its “subrogation” right under its contract. The good news is that we handle any of these subrogation claims for you for free with your injury case, so you can get the most recovery possible.