6 Tricks to Get Medical Bills Paid After a Car Wreck

6 Tricks to Get Medical Bills Paid After a Car Wreck

Having trouble getting your medical bills paid after a car wreck? One function that a personal injury attorney and their staff will serve for you as they represent you as an injured victim is that they will worry about all of the bills and collection matters so that you don’t have to.  They are not only there to get you more money in a settlement or a lawsuit but they are there to ease the burden of stress on you so that you can get better.  They are tracking the bills and insurance matters for you.  Behind the scenes they are going through a pretty intensive process to be sure that the right people are paying your bills in the right order to prevent any of the bills from going to collections.  This is necessary because you only get a check from the at-fault party or their insurance company at the end of the case when it is closed.  But you can’t resolve the case until you know what it is worth. And you can’t know what it worth until the victim is feeling better.  Sometimes that leaves an injured victim seeking treatment for what could be years before the case is resolved and a settlement is reached.  The question then becomes how does the victim pay those bills and survive during those couple of years when the bills are stacking up.  Medical care can be extremely expensive so this is a major concern.

Work Comp

Having trouble getting your medical bills paid after a car wreck? One of the first things your attorney’s staff will check is if your injury is work related.  If you were injured while on the job you not only potentially have a case against a third party but you also have what is called a worker’s compensation claim.  When you are hurt on the job the work comp insurance is actually the primary payor.  It will be the first insurance to kick in and handle medical bills related to your injury.  So the workman’s comp insurance needs to be notified and you need to be issued a claim number.  Then all of your bills can be sent directly to them.  These types of cases are fairly rare but nonetheless are a possibility that needs to be considered.

PIP

Typically, with most car accident cases, there is no work comp carrier but there is PIP or personal injury protection.  PIP insurance is a coverage on your auto insurance policy.    This coverage is required by law to be on every auto on the road.  This insurance is the first coverage that is responsible for medical bills that are the result of an injury sustained in a car accident.  For instance when someone is injured in a car accident the ambulance might take them to the emergency room for treatment.  There may be small,  out of pocket expenses like pain meds that were prescribed by the emergency room doctors.  These charges would be paid by the PIP coverage of the owner of the vehicle that the injured person was in.  Even if that vehicle was not driven by the at-fault driver.  These initial bill payments will be reimbursed later by the at-fault insurance company.  This enables everyone to seek needed medical attention without waiting to figure out who is at-fault and who will be responsible for the bills.

The PIP coverage works on a first come, first serve basis.  Meaning that the first medical bills to be processed through the PIP will be the first ones to be paid.  Sometimes that may not be the first medical services that were rendered after the accident.  One medical facility just may be faster at submitting the bills for payment.  An example of this would be if a patient went to the ER first after an accident but then received treatments from a chiropractor for two months after the accident.  If the chiropractic physician’s billing staff is faster at getting that bill turned in for payment than the hospital, then the chiro will be paid first.  This is important because once the PIP limit is reached, which is usually $3,000, then those funds are exhausted.  At this point any further bills will be denied payment by the PIP coverage and will need to be paid by another source.

When this happens the insured will receive a log of PIP in exhaust.  This log will show who was paid and in what order they were paid and the amount they received.  This will aide you in tracking where the money went and help you prove that the PIP money has run out when you are trying to get your medical bills paid after a car wreck.

Medicaid

After the PIP insurance has been exhausted then another means will need to cover the medical expenses.  The victims health insurance will be next in line to pay the bills.  Medicaid and Medicare are both government entities that provide health insurance benefits.  They are health insurance programs for low-income individuals or people with various disabilities that meet certain criteria in order to qualify for those medical benefits.  Medicaid is generally for people who need low-cost medical care and are unable to afford it and Medicare is for people over the age of 65, senior citizens.

Your attorney and his/her staff are required to put Utah medicare and Medicaid on notice of the fact that you have been injured as the result of the negligence of another.  That way Medicare and Medicaid can actually see your bills come in and not pay them.  They won’t pay them until they see that the PIP has been exhausted.  The PIP needs to pay and run out first.  Once that has run out your attorney’s office will need to track that fact and provide a PIP exhaust letter to Medicaid or Medicare and then begin informing debtors, the various medical providers, to bill Medicaid or Medicare next.  They will then go ahead and process those bills and pay them.  So to reiterate if Medicaid or Medicare receives a bill and they are aware that it relates to an injury that resulted from an accident, they will deny it.  They will do this until they receive a PIP exhaust notice.

Health Insurance

There is also private health insurance.  They deal largely in the same way as Medicare and Medicaid except for some of laws don’t apply.  They still need to be put on notice that some of the bills coming in will be related to an auto accident.  This is because when they pay the bills that are related to an auto accident caused by someone else, then later when they discover that the injuries were in fact due to a third party case, they may attempt to subrogate against your personal injury settlement.  What that means is they will pay those bills but they are going to want that money back.  So in the end, when you are in a car accident, health insurance really just serves as a short term stop gap that helps you get from point A, the accident, to point B, getting the money from the third party auto insurance carrier.

Some people might say, “Why does my health insurance even pay? They are just going to get their money back, that doesn’t even help me.”  That’s actually not true.  They become a huge help to you in multiple ways.  #1. You don’t get sent to collections while you are seeing doctors and waiting for your settlement.  #2. Health insurance normally gets huge discounts, contractual write-offs.  An example of this is if your emergency room bill is $1000.00, they will bill your insurance company this amount, but the health insurance might only pay $700.00.  Then what happens is when the health insurance goes to subrogate against your third party personal injury settlement, often times your attorney may be able to negotiate some type of reduction.  So let’s say your attorney is able to negotiate a reduction of roughly one third.  That will take that $700 down to below $500.   Now even though you’re going to be getting $1000 as part of your personal injury settlement, you only owe your insurance a portion of that.  This is because the third party insurance carrier is not entitled to the same discounts that you get.  They don’t get to pay less just because you were smart enough to have health insurance.  They have to pay the full amount as if you have no health insurance. The health insurance becomes a windfall to you.  So if the at-fault insurance company pays $1,000 and you end up having to pay back your insurance only $500, then you just netted a significant amount of money in your pocket that would not have been there but for the health insurance that you were smart enough to have in place at the time of the accident.

Attorney Liens

The next thing that comes into play is what’s called attorney liens.  Once you have gone through answering the questions, Is there work comp?  Is there PIP?  Is there Medicare or Medicaid? What about private health insurance? , then you look into attorney liens.  Attorney liens are what you do when you have nothing else that will pay.  When you are represented by an attorney often times medical providers feel ok and comfortable if the attorney will sign a document granting them a priority access to your injury settlement if and when the case resolves.  The ultimate responsibility to pay those medical bills still remains the obligation of the victim.  However, the attorney lien allows the doctor to treat you but then not demand a partial payment at the visit and then the balance in thirty days which is typical in the medical field.   ,  they charge you the amount and create your bill but they just record it and put it in your file.  Then they wait.  They don’t bill you. They don’t send you to collections.  They don’t create problems for you and they continue to provide you with medical care on a regular basis.  They continue to provide the care that you need because they feel confident that their bill will get paid in full because your attorney has provided a lien in their behalf.  They will be paid at the same time that you receive your portion of the settlement.

This option enables people who maybe don’t have health insurance or they are seeking medical care such as chiropractic care or massage therapy that their health insurance does not cover to get the care that they need.  The attorney lien would also be helpful in the event that the victim’s health insurance deductible is very high and they don’t have the money to cover the bills out-of-pocket.  These attorney liens can be a huge deal in allowing you to get the medical care that you need.  At the end of the day if you can’t get the medical care that you need, no matter how hurt you are, your case is worth very little.  The opinions and records of the medical doctors are what change the value of the case.  So it is important to be able to access the right type of medical records in order to treat and document your injuries.

Out of Pocket

The last option to get those medical bills paid while you are waiting for your settlement is your own out-of-pocket expense.  Sometimes situations may arise where you have exhausted every single one of the above avenues.  PIP,  work comp,  Medicaid or medicare,  private health insurance, and attorney liens and there might be one bill, or one provider, where none of those things are going to work.  But you need to see them.  This type of situation would be the only time that an attorney would ask the victim to pay out-of-pocket expenses as they go.  Obviously, no one wants to be sent to collections while you wait for a year for your case to settle.  However, we try to track every dime spent by that victim and at the end of the case the victim is going to be reimbursed for all of those expenses.  It will all come back to you if the case goes well. Good luck getting your medical bills paid after your car wreck.

Those are the six ways or tricks to get your bills paid while awaiting your personal injury settlement.

St. George Attorney: What Will my Attorney Do to Handle my Case?

What Will my Attorney Do to Handle my Case?


Question: What will my attorney do to handle my case?

St. George Attorney Answer:

After you initially meet with your attorney and they become familiar with the case regarding your accident in St. George, Utah, your attorney will investigate your claim further. This means they will review:

  • Statements from witnesses
  • Police reports of the incident
  • Possibly a visit to the scene where the incident occured
  • Review of relevant statutory law (law passed by local legislature)
  • Review of relevant case law (laws interpreting statutory law)
  • Review of all reports from medical professionals
  • Review of all medical records
  • Possibly hiring an investigator to further research the details of the incident.

In addition, your lawyer will get in touch with the insurance company for the person or company that caused your injuries. Once your attorney has made this initial contact and investigation, he or she will keep in touch with you. Your lawyer will assist you in ensuring:

  • You are following the orders of your doctors and other medical professionals.
  • You are doing all you can to improve and heal from your injury.
  • You are giving your attorney copies of your medical records of all bills related to your injury.
  • You are keeping and providing records of any wages lost due to your injury.
  • You have records of any witnesses relevant to your claim.

Your St. George lawyer will obtain relevant medical records with the use of the authorization forms that are mentioned below.  He or she will then review the records that arrive from your medical practitioners and keep your case up to date.

To Help Your Lawyer with Your Case

The top priority for you in helping your case go smoothly is to make sure your lawyer has copies of your medical bills, expenses, and loss of wages in relations to your injury. These are additional things you can do to help:

  • Return phone calls from your attorney right away.
  • Read and respond to all messages from your attorney.
  • Attend all appointments with doctors and medical professionals.
  • Keep careful records of bills and lost wages related to the injury, as previously described.
  • Keep track of all witness that may be able to testify regarding the incident or your injuries.
  • Take any photographs that your lawyer asks you for, and keep careful record of these, including copies and negatives or digital files.
  • Communicate with your lawyer immediately if you have any change in contact information such as address, email address, or phone number. Also let your lawyer know if marital status or employment status changes, or if you have any dramatic change in your health.
  • Be candid and honest when answering any questions from your lawyer.
  • Review and sign all forms requested by your lawyer.

Why do I have to sign so many forms?

Your personal information cannot be released doctors, hospitals, your employer, or anyone else without your signed authorization.   It is against the law to release your personal information, medical and otherwise, to your lawyer or anyone else without the proper documentation, and that must be signed by you.  Your lawyer will ask you to sign all of the necessary forms so that he or she can obtain the records needed for your claim.

St. George Attorneys: How do I Keep Track of all my Bills?

How Do I Keep Track of My Medical Bills?


Question: How do I keep track of all my bills?

St. George Attorney Answer:

It is very important to keep track of all of your medical bills after your injury from

your St. George, Utah car accident. Here is how to keep accurate records of your

bills:

  • Ask for a bill from each visit to a doctor or any medical treatment.

Keep a record of all of your bills from all of your medical visits, including doctors,

hospitals, physical therapists, chiropractors, or any other medical facility.

  • Keep all prescription bills and receipts.

Save copies of any charges from the pharmacy for any medicine that you buy due to

your injury.

  • Keep a chart or spreadsheet with all of your expenses related to the injury,

and make sure to keep track of dates as well.

Make a separate record with the dates of each medical treatment or prescription, as

well as the costs, including how the expense was paid (by you or by insurance). This

is very important because it allows you to have a detailed record of your injury

expenses all in one place. This will make it easier for your attorney to help you.

  • Get a copy of each medical bill, pharmacy bill, or other bill related to your St.

George injury to your attorney.

It is crucial that your attorney has copies of all medical bills, as well as your medical

bill chart or summary when your case is ready to be resolved. Whether or not your

lawyer receives copies of bills from your medical facilities, it is very important to

double check that he has all records so that you can receive the maximum value for

your injuries during your settlement. If your attorney is missing any bills or

records, your case may settle for much less than it is worth.

  • Maintain records of medical bills, even if your health insurance carrier pays

them.

If your health insurance carrier pays or processes some of your medical bills, you

must still keep records of all of the expenses paid, regardless of the payer. Keep

copies of the bills, and keep track on your expense chart or summary. Also provide

copies of these to your St. George attorney.

St. George Attorneys: How Do I Pay My Medical Bills?

St. George Attorneys: How Do I Pay My Medical Bills?


Question: How do I pay my medical bills after a car accident?

St. George Attorney Answer: Paying medical bills after an auto accident can be tricky business. The bills will likely get paid by a variety of sources. Each source may have to wait to be paid back until the case is completely resolved.

  1. The first payer that will kick in with a Utah Car Accident is the PIP coverage on the vehicle you were in when the accident occurred. This coverage will be primary. Most drivers carry PIP coverage of $3,000 per person. That is the state minimum. Some insurance companies will sell up to $100,000 in PIP benefits.
  2. The second payer will typically be any other PIP policy that is available to stack. For example, if you are a passenger in a friend’s vehicle and the two of you are rear-ended. Your friend’s PIP would kick in first. Let’s say he had $3,000 in coverage, but you had $5,000 on your own auto insurance. Your own policy may allow a supplemental stack or a true stack. A supplemental stack would give you an added $2,000 in the above example, and a true stack would give you an added $5,000 on top of the $3,000 you already got from your friend’s policy.
  3. Health Insurance will kick in after PIP benefits have been paid. If you have three separate health insurance policies, the first to kick in will typically be the one paid for by your employer, then the one paid for by you, then one paid for by a family member if the policy applies to you. Health insurance is extremely important in these situations and it serves as a great benefit to the injured party. It is important to remember that your PIP benefits do not count toward your health insurance deductible.
  4. Your own personal funds if you were not insured and are able to pay medical bills as they are incurred. Injured parties will need some cash on hand to navigate through this process, particularly if they do not hire an attorney.

Question: How Do I Get Medical Treatment if I Don’t Have Any Money?

St. George Attorney Answer: It is important that you always inform your medical providers that you are seeing them because of injuries related to a car accident. Many doctors, hospitals, chiropractors, etc., will see you on what is called an Attorney Lien. Seeing you on a lien means that your provider will hold out their bill for payment until your case has been resolved. That way, you don’t have them sending you invoices every month. Doctors typically will not see you on a lien unless you have an attorney. This is because they want an experienced attorney to be able to analyze your case and tell them that they can treat you with confidence because they will eventually be paid.

Question: Why won’t the insurance company for the person who caused my injuries automatically pay my medical bills as they occur?

St. George Attorney Answer: Simply put, the law does not require them to do this. The law requires that the tortfeasor (the party responsible for your injuries) makes you whole. The insurance company seeks to do this in one lump sum. They want to wait until all of your treatment is complete before they pay a dime. This helps them in many ways. It pinches the injured victims financially and thereby forces them to incur less bills than they may have otherwise. It also give the insurance company an opportunity to analyze your case as a whole so they can attack it better. There are tons of different varieties of pitfalls that injured victims may fall in after an auto accident. In order to get maximum recovery, your recorded medical treatment needs to be nearly flawless. Only an experienced injury attorney can help you ensure that happens.

In summary, if you get to the right doctors, and you have an attorney that gets liens set up, you have good PIP coverage, and health insurance, the months following a car accident may not be so bad after all. However, missing any of those four key ingredients can make getting a fair recovery nearly impossible. If you hire McMullin Legal Group, our focus will be handling all of this nonsense. That way, your focus can be on getting back to optimal health.

Traumatic Brain Injury Cases

Traumatic Brain Injury Cases


 

Injuries to the brain are quite common. The most likely causes of these types of injuries are: sports, traffic accidents, falls, work accidents, and assaults. Until recently, brain injuries like concussions have been thought to be relatively minor. However, recent studies have shown that concussions can create permanent scar tissue in the brain. Studies further showed that some brains had not yet fully healed to their pre-concussed state for as long as forty years after the initial injury. These long term effects are disheartening, but the potential immediate symptoms may be more startling. Some individuals suffering from even minor concussions experience P.C.S. (post-concussion syndrome). Post-concussion syndrome can manifest itself for weeks or even months following a concussion. The result is prolonged headaches, dizziness, nausea, depression, irritability, and lethargy. Even more frightening is second-impact syndrome. Second-impact syndrome occurs when a second concussion is experienced during the time that the first concussion is still actively healing. This second impact can cause the brain to swell. When this occurs, the effects are devastating. Most cases of second impact syndrome result in either death or permanent mental impairment. Those who have suffered a concussion should not return to physical activity until they have been cleared by a doctor.

The recent class action lawsuit, Maxwell v. NFL, revolved around these issues. A partial settlement was reached last year in the amount of 675 Million. Many feel that even this enormous amount is not enough to compensate the over 20,000 victims who were misdiagnosed and mistreated after experiencing concussions while playing in the NFL.

For a variety of reasons, injuries to the brain are often undervalued, both by insurance adjusters, and by society as a whole. Some of those reasons include: the lack of physical readily-observable symptoms, the lack of treatment to help repair the injured brain, and the lack of education as to recent medical discoveries regarding traumatic brain injuries.

The protein scaring discovered in the brain helps with the problem of not being able to see the symptoms of concussions. That study adds validity to the growing concern surrounding these types of injuries. The litigation involving the NFL is publicized so widely that there is reason to hope that the public will be better educated about brain injuries and their seriousness. The second problem, lack of treatment, is perhaps of greater concern. The brain is an extremely intricate part of the human body. Its function affects every aspect of our lives. Yet, the best treatment that we have for concussions is simply rest. The lack of available adequate treatment can make damages difficult to calculate in a traumatic brain injury case.

No amount of money can adequately compensate a victim who has suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the actions of another. However, an experienced injury attorney can likely help those who have suffered brain injuries recover a fair judgment or settlement.