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Medical Bills after a Car Accident

Today’s article shares some great advice from Phoenix car accident attorney, David Michael from Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law about high medical bills caused by car accidents.  It is common knowledge that car accidents happen every day. Being involved in one can cause serious injuries, such as those to the neck and back areas. The pain associated with injury to these areas can last indefinitely, and these injuries can be difficult to diagnose and repair.

The entire ordeal can be a troublesome, and worrisome, experience. There are often significant costs associated with damage sustained in an accident, both to the individual and to their vehicle. Some examples of costs that may be incurred include: fees for a rental car, mechanic’s bills, doctors visits, and physical therapy. For those that are on tight budgets, this seemingly insurmountable mound of debt can be a source of emotional duress.

It becomes even more costly when you factor in the value of your time. You could be spending your time doing other, much more productive things such as spending time with your family or working. However, you now have to take time from your day to resolve numerous issues the accident has created. For example, a doctor’s visit could last approximately 20 minutes, but driving to the appointment and waiting in the waiting room could add an additional hour or two.

Whether you are in the emergency room or the doctor’s office, the billing staff will ask you to provide insurance information. While you should provide them with the other driver’s car insurance information, you should also provide them with your own health insurance information. This may appear to be counterproductive and defy logic. After all, the other person was the cause of your car accident and resulting injuries, and therefore they should pay.

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You may ask why your insurance company should be billed for something in which you have no responsibility. However, this is in your financial best interest. In most cases, not providing your health insurance information at the time of the accident could reduce the total amount of money that you are able to recover.

There is no cut and dry method to resolving medical bills from car accidents, but car insurance companies are quite different from health insurance companies. Car insurance companies will dispute your bills and minimize the extent of your injuries in order to lessen their financial responsibility. The adjuster from the other driver’s insurance company has one task: to pay you as little as possible. Before they agree to write you a check, they will want you to waive your rights for payment for more treatment in the future. This can be problematic if you discover that the extent of your injuries is greater than you had originally thought.

You are considered legally responsible for any medical debt you incur until it is decided otherwise. If you provide only the other driver’s car insurance information, then your account may indicate that you will be paying for any remaining balance out of pocket, also known as “self pay”. There is no way for the billing department to know that you have other medical insurance that would cover the remaining balance. When they see that you had $100,000 in medical debt and the car insurance claim resolved $50,000, they will eventually send you a bill asking for the $50,000 that is left on your account.

At this point you may be able to call the billing representative and request that they bill your insurance company for the remainder, however keep in mind that there is a time limit for filing medical claims. If the car insurance claim has taken too long, then your visit could have exceeded the time limit, and the medical insurance company could reject your claim. If this happens, you will be responsible for the remaining amount, and you could be referred to a collections agency for nonpayment. In certain networks you may also be banned from visiting that particular doctor’s office again until your account is brought back to good standing.

It is worth noting that most health insurance companies, especially the larger companies, have contracted discounts through the hospital and your doctor’s office, thus further reducing the total amount of charges. These discounts can very rarely be applied to claims that are too old for reimbursement even if you can prove your health insurance was active at the time the injury occurred. The bottom line is to be sure to promptly submit all of your medical bills to your health insurance company. The doctors need to get paid, and if it’s not through your own insurance, it will be deducted from your final settlement.

If you or a loved one have been faced with outrageous medical bills due to a truck accident or car accident, speak to a Phoenix car accident lawyer today from Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law! Click Here to request a free case evaluation.


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