Written by Kenneth B. Crawford
Out of nowhere, it happens. You have a terrifying accident where you are thrown around in your car and injured. In the moments following a car accident, the primary concern is for your physical wellbeing. You may be taken the hospital via ambulance. There’s a bill. In the emergency room, you fill out paperwork. You are seen by nurses and doctors. There’s another bill. You are x-rayed or have an MRI. Behind the scenes, this is reviewed by a radiologist and given to the doctor. If the radiologists are separate from the hospital, there’s another bill for that. If you have surgery, you are given anesthesia under the supervision of an anesthesiologist. Another bill.
If you have health insurance, some of these medical providers will submit the bill to your health insurers. The hospital may refrain from doing so, instead opting to file a hospital lien. After you are released from the hospital, you may have follow up visits with an orthopedist or have physical therapy or chiropractor visits. More bills.
Sometime following the accident, hopefully immediately, you report the accident to your automobile insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The adjuster calls or writes and gives you the claim number. They may want to take your recorded statement, and they may want you to sign a HIPAA medical authorization form so they can get your medical records and talk to you. Also, you may be getting numerous Explanation of Benefits or EOBs from your health insurance company. If you have Medicare or Medicaid, you may be getting statements from them. Or, if you don’t have any insurance, you may be getting collection letters and bills from the doctors.
At some point, all of this may start to pile up for you. You may ask yourself: What are my rights? What should I be doing to make sure I’m fairly compensated by the auto insurance companies? Surely these insurance companies will do the right thing. They have my best interest at heart, right? Right?
Wrong. Automobile insurance companies make money by taking premiums for covering certain potential losses. Whether or not you have a claim (accident) is just a numbers game. On any given day, a certain number of people will have accidents and get injured. Insurance companies can use statistics and other math to estimate how frequently that will happen. They have no control over that. The only thing they have control over is how much they pay out on those claims that occur. Insurance companies exist to make profits, and they make profit by paying out the least possible amount they can on a claim. The less money you get, the more money they make. In addition, virtually all health insurers, Medicare and Medicaid require that you reimburse them out of your recovery. Hospitals take advantage of a loophole to submit you the full amount of the bill by filing a hospital lien rather than submit its bill to your health insurer. The hospitals and medical doctors are looking out for your physical well-being, but no one is looking out for your financial well-being. You need help navigating through the myriad laws and regulations. You need someone on your team who knows what auto insurance companies, health insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid can and cannot do. You need someone who can tell you what is fair, and to make sure you get that fair compensation. In addition, a personal injury attorney can handle this for you on a contingent fee basis, which means he is compensated out of the insurance recovery. There is no cost to you if there is no collection. And also, more importantly, your interests are aligned. The more money your attorney gets for you, the more money he earns. You need to carefully select your attorney, the same way you need to carefully select your doctor, but a good attorney can guide you through this trying time and make sure that you are treated fairly. Contact Kenneth B. Crawford for a free consultation today.