If you are injured in a car accident that is not your fault, the other driver (usually through his insurance company) is responsible for your medical bills. However the other driver’s insurance won’t pay your doctors directly or reimburse you after every doctor visit. And a settlement with the other driver’s insurance could take months, or even years, depending on how long your medical treatment takes. In the meantime, most doctors and hospitals want to get paid right away and if they don’t, they could send you to collections. Having an experienced car accident attorney on your side will assist you in making the right decisions and avoiding missteps that could reduce your settlement.
That’s where YOUR insurance steps in. If you have health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, you should submit your doctor bills to them. If you have “Medical Payment” coverage (“Med Pay” for short) under your own car insurance policy, you can use it to reimburse you for any out-of-pocket costs AFTER health insurance has paid, such as health insurance deductibles or copays.
If you don’t have health insurance, Med Pay coverage, or any other means to pay for necessary medical care after an auto accident injury, an experienced car accident attorney can get you the treatment you need with medical professionals who will agree to wait for your settlement to get paid. An experienced car accident attorney can also help keep those bills you’ve already received out of collections.
Develop a Strategy with Your Attorney
Keep in mind that when you do settle with the other driver’s insurance company, you may need to use a portion of that settlement money to reimburse your health insurance, Medicare, or other people who have treated you and not been paid.
Depending on the reimbursement rate and right to be reimbursed, the amount of a settlement you put in your pocket can be significantly affected by which bills you pay first, which bills you submit to health insurance or Med Pay, and which bills can wait until settlement. This involves strategy and careful negotiations with providers and health insurance companies. Your car accident attorney will be able to assist you in developing a strategy which will help maximize your compensation and the amount that you will put in your pocket after all your bills are paid.
So How Does this Normally Work?
Here is a common example of how an injured party will receive compensation with the assistance of an attorney.
- You get injured in an accident caused by someone else.
- Your medical care includes an ambulance trip, a hospital visit, several doctor visits, two months of physical therapy, and a spine injection by a pain management doctor to help manage the pain.
- You submit all of your bills to your health insurance company. The spine injection is the only service that is not covered by your health insurance, but your attorney gets that doctor to agree to wait for the settlement to get paid back.
- After six months of care, you are discharged by his doctors.
- Your attorney prepares a settlement package asking for compensation for the FULL amount of the medical bills (even if some were discounted by health insurance).
- After some negotiations between your car accident attorney and the other driver’s insurance company, you finally agree to a settlement. The settlement includes fair compensation for all medical bills (including health insurance co-pays and deductibles), your lost wages, pain, suffering, and inconvenience.
- Your attorney notifies your health insurance company about the settlement, who requests reimbursement for what they paid only (usually only 20-30% of the original billed amount). After some negotiation, your insurance agrees to reduce their reimbursement request by an ADDITIONAL 20%. This is why having an experienced attorney is important.
- Your attorney also negotiates with the pain management doctor who agrees to discount his bill by 30%. Again increasing your compensation.
- You keep the rest (minus attorney fees and any case costs), including the large difference between what was recovered in the settlement (original amount of bills) and what ultimately had to be paid back to providers and health insurance (usually only a fraction of the original amount of bills).
If you would like to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer, please call our law offices today at any of our convenient locations and get a free consultation.
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