In Virginia, can a person who is injured in a car accident seek recovery of his or her medical bills from the driver responsible for the accident, if those medical bills have been paid by the injured person’s health insurance company?

Injured in a car accident Virginia Beach

The below information was written by our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach.

Yes. Virginia applies the collateral source rule, which is the doctrine that if an injured person receives compensation for his or her injuries from a source independent of the person responsible for the injured person’s injuries, the payment is not deducted from the damages that the responsible person must pay.

In the case of a person injured as a result of a car accident, the collateral source rule is applied to the injured person’s medical bills, when those bills are paid by the injured person’s health insurance company. In such cases, the injured person is entitled to compensation for the full amount of the medical bills incurred as a result of the accident, even though the bills were paid by the injured person’s health insurance company. Furthermore, the amount that the injured person can recover on his or her medical bills is not reduced if the injured person’s health insurance company paid less than the face amount of the medical bills.

The collateral source rule is based on the idea that a person who is responsible for the injuries of another person will not be relieved of his or her obligation to compensate the injured person simply because the injured person benefitted from payments made by his or her health insurance company. Writing on the meaning of the collateral source rule and its rationale, the Virginia Supreme Court has said:

The law seems quite well settled that damages, recoverable for personal injuries inflicted through the negligence of another are not to be reduced by reason of the fact that the injured party had been partly compensated for his loss by insurance which he has procured and for which he has paid. The reason for this rule is that the defendant, who by his negligence, has injured another, owes to such other compensation for the injuries he has inflicted and the payment for those injuries from a collateral source cannot relieve the defendant of his obligation.

If the injured person’s claim results in a lawsuit that goes to trial, the jury hearing the case will not be permitted to know that the injured person had health insurance or that the injured person’s medical bills have been paid. Instead, the injured person’s medical bills, if properly authenticated, reasonable in amount, and supported by the necessary expert testimony, will be entered into evidence without any indication that payment was made by the injured person’s health insurance company.

Questions regarding what medical bills an injured person can seek compensation for are specific to the facts of the individual personal injury case, and we encourage you to contact one of our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach.   Such an experienced personal injury lawyer can determine whether the claimed medical bills are related to an injury caused by the car accident in question and what evidence will be required at trial for introducing the injured person’s medical bills into evidence.

Additionally, personal injury lawyers can determine whether there are any liens on the injured person’s claim, arising out of unpaid bills from the injured person’s healthcare providers and/or from payment of the injured person’s medical bills by an insurance company or some other entity. To be clear, simply because an injured person may have a right to compensation for the face amount of his or her medical bills incurred as a result a car accident does not necessarily mean that the injured person is free of any responsibility to reimburse his or her health insurance company for the payment of those medical bills.

Sorting out liens arising from the payment of medical bills is complex and specific to the facts of the individual case, so an experienced personal injury lawyer should always be consulted regarding potential liens on an injury claim. As in all personal injury cases, an experienced personal injury lawyer can also advise the injured person as to the value of the personal injury claim, can guide the injured person through the process of making an injury claim with the applicable insurance company or companies, and can represent the injured person in the litigation of the personal injury claim, if a personal injury lawsuit becomes necessary.

Waiting can hurt your case. To find out how our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach can help you, please contact us at (757) 486-2700.

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