If you've been involved in a serious car accident and require ongoing medical attention, you may be worried about the cost of your care. After all, hospital visits are not cheap. The typical emergency-room visit costs more than $1,000. If you have to have any broken or dislocated bones repaired, you'll need to pay several times that amount. Worse, an extended stay in the hospital could cost you upwards of $5,000 per night. Even if you have thousands of dollars in the bank, a serious injury could cause you to burn through your savings at a rapid clip.
Fortunately, the bulk of your medical expenses should be covered by one of your insurance carriers. If you have auto insurance as well as medical insurance, you may not have to pay a significant amount of money out of your own pocket. If you lack health insurance, you may be forced to pay a substantial deductible before accruing medical benefits from your auto insurer.
The exact source of your healthcare payments will depend upon the circumstances surrounding your accident. If you were involved in a single-car accident for which you're judged to be at fault, your auto insurer may require you to pay a hefty deductible. This is because your policy's medical coverage is primarily designed to pay for other drivers' medical expenses. If your health insurance plan's deductible is smaller than that of your auto insurance plan, you may wish to decline coverage from your auto insurer. If the difference between the two plans' deductibles is greater than the value of your totaled vehicle, you may not wish to report the accident to your insurer at all.
If you're involved in an accident that's caused by another driver, you may not need to put any money towards your healthcare costs. After all, the other driver's "Personal Injury Protection" insurance is specifically designed to cover such costs. Unless the other driver lacks insurance, you won't have to worry about filing a lawsuit against him or her.
Of course, you'll need to save all of your medical bills and forward them to the other driver's insurance company in a timely fashion. If you miss certain deadlines, your reimbursements may be delayed or denied. In that case, you'll probably end up in court. As a general rule, you'll only be able to get a single insurance company to cover your medical costs. If your auto provider takes care of the payments, it's unlikely that your health insurer will become involved at all.