Legal Question in Insurance Law in California

Medical bills...

I got into a car accident. Can I sue the insurance company for my medical bills? Thanks?

Asked on 1/24/07, 4:15 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Jonathan Stein Law Offices of Jonathan G. Stein

Re: Medical bills...

Can you sue the other insurance company? No. Can you sue the driver of the other car? Maybe. Let me explain.

In California, you cannot sue the other person's insurance company. You can do that in some states, but not in California.

You can, however, go after the responsible party for the damage that they caused. This includes medical bills, pain and suffering, wage loss and property damage. (If you did not have your own insurance, you cannot recover pain and suffering.)

If you only have a few doctor visits, write a demand letter and send it to the insurance company. If you have had more than a few visits, you should consult with an attorney.

You can read more about the process, including finding a sample demand letter, at my blog,

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Answered on 1/31/07, 10:57 pm
Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen

Re: Medical bills...

Retain a lawyer. You'll get better results than if you were to do it yourself.

First the lawyer will make a written demand on the other driver for the amount of your medical bills, pain and suffering, and damage to your vehicle. In the letter, the lawyer will ask the driver to turn over the claim to his/her insurance company.

If there is no resolution of the claim in a timely manner, the lawyer will bring suit against the adverse driver. You can't sue the driver's insurance carrier. You also will be required to file a form with the DMV if the value of the accident is over $750. Your lawyer should help you with that.

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Answered on 1/31/07, 4:26 pm
Steven Lynes Lynes & Associates

Re: Medical bills...

You have a couple avenues for payment of medical bills. First is the insurance company for the other car – if you can demonstrate that the other driver was at fault (e.g. get a copy of the police report, if one exists). While they are not obligated to pay those bills, most liability insurers (when faced with the likelihood that their insured was at fault) will pay those bills as a means to generate goodwill and momentum towards reasonable settlement.

Your second option is to make a claim on your own auto insurance policy under the “medical payments” provision. You can make this claim while pursuing the insurance company for the other driver.

Finally, if the other driver did not have any or enough insurance to cover your medical bills and other damage claim (e.g. lost income, future medical, pain & suffering), you will have the option to pursue an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim on your own policy.

For further assistance on this matter, please feel free to contact our office to arrange for a consultation.

[The statements and opinions provided above are an informational service to the general public. Since this reply is based upon an incomplete description of facts, this email should not used as a substitute for legal advice from a qualified and fully-informed attorney. Moreover, these communications are intended for use by the public. As such, this email does not constitute a confidential communication nor does it create an attorney-client relationship with Lynes & Associates or any of its members.]

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Answered on 1/31/07, 5:54 pm

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