Will the doctors, hospitals and other medical facilities wait for payment if I am unable to pay my bills as they are incurred after I suffer personal injuries in an auto accident?
In some cases where there is no immediate method to pay medical bills as they are incurred, many doctors, hospitals, and other medical facilities will wait to be paid for their services when the case is finally resolved by way of settlement or verdict in court. It is important to let medical providers know early in the process if you have no insurance or financial means to pay medical bills as they are incurred.
How does my lawyer make sure that the doctors and medical facilities will get paid?
Most lawyers have a policy of withholding money from the settlement or court verdict to pay doctors and medical facilities. Some doctors and medical facilities require that the patient/client sign a form (usually called a subrogation or lien form) which allows the attorney to withhold enough money to pay medical bills directly from the insurance settlement proceeds.
Why won’t the insurance company for the person or company who caused my injuries automatically pay my medical bills as they occur?
Most insurance companies for the tortfeasor (the person, persons or company who caused your injuries) will not automatically pay medical bills as they occur. There are many reasons for this. One reason is that they do not want to spend a substantial amount of money for medical bills and then be faced with an unreasonable or excessive demand at the time of final settlement. In other words, they do not want to expend a substantial sum of money on medical bills and then be faced with the chance of defending a lawsuit. Secondly, most insurance companies want to conclude or settle the claim with one sum of money. Therefore, most liability insurance companies will wait for the letter of demand from your attorney and then try to conclude the case all at once with one payment.
How do I keep track of all my bills?
One of the most important things for you to do is to keep an accurate record of your medical bills. This is how you do it:
a. Ask for a medical bill each time you see a doctor or facility. Maintain a record of your visits and make sure that you obtain a medical bill for each visit to your doctor, hospital, physical therapist or medical facility.
b. Save all prescription bills. Be sure to save copies of your prescriptions and drugstore charges for medicine that you purchase as a result of your injury.
c. Keep a separate chart with dates, amounts of medical bills, and purchases of medication. Maintain a separate record which has the date of the medical service or purchase of medication, the amount charged, and how the bill was paid (by insurance, your own personal funds, etc.). This requirement is very important because it will be your actual record of medical bills incurred as a result of your injury.
d. Be sure that your lawyer receives a copy of each medical bill, prescription bill, or other bill related to your injury. It is important for us to receive copies of all your medical bills as well as a copy of your medical bill summary when your case is ready for settlement. Even though we may receive copies of bills directly from the medical facilities, a double-check process will assure that your claim settles for the maximum value. If we do not have a record of all your medical bills, your case may be settled for much less than its actual value.
e. Keep a record of medical bills even if they are processed though a health insurance carrier. Even if your medical bills are paid by a health insurance company or your employer, you must still maintain copies for yourself and be sure to get copies to us.