to ask you all to please help me out here. My mother is insisting this is true ...

(95 Posts)
fluffyraggies Tue 09-Oct-12 16:40:44

..... that if you get hospital treatment as a result of a traffic accident you have to PAY for it. And if you cant pay for it you have have to claim off your car insurance.

Ay ???????

I have never in all my days heard this ?!?!? I was confused and hmm when she said it.

I've been driving for years and have always sorted my own car insurance and have never ever come across this in any of the paper work. She doesn't drive and never has. But she is adamant she's correct on this.

Am i being really thick here?

Poledra Tue 09-Oct-12 16:42:41

You can get charged for the ambulance transport. Some years ago, a friend of mine knocked a seriously pissed pedestrian who stepped out in front of her. My friend got a bill from the hospital for the ambulance shock

She passed it onto her insurance, and it was dealt with by them.

WinklyFriedChicken Tue 09-Oct-12 16:42:51

In the UK? On the NHS? As a UK national or someone with leave to remain? No of course not! not yet anyway

MyLastDuchess Tue 09-Oct-12 16:43:32

Nonsense. If that was the case everyone would be suing each other for medical expenses, and people would lie to doctors about how they sustained their injuries.

doinmummy Tue 09-Oct-12 16:44:08

NHS - it's all free

ThreeEdgedSword Tue 09-Oct-12 16:44:11

Nope, total rubbish, car insurance wouldn't pay for hospital treatment (hence CAR insurance, not car crash insurance). Besides, this is why we have the NHS, surely a traffic accident is an accident and/or emergency...

sausagesandwich34 Tue 09-Oct-12 16:44:19

yes it is true -I got billed for it and passed it on to my insurance about 7 years ago

my friend had an accident last year involving some traffic lights and got billed for the ambulance and the traffic lights!

CheeseandPickledOnion Tue 09-Oct-12 16:44:23

Absolute bollocks.

fluffyraggies Tue 09-Oct-12 16:44:38

Yes, the UK! Yes, as a UK national!

Oooh Poledra - was that in the UK?

sausagesandwich34 Tue 09-Oct-12 16:44:56

it's not for the hospital treatment, just the ambulance

doinmummy Tue 09-Oct-12 16:45:06

You do not get billed for hospital treatment

doinmummy Tue 09-Oct-12 16:45:45

If that was the case then the NHS would not be in such financial trouble

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Tue 09-Oct-12 16:46:32

No, treatment at A and E is free for everyone regardless of why they are there. You can be charged for an ambulance if the injury is deemed not serious enough for an ambulance though.

fluffyraggies Tue 09-Oct-12 16:46:34

sausage? really? Was that private medical care though?

I've heard about people getting billed for road damage...

GoldenLlama Tue 09-Oct-12 16:46:52

I was in a road accident years ago and I got charged for getting checked out by A+E (I didn't go in an ambulance). It wasn't much (£20ish) but it was 20 years ago now so my memory is a bit hazy.

scurryfunge Tue 09-Oct-12 16:46:56

I think the NHS can recover costs if injury compensation is awarded from the insurer.

Whitecherry Tue 09-Oct-12 16:47:15

I have heard of this too ( being charged for the ambulance)

Poledra Tue 09-Oct-12 16:47:23

Yup, in the UK. He tried to sue her for his injuries too, despite that fact he was sooooo pissed he could barely string two words together. Luckily, a pair of wee wifies who'd been waiting for the bus nearby were more than prepared to testify that there was nothing she could have done to avoid him as he waltzed out into the traffic. His case didn't make it to court...

doinmummy Tue 09-Oct-12 16:47:29

There would be checkouts at the exits.

CheeseandPickledOnion Tue 09-Oct-12 16:48:22

I take back my bollocks. It looks like you can be charged ambulance charges. But not treatment costs.

Hopeforever Tue 09-Oct-12 16:48:27

This is about 10 years old, so pre the conservatives

doinmummy Tue 09-Oct-12 16:49:16

It sounds like its insurance companies trying to get compensation. You do not have to pay the NHS for treatment.

NovackNGood Tue 09-Oct-12 16:51:04

You can and it was brought in by Labour.

fluffyraggies Tue 09-Oct-12 16:52:25

Under the old system, the NHS could claim a flat-rate fee of £21.30 for emergency treatment, but under the new system it can claim much more - £354.

The NHS can also recover the costs of hospital admissions. Insurers are charged £435 per day with a maximum charge of £10,000 in any one case.


from the link above.

digerd Tue 09-Oct-12 16:57:29

A few days before my marriage on Xmas Eve, I got palpitations and my arm went numb and phoned Emergency and they sent an ambulance. After several tests I was diagnosed with a panic attack, and had to take a taxi home. Later I had to pay £20 for the ambulance as it was a false alarm !!!!!! That was in 1983

jerryfudd Tue 09-Oct-12 17:00:12

As far as I am aware, if someone makes a claim for personal injuries as a result of a traffic accident accident the parties (usually the one going to be paying out) have to notify the cru (compensation recovery unit) who will issue a certificate which shows how much has to be repaid out of damages for any benefits paid as a result ie if you are claiming loss of earnings from responsible party but claimed from state whilst out of work as result of accident then any sums claimed gets deducted from the loss of earnings recovery. On the same form is a tick box indicating whether any hospital treatment had following accident and if ticked yes the cru will pursue "rta charges" from paying insurer. I can't remember whether it was £175 or £375 though

RandallPinkFloyd Tue 09-Oct-12 17:00:29


I knew about the ambulance thing but not that last bit! shock

I know the first doctor on scene is entitled to bill for his services but I've never known one actually do it.

NatashaBee Tue 09-Oct-12 17:00:43

Yes, it's true - my sister got knocked off her bike and my parents got a bill! She was taken in in an ambulance with concussion - so not like it wasn't serious enough to warrant an ambulance. The sum was somewhere around the 21.30 mentioned above.

jerryfudd Tue 09-Oct-12 17:01:49

Post crossed with fluffy

7to25 Tue 09-Oct-12 17:03:46

the NHS can charge via the insurance
I was in a collision with an insured driver going the wrong way down the motorway and his insurance paid for some of my hospital stay (NHS)

Tinuviel Tue 09-Oct-12 17:20:57

A kid ran into the side of my mum's car in the late 1970s and she was sent the bill for the ambulance. I seem to remember it was £11. She was very annoyed as he had run straight out into the road and dented the back door of her car (so he had hit her rather than the other way round) but as the driver she was automatically deemed to have been 'at fault'. Fortunately for him, she was driving very slowly as he had got off the same bus as my brother and as it was raining, she had slowed down ready to stop and give DB a lift.

I seem to remember a few years later my DB being in a car that went off the road and the driver was sent a bill for £55 as there were 5 people in the car - only 1 ambulance though!

eileenf Tue 09-Oct-12 17:37:03

RTA charges have been recoverable from drivers insurance for many many years - since before the NHS existed in fact (1934).

OldCatLady Tue 09-Oct-12 17:41:41

Errrmmm well last year I had a car accident, totally my fault, I got taken to hospital in an ambulance and treated there...never got a bill! Never heard of such a thing!

fluffyraggies Tue 09-Oct-12 17:56:37

Thank you for all your input - i knew nothing of any of this!

Well it seems such a hit and miss affair though (genuinely no pun intended) as to whether you get billed. £20 to £30 for an ambulance - fair enough i suppose. But i'm surprised car ins. covers treatment. It seems so random ...

I'm really flaberghasted (sp?) in fact.

You can get billed for the ambulance if they don't think it was needed

My exp got billed for a lamp post £1000

jamdonut Tue 09-Oct-12 18:18:42

This has been around for years...I thought it was common knowledge that you can be charged ,particularly after a traffic accident, for an ambulance? Not that it has ever happened to me,but I used to work in an NHS hospital (clerical staff).

carabos Tue 09-Oct-12 18:30:46

My DM was in an accident a few years ago - she was charged for the ambulance and had to pay it as she was hit by an uninsured driver.

clam Tue 09-Oct-12 18:34:50

My brother was charged for his ambulance - no false alarms there! The paramedics took one look at his car (which had skidded on ice, someraulted over a barrier and down an embankment and ended up headfirst in a treetrunk) and said "that poor bugger's had it" and then realised he was still alive and they leapt into action to rescue him.

He still had to pay. Is it fair to assume that all those who say it's rubbish, haven't ever tested it out?

FryOneGhoulishGhostlyManic Tue 09-Oct-12 18:36:21

There are large signs all over our GP surgery stating that under the Road TRaffic Act they can make charges for treatment received as a result of a road traffic accident. Whether they do charge is another matter entirely.

We are in the Midlands.

ChaoticismyLife Tue 09-Oct-12 18:41:37

Years ago my ex was in an accident, he skidded on ice, on the way home from work early christmas day morning. He went to A&E later on in the day where he was diagnosed with whiplash. He was sent a bill later in the post.

Your mum is correct OP. I think it's the person who is found to have caused the accident - the most negligent driver etc.

MissHuffy Tue 09-Oct-12 18:47:59

I've been billed by A&E although I think it was a "standard fee" and didn't reflect the treatment.

Now, being charged for A&E in US was a whooooole different thing!!

spoonsspoonsspoons Tue 09-Oct-12 18:48:38

Took friends to A&E when they'd put their car in a ditch when we were in sixth form. They had to pay a sum at the hospital (about 15 quid) as it was a result of a road traffic accident (no ambulance involved).

ginmakesitallok Tue 09-Oct-12 18:50:23

Yes NHS can recoup costs from insurers as far as I know - but they wouldn't bill an individual I think?

McHappyPants2012 Tue 09-Oct-12 18:54:17

Yes she is right

I have never heard of this before shock I am genuinely shocked that people who have had car accidents are billed for the ambulance <incredulous>

KenLeeeeeee Tue 09-Oct-12 18:56:34

Never heard of anything like this about hospital treatment, but there was something in the news the other days about RTA victims being billed for by the companies the Highways Agency use to clear the roads after an accident or breakdown.

Lemme find the link...

Here we go:

piratecat Tue 09-Oct-12 18:59:52

was involved in a car prang yrs ago, and the driver got the bill for the ambulance we went in. Accident was his fault, we didn't have any bad injuries.

neverputasockinatoaster Tue 09-Oct-12 19:07:23

I have been to A and E twice as a result of an RTA. The first time I was the driver (not my fault) and the second time I was a passenger (not the driver's fault).

The first time I was charged under the RTA but told to pass the bill to my insuance company. The guy who hit me paid the bill ( or rather his insurers did).

The second time my friend got a bill. Her insurance company passed it on to the woman who hit her. No ambulance was needed either time.

mrsrosieb Tue 09-Oct-12 19:18:31

I worked in an A&E for 3 years. No-one was ever charged for ambulance transport-even one woman who commanded an ambulance for breaking a false nail!
One guy came in 3 times with a broken leg, only to miraculously get off the stretcher and walk off. After a police investigation it turned out he lived near the hospital and called an ambulance as a taxi home following a night out in the pub. Even he did not get charged for the ambulance-although he did end up on community service.

catstail Tue 09-Oct-12 20:21:47

you are charged for road traffic accident treatment because it is what third party liability insurance (what everyone has to have on their car) is allo about - recompensing the third party, ie the one who you ran over.

So if you run someone over, and you have insurance, then I dont see why the nhs shouldnt claim for that

BegoniaBampot Tue 09-Oct-12 20:33:48

I just find it all really strange. Why would they be able to charge for a traffic accident but not someone with a smoking or drinking obesity related disease. What about if I cut my hand with I kitchen knife, isn't it my carelessness? Really surprised about this though had heard something about paying for ambulances.

fluffyraggies Tue 09-Oct-12 20:35:18

I still haven't got as far as having an opinion on the rights and wrong of it all yet - i'm still just shock

(pleased to discover i'm not the only person in the uk to whom this whole thing is news grin Midlands here too)

apostropheuse Tue 09-Oct-12 20:41:35

You can be charged for the ambulance.

A few years ago a little girl run in front of my father''s car and he hit her and she suffered a broken leg. The ambulance of course came and brought her into hospital.

There was, strangely enough, no damage to my father's car so he didn't call the insurance company. The police were there and took a statement from witnesses etc. He was in a bit of a state at the time about the little girl and more worrying about her.

Anyway, a couple of weeks later he received a bill for £700 for the ambulance. He then phoned his insurers who said he should have let them know immediately, but they did cover it. They told him that in cases where it wasn't the fault of the insured person there was some kind of fund that an insurance body (can't remember the name of it) had - and so he didn't lose his no claims bonuses as the accident had not been his fault.

Viperidae Tue 09-Oct-12 20:42:22

DS's car was written off in an accident last year. Luckily he was unhurt but rang his GP as he was aching and bruised, GP told him sounded ok but to go to A&E if concerned and expect to be charged.

Sassybeast Tue 09-Oct-12 20:44:33

But will you admit that you're wrong to your mother ? grin

thenightsky Tue 09-Oct-12 20:46:24

I got a bill when I was the middle car in a 5 car pile up and had to be cut free. My insurance company dealt with it though by claiming off the driver who was behind me.

A friend of mine caused an accident involving a number of cars and drivers and she kept getting bills for ambulances and x-rays in the post for months afterwards. She nearly had a nervous breakdown at the cost. Her insurance company told her to just post them all off to them.

I think people who have never head of this are the ones whose insurance companies just deal with it behind the scenes.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 09-Oct-12 20:47:29

The NHS has been recovering the cost of ambulance fees from at fault drivers since at least the mid 1980's
It used to be a nominal fee but is not any more.
It is the AMBULANCE TRUST who will chase for the costs, not the hospital.

Hospital costs linked to personal injury claims are also (I believe) recovered now.

thenightsky Tue 09-Oct-12 20:47:42

Oh... I meant to say... my accident was 27 years ago, so it's not a recent thing.

Tuttutitlookslikerain Tue 09-Oct-12 20:49:44

I've had 2 car accidents. Both times I've attended A&E, once in an ambulance, the other my dad took me. I was sent a bill both times. This was at least 20 years ago!

apostropheuse Tue 09-Oct-12 20:54:29

oh sorry, I was a little inaccurate in my earlier post...

My dad was initially charged £50 for the ambulance, which he paid himself as he thought it would affect his no-claims bonus

He was later charged the £700 for the girl's treatment, which the insurance company's association paid as he was not at fault.

sunflowerseeds Tue 09-Oct-12 20:56:30

My father was killed in a car accident. My mother got a bill for the ambulance, addressed to him. My 20 year old brother was given a bag of all our father's clothes by the hospital.

Jenstar21 Tue 09-Oct-12 20:57:26

Another one here who was charged. About 15 years ago, when I was a passenger in a car accident. We went to hospital by our own steam, but we were charged for X-rays. The insurance company paid for it, once we passed the bill on.

catstail Tue 09-Oct-12 20:59:01

then can charge for it because it is insured, they wouldnt (at the moment!!) charge us for emergency rta, but can claw it back from an insurer. no claw back for knife injuries as we are not insured against them

fluffyraggies Tue 09-Oct-12 21:04:06

He was later charged the £700 for the girl's treatment, which the insurance company's association paid as he was not at fault.

So i'm presuming if he was at fault, apost, his insurance co. would have paid but he would have lost his no claims?

Sassy - i never said to mum that she was wrong exactly .... just that i'd never heard of it wink

Councils can claim under the Road Traffic Act for damage to their street furniture (ie lighting columns, bollards, signs etc etc). Police called out automatically pass the driver's name and details on to the local authority so they can be billed.

I didn't know about the ambulance thing, though!

MrsDeVere Tue 09-Oct-12 21:05:03

AFAIK you can be charged for a fire engine call out too.

My neighbours caused me to be locked out (long story) in the 80s. In those days you called the fire brigade (I wouldn't dream of doing that now!). Anyways they could have charged me for being a total numpty but once they heard how it happened they were fine.

fluffyraggies Tue 09-Oct-12 21:05:12

I'm so sorry to hear that sunflower thanks

Lavenderhoney Tue 09-Oct-12 21:09:38

Many years ago a tai driver jumped the lights and smashed into the front of my car. I was cut out and taken to hospital by ambulance. I received a bill for the ambulance and was told to send it to my insurance company who dealt with it.

fluffyraggies Tue 09-Oct-12 21:11:50

I've now been told about a woman who has been charged £3000 by a highways agency for a road inspection. More shock

Apparently she spun on a multi lane carriageway in the wet and ended up facing the wrong way on the hard shoulder. She called the police to help her turn her car as she was nervous of disrupting fast moving traffic. No damage to anything or anyone. She later receives this £3000 bill from the highways agency as a fee for the 'call out' to inspect the road which is obligatory following police involvement in an 'incident'!

procrastinor Tue 09-Oct-12 21:23:24

Huh I did not know this. I did know that doctors can charge if they are the first to see you after an accident (I think if it's within 24 hrs). So technically all A&E doctors could charge (which I find pretty shocking). I don't know anybody who has though!

apostropheuse Tue 09-Oct-12 21:30:08

Yes fluffy, that's what the insurance company told him anyway!

shock Sunflowerseeds, that's so awful. I'm so sorry.

ButtonBoo Tue 09-Oct-12 21:49:48

I got the bill for the ambulance after my 'friend' crashed her car and I had to be cut out of the vehicle.

As she was already having to claim on her insurance as it was entirely her fault (she crashed into the back of a parked car!) I asked to add this in to the claim. She refused. No real idea why but it was clearly not for discussion. I paid for it. We are no longer friends.

I didn't pay any hospital bill though. Even got to keep my fancy neck collar. Whoopee!

Ajaney Tue 09-Oct-12 22:28:44

I was in a car accident in 2001. A car spun on ice and hit me. I was ok but the other driver had to be cut out of car. There were 2 police cars, 2 ambulances and a fire engine in attendance. The other parties insurers were billed for the cost of those services attending as its was referred to in a copy of a letter between the solicitors which I got sent by mistake. It just listed the response service rather than any medical treatment.

I've seen signs up, in the Dr's surgery, saying if you're there for whiplash (or other no-win no-fee injuries) after an rta, you'll be charged.

shock at the ambulance charges though!

VivaLeBeaver Tue 09-Oct-12 22:43:27

Yes, I got billed or rather my insurance company did after a car accident. Definetly for hospital treatment as I never had an ambulance. I had to fill out various forms. In the uk and I'm a uk national.

differentnameforthis Wed 10-Oct-12 05:38:47

My sister's friend was badly injured as a result a car accident. She didn't pay for her treatment nor did she claim on the insurance.

differentnameforthis Wed 10-Oct-12 05:43:35

Blimey, 20 pounds for an ambulance! We have to pay $600 for an ambulance, whether you need it or not. We have ambulance insurance here & if you don't have it, you do get charged!

ibizagirl Wed 10-Oct-12 05:55:25

Mum used to ride a moped for work. She got knocked off by a young kid in a car and someone called an ambulance. Mum got a bill for it. I thought mum was joking when she said she had to pay.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 10-Oct-12 07:10:27

I had to pay £25 for an ambulance 19 years ago when a little girl ran into the side of my car.

scaevola Wed 10-Oct-12 07:21:09

NHS.has always been able to recover a contribution to costs from insurers (which us why it is only vehicle incidents, as that is the only area where by law one must be insured).

poppy283 Wed 10-Oct-12 07:24:29

If the NHS sent me a bill for any of these things I'd tell them to shove it up their collective arse!

Longdistance Wed 10-Oct-12 07:26:44

No. The NHS is free. No charge.

I live in Oz, and it's not free. You could be dying, and still get some twat on your case 'can I have your Medicare card please?'

youarewinning Wed 10-Oct-12 07:33:03

sunflowers shock I'm sorry to hear you experienced that.

My friend and her DH were invvef in a car accident - we only them involved but she rolled the car and they were cut out. They were billed for ambulance and treatment - including the treatment her DH received for his broken neck.
It went through the insurance but my friend does know that because the hospital refused to believe her DH neck in jury was anything other than sore neck and ordered him to get to his wife's bedside as she was PG with a few fractures the Insurance company refused to pay!!!! The hospital tried to charge for the emergency operation he had to put metal vertebrae in- however it was only after 10 days when he returned complaining of still being in agony and they x rayed him and discovered the break and exposed spinal cord.

My friend was advised to sue the hospital but decided not to because they hadn't been able to recover costs and she felt it wasn't in anyone's best interests.

gallicgirl Wed 10-Oct-12 07:35:47

Aren't these all services we supposedly pay for through tax and NI? Why on earth are we also paying through our car insurance?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 10-Oct-12 07:52:02

If you dont pay an ambulance bill the police told me you can be prosecuted under the road traffic act.

Iheartpasties Wed 10-Oct-12 08:15:55

I had never heard of this!!! wow, every day is a school day.

kerrygrey Wed 10-Oct-12 08:44:18

Way back in the Stone Age I worked for the local Regional Hospital Board. Much of my work was collecting this ETF (Emergency Treatment Fee). Much explaining to people that it wasn't for the ambulance, it wasn't on the NHS, and their car insurance should cover it. If it wasn't paid we always took it to the County Court (now the Small Claims Court) to recover the debt. Sometimes even the court Registrar needed the Act explaining. I forget which section, subsection etc of the RTA it was, but it WAS there.

NUFC69 Wed 10-Oct-12 09:13:52

Your mum is absolutely right (or she was when my son was small). DS was about four at the time and fell off his bike on the pavement outside our house. We took him to the nearest A & E, which was Ascot. A few weeks later we received a bill from them for his Road Traffic Accident. I wrote back and said that a four year old falling off his bike on the pavement was scarcely a RTA and heard no more from them. I have absolutely no problem with the NHS chasing up people after RTAs - our health care is not free, the tax payers cough up the money to fund it - it needs any help it can get!

fluffyraggies Wed 10-Oct-12 09:30:05

Well - new day and i'm still shock

Thanks for everyone's responses. This is news to loads of us then.

I am more shocked that i knew nothing about this, than shocked about the fact that our car insurances have been paying for ambulances and medical treatment all these years!

I understand that car travel is really the only universally insured activity - and therefore the NHS claims against it. I suppose.

But i'm still thinking - really!?

I guess more often than not this all just gets dealt with between the NHS dept. and our insurers and we don't see it happening. This must be such a horrible shock for people when they do receive a bill in the post sad

missymoomoomee Wed 10-Oct-12 09:35:15

I was in a car accident 14 years ago and the driver got a bill for himself, me and the other passenger. There was no ambulance so it was for being seen in a&e I think it was £26 per person.

HardHittingLeafletCampaign Wed 10-Oct-12 09:39:34

I wonder if I can claim back the NHS portion of the taxi pay if I don't use it. Hmmm, no?

HardHittingLeafletCampaign Wed 10-Oct-12 09:39:54

tax I pay

clam Wed 10-Oct-12 19:40:59

LeafletCampaign Along with those people with kids in private schools claiming back what they don't use for education? hmm

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