The three questions I probably hear the most often are: 1) How long will this take? 2) How much will it cost? and 3) What is it worth? When I first meet with someone, it is likely that all three of these questions will be asked.
What Happens If My Medical Bills Are More Than My Insurance or the Other Party’s Insurance Will Cover?
First, we would look at the other party’s insurance coverage and see what they have. If it is a case where the total amount of available insurance coverage is insufficient to fully compensate you, then we have to consider other potential sources of recovery. We might look at the net worth of the person who caused the injuries, to see if that person has sufficient assets to satisfy any judgment that we might obtain against them. We would also see if you have insurance coverage that would provide some type of benefit to you.
In the context of an automobile wreck there could be uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which is coverage that you might have under your automobile insurance policy. This compensates you due to another driver’s failure to maintain any insurance coverage or sufficient insurance coverage. Similarly, if you have health insurance, then it is possible that your health insurance carrier would work with you in terms of the amount that they expect to be reimbursed.
When you are in a situation where there is likely not enough insurance coverage, you need to talk to an experienced attorney, because that person will help walk you through this maze — it is not easy!
Can Medical Bills be Negotiated Down By A Personal Injury Attorney?
It is generally easier to negotiate a reduction in the total amount that has to be paid if it is with your health insurance carrier, as opposed to a healthcare provider. If you go to the emergency room and the bill has been paid by your health insurance carrier, then it is probably going to be much easier to negotiate a reduction with them than it would be through the hospital itself, but it really is a matter of looking at the numbers. It is difficult and can be time consuming, but, if successful, it increases the bottom line as to what you receive.
How Long Can a Personal Injury Case Typically Take?
Typically, we cannot even begin trying to resolve your case until you have completed all of your medical treatment relating to the injuries you sustained. However, there are exceptions.
For instance, if you have sustained catastrophic injuries, we want to get the lawsuit filed as soon as possible to preserve the evidence. If there are concerns about the statute of limitations (period of time in which a lawsuit can be filed), we have to get the lawsuit filed or waive any right you have to pursue a claim.
When you have finished all of your medical treatment, we are then in a position to take your medical bills, medical records, and time missed from work, and determine the value of your case.
You do not want to prematurely resolve your case because the insurance company is only going to write you a check when your case is settled. You will then have to sign a release. In doing so, you are waiving your right to pursue any type of claim against the other person or their insurance carrier for your resulting injuries. Thus, if you settle your case too quickly and you later find out that you are going to need to have surgery and will be out of work, you will not be able to make another claim.
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