Personal Injury Settlement – Who Will Pay the Medical Bills?
March 25, 2021 | Personal Injury
This question weighs heavily on the minds of many personal injury victims. The medical bills following a catastrophic injury, like a spine injury, could exceed $4 million.
Expenses related to other serious injuries, such as head injuries and even broken bones, could be tens of thousands of dollars.
That’s especially true when considering physical therapy and other non-emergency treatment costs.
A New York personal injury attorney is not a doctor.
However, a lawyer can quickly connect victims with experienced medical providers. Additionally, thanks to a lawyer’s efforts, these professionals usually defer their bills.
So, accident victims do not need to worry about paying bills. They just need to worry about getting better.
Establishing Medical Expenses
When it comes to establishing damages in a negligence case, medical bills contain invaluable information. However, before bills are presented in court, there are some issues to consider and some obstacles to overcome.
Over-relying on medical bills could be a mistake.
Frequently, these statements contain few or no treatment notes. These notes help establish pain levels and other intangible items.
So, an attorney often needs to look elsewhere to prove intangible expenses.
Typically, witnesses can testify not only about an accident but also about how an accident affected a victim.
Furthermore, medical bills are not always accurate, especially in terms of diagnosis issues. Misdiagnosis is the leading cause of medical malpractice claims.
These issues often come up when a general practice doctor tries to diagnose and treat injury-related conditions, like whiplash and brain injuries. Therefore, an attorney often needs backup evidence.
Finally, medical bills are only admissible in court if an attorney lays the proper foundation.
Medical Bill Deferral
It’s very difficult for victims to pay medical bills in the wake of an accident.
Typically, victims are unable to work, so there is no money coming in. Additionally, most people have less than $1,000 in savings. Many families have nothing at all.
As mentioned, attorneys can usually defer medical billing until the case is resolved.
They send letters of protection to medical providers. These letters guarantee payment when the case is resolved.
So, these providers charge nothing upfront for their services.
As a bonus, attorneys normally have professional relationships with doctors who specialize in injury cases.
So, victims get the medical treatment they need, as opposed to what an insurance company is willing to pay for.
If you need additional financial assistance, an attorney might be able to arrange for a lawsuit loan. A bank gives a victim a cash advance in exchange for part of a future financial settlement.
Always speak with your attorney before you borrow money in this way.
Payment of Medical Bills
Like most expenses, medical bills cannot be deferred forever.
When the day of reckoning comes, different states separate medical bills from other settlement funds in different ways.
This area of law is called the collateral source rule. New York’s version of this rule is very complex.
Let’s back up for a moment. An attorney is not just a good litigator. An attorney is also a good negotiator. So, lawyers can often reduce medical bills.
Assume Felix is seriously hurt in a car crash. His doctors provide $50,000 worth of services.
Felix’s lawyer convinces his doctors to cut their medical bills in half. In some cases, Felix might be able to pocket the extra $25,000. Unfortunately, that’s not true in all cases.
Timing is important in these situations as well.
If the case settles too early, the settlement amount might not fully account for all future medical expenses. It’s very difficult to reopen a closed case.
So, these victims might have to pay these future expenses out of pocket.
Medical bill payment is often the largest part of a personal injury settlement.
For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act.
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