A large part of a personal injury lawyer’s job is obtaining sufficient compensation for the client so he or she can pay off her medical bills and have some money left over as consolation. However, given the costs of medicine and health care in this day and age, that is no small task. Hospitals and health care providers are increasingly charging more and more. It is not uncommon to have a six-figure bill after a surgery.
A large part of what I do is not just negotiating a settlement with the opposing party’s insurance carrier, but also negotiating with the hospitals and doctors’ offices in an effort to get their bills reduced. Because once we have a firm settlement number, the more I can get a hospital to shave off their bill, the more you, the client, gets to take home!
Overpriced Car Accident Clinics
Beware of various clinics that purport to “specialize” in car accident treatment. Some of these clinics will over treat, or over charge for whatever treatment they render. I’ve seen individuals with minor soft-tissue injuries go to these clinics and get a $20,000 bill.
The goal should be to get necessary treatment so that you adequately treat your injuries, heal up and feel better. But some of these chiropractors and doctors see nothing but dollar signs from the insurance policy and make it their goal to bill as much as they can under the limits of the policy. The problem for you is that now you are fighting two enemies! On the one hand, you already have to deal the opposing party – the person who injured you in the car accident – and their insurance company and/or lawyers. But now on the other ‘hand, you are fighting with the treating physician/clinic/chiropractor for their ridiculously high bill, that may exceed the policy limits of the defendant’s insurance! The goal is to avoid this scenario to begin with. But if you find yourself in this predicament, then you need to get in touch with an experienced car accident and insurance lawyer immediately. And this is an area where I practice frequently.
What a Good Attorney does: works to reduce the medical bills
First, we must settle your claim. We have to reach an agreement with the opposing party’s insurance carrier. And if we can’t reach an agreement, then we will proceed in court and prepare the case for trial. What separates my practice from the typical settlement mill is that I’m not afraid to try cases… in fact I welcome jury trials. And often, the cases that wouldn’t settle actually do as the trial date approaches.
Once we have a settlement or verdict, we then work on getting the health care providers to adjust their bills appropriately. The more we can save you on medical bills, the more money you take home. However, if the hospitals and doctors refuse to work with us in a reasonable manner, then we’ll have no choice but to take the matter to court and ask the judge to reduce the bills.
Asking the Court to Intervene when the Medical Providers become unreasonable
After a settlement is reached, we will file a motion to disburse funds, or a petition in interpleader, depending on whether a lawsuit was filed prior to settlement. Sometimes theses motions and petitions are filed jointly with the insurance attorneys.
The District Court possesses equitable powers to reduce these liens in favor of justice. If your bills are too high, especially when compared to the amount of the settlement or verdict, the injuries sustained, the facts about the accident, and the attorney fees and costs involved, then there is a good chance the court may reduce the medical liens in the interest of justice.
Conclusion: Handling our Clients’ Medical Bills is a routine part of the Service we provide Clients
Dealing with medical bills is a large part of what we do as personal injury attorneys. But it’s an important component to adequate representation of an injured client. While we view the primary function of our job is to obtain a settlement or verdict, an ancillary function of that is putting the most money in your pocket at the end of the day, and it only helps if you have less bills to pay at the end of the case than when it started.