Do I need to file a personal injury lawsuit even though I have medical insurance?

Health insurance covers your medical bills if you’re injured, and if you recover medical bill compensation as part of a lawsuit, the insurer has the right to recover the amount of money it paid to cover your care. But since medical bills are just one type of loss associated with an injury (and are often not even the largest portion of the recovery), filing a lawsuit is in your best interest.

Lawsuit compensation is divided into two main categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include not only medical bills, but also lost wages/loss of earning capacity. If, for example, you were hospitalized as a result of pharmaceutical drug side effects and had to miss work, your health insurance would only cover healthcare—not lost wages. By not filing a lawsuit, you would have no recourse for recovering the costs associated with lost productivity.

The other aspect to a personal injury lawsuit is non-economic damages such as physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, and reduced quality of life. Although health insurance may include coverage for counseling and other services related to these losses, an insurer will not provide the monetary award that a lawsuit can.

To summarize, health insurance only covers one aspect of personal injury losses. Receiving full and fair compensation for your injuries requires filing a lawsuit. If you are injured you should receive care under a health insurance policy, but be prepared to have the insurer submit a claim for reimbursement should you eventually recover medical bill compensation through a lawsuit.