Your lawyer may pay a doctor to review your medical chart and render an expert opinion, but your lawyer won’t pay your regular medical bills. But what if your lawyer sends you to a doctor to be examined? Your lawyer may pay for you to be examined by a doctor on a one-time basis to render an opinion that your condition was caused by the accident, but not for ongoing regular treatments. For example, you were involved in a car wreck on June 15, 2017 and had a lumbar strain and saw the doctor every week and the physical therapist three times a week for three months. You’ll need a statement from your doctor that it’s her opinion that your lumbar strain and resulting medical care was caused by the June 15, 2017 car wreck. However, your doctor may be unwilling to get involved or sign a statement. Your attorney will either have your records reviewed or send you to a doctor to obtain a causation and disability statement. This is an expense that your attorney will probably pay for. However, no lawyer can pay your ongoing medical bills.
Treatment that is provided by your doctor is a regular medical bill. You will need to treat these bills as you would any other medical expense. If you have health insurance, your health insurance carrier should be billed. Be sure to tell your attorney about all types of insurance coverage including Medicare, a Medicare supplemental provider, any other health insurance carriers, TRICARE, or the VA.
Why is it vital to maximize your health insurance policies coverage? The answer is simple. Any unpaid medical bills will have to be subtracted from your settlement. When you hear the settlement offer you may feel it’s favorable until after all your doctor and hospital bills are paid and you are left with the net amount and feel disappointed. Wait. You’re still worried. You recall signing something that if you obtained a recovery that the insurance company is entitled to be reimbursed. Lo and behold, there is a statute that considers this. If your case settles and does not go to trial, you can argue that the insurance carriers are not entitled to reimbursement on the grounds that you were not fully compensated by the recovery or “made whole” for all your economic and non-economic losses. You will need to consult an attorney to ensure that your settlement documents provide such a statement.
For those involved in a motor vehicle accident, our firm will look to see if you will benefit from MEDPAY or Medical Payments coverage. Medical Payments coverage is a form of no-fault medical coverage which follows your vehicle. If you or passengers in your vehicle are injured, whether you are at fault, Medical Payments may be available to contribute towards your medical bills.
For those who do not have health insurance, there are some doctors who treat on a lien basis. You will need to sign an agreement that you will pay the doctor out of your settlement or verdict. Of course, not all doctors are willing to treat on a lien basis and you may have to do some searching until you find a doctor willing to treat you based on a lien. Your attorney will be able to assist you with this.
In summary, a good personal injury attorney will assist you with identifying all possible sources of insurance coverage for payment of medical bills. The coordination of medical benefits is likely to ensure that you receive the best possible medical care and increase the value of your personal injury settlement.