Matthew B. Troutman
How to handle unpaid medical bills when you settle your auto accident claim.
One of the biggest concerns of the victim in an auto accident, truck accident or motorcycle accident is how will my medical expenses be paid and how will this effect the amount of money I receive. I will lay out the options below for the auto accident victim regarding how his or her medical expenses can be paid.
Kentucky No-Fault (also called PIP) provides $10,000.00 to pay for medical expenses incurred by the car accident victim.
If the vehicle you occupied at the time of your car accident was insured (not true for motorcycles), then you will have $10,000.00 of insurance to pay for medical expenses and lost wages. This insurance is called Kentucky No-Fault Insurance or Personal Insurance Protection (a term used by the insurance companies). If this insurance pays for all your medical expenses, then you do not have to worry about paying the medical expenses or reimbursing the auto insurance carrier. However, if the $10,000.00 in Kentucky No-Fault will not satisfy all your medical expenses or you did not have insurance on your vehicle, then you will need to use your health insurance to pay your medical expenses. If you do not have health insurance, then the medical bills will have to be paid out of your settlement or resolved on your own outside the settlement. If health insurance has paid some of your accident related medical expenses, these payments will have to be paid out of your personal injury settlement against the at fault party.
Health Insurance Payments must be reimbursed out of the Personal Injury Settlement.
All health insurance policies have reimbursement provisions in them requiring the insured to reimburse them for medical bills paid as a result of an auto accident, truck accident or motorcycle accident. Your attorney is required to resolve these claims or make reasonable efforts to do so. Frequently, the attorney can negotiate a reduced amount on health insurance claims for reimbursement and if he or she is able to do this then the amount of your recovery will increase. There are certain strategies that attorneys can employ that will reduce or even eliminate these health insurance liens and, therefore, it is important to choose an auto accident lawyer who has significant experience in this area.
What can you do about medical bills if you have no health insurance.
If you have health insurance, you have the best way to satisfy expensive medical bills. Even though you have to reimburse the health insurance company out of your settlement, your overall financial position is better because your medical bills have been satisfied at a fraction of the real cost. For instance, if you have a $20,000.00 hospital bill and your health insurance satisfies this bill by paying $3,000.00, then your personal injury settlement may be reduced by as much as $3,000.00, but the $20,000.00 bill has been satisfied. If you had no health insurance, you would receive $3,000.00 more in your settlement, but you would have to resolve a $20,000.00 bill.
In Kentucky, there is no statutory hospital lien or medical provider lien provision that exists is in a lot of states, including Indiana and Tennessee. This is important because it means your attorney does not have to pay these bills if you have no insurance. The attorney can pay you the full settlement and let you address your bills on your own.
Resolving your medical bills in an auto accident claim is complicated and knowing the best options to maximize the amount of money a client actually puts in his or her pocket is critical to the success of the claim. It is important that you choose an attorney who deals exclusively with these claims and has the experience necessary to maximize your recovery.