Is a hospital bill due if nothing was signed?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is a hospital bill due if nothing was signed?

I went to the emergency room after a car accident. My insurance was ran 3 times and I was not told I was out of network and I did not sign any financial responsibility paperwork I checked with the hospital and they said they show nothing signed. Because of that, am I still liable for the bill?

Asked on August 3, 2017 under Insurance Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be held liable for the bill even without signing under either or both of the following theories:
1) Breach of implied contract: by accepting medical care (e.g. not checking yourself out and leaving) knowing that it costs money (i.e. everyone in our country knows that medical care is not free--that if you don't have insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid for it, you pay--), you can be held to have implicitly agreed to pay for the care, even if you did not sign anything explicitly to that effect.
2) Unjust enrichment: the law generally does not allow someone to knowingly (or when they realistically *should* know) accept services from another which cost money without paying for them; that is considered "unjust"--or unfair or inequitable--"enrichment."

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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