Will My Florida Accident Attorney Negotiate My Medical Bills After a Personal Injury Settlement?
When you’ve been injured in an accident, many people believe that the at-fault party’s insurance company will automatically pay for your medical treatment. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Often times, it may take many months of negotiating with the insurance company before they will finally agree to pay you insurance proceeds. In the meantime, if you don’t have health insurance, you will have incurred a substantial amount of medical bills that have gone unpaid. Even if you have health insurance, there will likely be a sizable lien that you will be required to pay back. To make matters worse, the amount of insurance coverage may not be sufficient to pay all of your outstanding bills or liens, and still properly compensate you for injury.
One of the most important services a personal injury attorney will provide (if yours doesn’t, you may want to find another lawyer) is the negotiation of your medical bills. Below are the steps taken in an attempt to ensure that your bills get paid and to see that you are treated as fairly as possible under the circumstances of your case.
It’s pretty rare for an insurance company to make any offer to settle a personal injury claim without first receiving a demand for payment. Accordingly, when your treatment has reached a point where a demand can be made after evaluating the extent of your injury versus the amount of available insurance coverage, your lawyer will sit down with you to discuss a demand amount. Before this meeting, your lawyer will have contacted all of your medical providers and lien holders to obtain current balances for all your accounts. This way you’ll know what any settlement amount means to you after paying your attorney, any costs, and all medical bills or liens in full. Depending on the amount of insurance coverage involved, this may mean that you will demand policy limits. However, if there is substantial coverage, you may have to come up with a fair demand amount wherein you will be satisfied with the net recovery after subtracting out all of your bills.
Even though you may have come up with what you believe, in consultation with your attorney, to be a fair amount to demand for a settlement, the insurance company will, more likely than not, refuse to pay you that amount. Instead, the insurance company will want to negotiate. If after negotiating you are able to reach an agreement in which all your bills can be paid and you can be compensated personally for your injuries, that is great. Your attorney should still then review all of your bills to ensure that all treatment was, in fact, accident related and billed properly, and then contact all of your medical providers and lienholders to negotiate any outstanding amounts to maximize your recovery.
However, many times the amount offered may only pay your bills or, worse yet, the insurance company will offer an amount less than what you owe arguing that the amount billed was excessive. When this happens, you have two options. The first would be to file a lawsuit. However, if you are like a lot of people, you may not want to do this, or maybe your case is not feasible for a lawsuit (not all cases are). The second option then would be to negotiate your bills to make the settlement work.
Medical Bill Negotiation
The first thing your lawyer will do before negotiating your medical bills is to make sure that the medical services for which you are being charged were billed correctly. For example, if you have health insurance and the medical provider accepts it, yet chose not to bill it (there are time limits for billing insurance), you may have an argument that the medical provider has waived its right to receive payment for that particular service. Once it is determined that all amounts were billed correctly, your lawyer will then contact each medical provider and lienholder to negotiate your outstanding balances. Although doctors always want to get paid for their services, they are typically not unreasonable. Under most circumstances, your doctor will prefer to receive some compensation for their services instead of having to commence collections against you.
Consult a Qualified Florida Personal Injury Attorney
The attorneys at SouthShore Injury Attorneys do not stop when your case has closed. We will continue to strive to maximize your recovery, and will negotiate with all of your medical providers to achieve the best possible result for your case. We handle only personal injury claims, and are experienced in representing injury victims throughout the State of Florida. If you’ve suffered injuries in an Apollo Beach personal injury accident, contact SouthShore Injury Attorneys at (813 )419-3866 for a free consultation.
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