Will Your Lawyer Pay Your Doctor Bills on Your Personal Injury Case?

Will Your Lawyer Pay Your Doctor Bills on Your Personal Injury Case?
Will Your Lawyer Pay Your Doctor Bills on Your Personal Injury Case?

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.

Lawyer Referral Information Service – August Newsletter 2017

A General Scope for Social Security Eligibility.
by Allison Affleck

A person may become unable to work for many different reasons. He or she may, for example, develop a form of cancer, or lose a limb to diabetes, or develop a blockage resulting in a heart attack. The physical manifestations are often obvious. There may also, however, be mental or psychological impairments that one cannot physically see that plague a person the most. These symptoms may be brought on by emotional trauma as well as physical, and may result in post-traumatic stress disorder, for example. Sometimes, psychological conditions such as severe depression and anxiety may develop as the result of the continued effects of physical injuries such as pain. Unfortunately, these conditions may not be as easily recognized, diagnosed, or treated as quickly and effectively as physical problems may be.

To determine whether or not a person is disabled because of a mental impairment, Social Security considers how a person’s functional limitations may preclude work. To be eligible for Social Security disability based on a mental or psychological impairment, a person must demonstrate one of the following: first, that his or her psychological condition(s) meets or equals one of the “listed” impairments outlined by the Social Security Administration (SSA listing 12.00 Mental Disorders – Adult) or second, that his functional limitations result in a “residual functional capacity” that would preclude work. To satisfy these requirements, SSA looks to medical evidence, including opinions from treating medical providers, and testimony from the claimant, among other information.

The requirements for meeting or equaling a listed impairment are very specific. Some of these general conditions include: neurocognitive disorders; schizophrenia; depression; bipolar; intellectual disorders; anxiety; obsessive-compulsive disorders; and trauma- and stressor- related disorders. If a person’s condition(s) meets or equals the requirements of one of these listings, and the durational component is met, he should be awarded disability.

If a person can’t prove that his mental impairment meets or equals the requirements of a listing, he may also establish the degree of his disability through his “residual functional capacity” or “RFC.” Here, he demonstrates how his functionally impaired abilities would preclude his ability to perform certain work activities. Some abilities SSA may consider in determining an RFC include: the ability to relate and respond appropriately to people in a work setting; the ability to attend meetings; the ability to work around the home; the ability to socialize with friends and neighbors; the ability to care for personal needs; the ability to understand, carry out and remember instructions; the ability to maintain attention/concentration; the ability to respond appropriately to supervision; the ability to function independently to complete tasks; the ability to respond to customary work pressures; the ability to demonstrate reliability; and the ability to maintain persistence and

pace. SSA considers, alone or together, whether the total of such limitations would preclude work. For example, perhaps a person’s symptoms cause him to be “off-task” for 15% or more of the work day. Or, maybe a person’s symptoms would cause him to be consistently late to work, need to leave early from work, or to miss more than one day of work per month. Such limitations would most likely preclude work.

Counsel should keep in mind the importance of psychological or mental impairments, as well as physical components of a disability, to determine the true cause and limiting effects of a person’s conditions. He or she should fully bring into focus the participation of each and the weight that each must be afforded.

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Social Security Disability

1. Not Hiring an Attorney. Assuming you can go it alone or can’t afford an attorney. Get help from an attorney and don’t wait until the month, the week, the day before the hearing to call a lawyer or your hearing will have to be postponed and reset. Even if you do wait until the last minute, do call an attorney to help you. When you go to the hearing without an attorney the judge will strongly suggest you need an attorney. You might as well get a head start by start calling for an attorney today.

2. Not Appealing Your Denial. Appeal, appeal, appeal each and every denial. And make sure you appeal it timely. You have 60 days plus 5 days mailing time to appeal the denial. You also need to check the status of your claim by calling Social Security as too many claims get lost in the system. If you don’t check the status periodically, you may miss the deadline to appeal. Do keep checking with Social Security on the status of your claim, and don’t forget to keep appealing each and every denial.

3. Not Taking Your Doctor’s Advice. Your doctor tells you, “take your medication and return in 3 months.” It’s a mistake not to take your doctor’s advice, as you can’t get social security disability unless you show continuous and consistent medical treatment. However, you don’t have any money coming in and you can’t afford the doctor’s visits and the medications. You feel as if you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. You’re going to have to use free or low cost medical clinics available in your community. If you have a mental impairment, contact your county mental health department. If you have a physical impairment, go online and check out charitable clinics listed on the website at http://charitablecarenetwork.com/resources/find-a-clinic/ Please also review the website’s guidelines in order to use one of their charitable clinics and don’t forget to contact the clinic directly before going to the clinic.

4. Not Including Your Mental Impairments. You need to list ALL your severe impairments including your mental impairments as well as your physical impairments on your application. Not including your mental impairments such as depression or panic attacks may be the key element to winning your disability claim, as your physical impairments may still allow you to hold down a sit-down job but your depression and panic attacks prevented you from holding down sit-down jobs that you could do.

5. Not Going to Social Security’s Medical Exam. When Social Security sends you a notice to attend a medical appointment, it’s a good sign. By sending you to a medical exam, Social Security is telling you that you may have a valid claim and some medical information is missing from your own doctor’s records. You will want to be on time for the doctor’s appointment. If you know you are unable to attend the appointment due to a scheduling conflict, you will need to notify Social Security as far in advance as possible so the appointment may be rescheduled. If you don’t show up, it’s a red flag to the adjudicator and it’s likely that the appointment won’t be rescheduled and your claim will likely be delayed and then denied.

Remember, even if you have been turned down for social security disability benefits, you may still be eligible. Contact our experienced law team at Affleck & Gordon today. We can help.

FREE CONSULTATION – Contact our office today at 404-373-1649 to schedule a free case review.