I Have Health Insurance. Should I Use Health Insurance For My Alabama Car Accident Case?
You suffered a car accident. In the hours and days after the accident, you start hurting badly. You need medical care. The whole process can be challenging and frustrating. When you are seriously hurt in a car crash, you suddenly have many issues. Scheduling appointments. Missing work. Transportation. Waiting for doctors. These may all be worries. Then, you start receiving bills. Lots of bills. Confusing bills. Bills can be an overwhelming worry.
If you have health insurance, you are very fortunate. You should definitely use your health insurance to pay your medical bills.
Why Should I Use My Health Insurance? Someone Else Caused The Crash.
You need medical treatment now. You want to heal. And, your doctors want to be paid. But, cases take time. I know — I see the lawyers on television promising fast cash or quick checks for your wreck. These lawyers are parasites playing on your fears. They may settle your claim quickly. If you are seriously hurt, their quick settlements will NOT be fair for you.
If you want a just and fair result for your claim, it usually takes time. Time for you to seek real treatment. Time to determine the full extent of your injuries and damages. Time to investigate and develop the case. Time to prepare the claim so it is best presented.
What should you do? Use your insurance. Get the bills paid. Avoid the problems of overdue bills, medical debts, and collection calls.
Why Is The Medical Clinic Refusing To Take My Health Insurance?
The answer is simple. It’s greed. This is a common issue with a select group of hospitals, chiropractors and physical therapists in Alabama. What’s happening? The clinic knows you had an Alabama car accident. If they bill Blue Cross (or some other coverage) a couple things will happen. First, health insurance providers do not pay the full, high sticker price. Health insurers pay a reduced, reasonable amount in satisfaction of the bills. Second, health insurers might question bills for unnecessary treatment.
Clinics who refuse health insurance payments in car accident cases are looking for a windfall. They are looking for a windfall at your expense. It’s a real BAD deal for you. Why? In the end, they will take a lot more of your settlement money. You will ultimately keep less. If you have health insurance, you should insist the provider bill health insurance and not make a higher claim directly against your case.
In the past, Alabama hospitals would refuse to bill insurance. Instead, they would assert liens directly against injured patients for the full bill whenever another driver caused the injury. Fortunately, the Alabama Legislature recently amended our law. Now, hospitals are required to bill insurance if you have it, before filing a lien against you. I’ve written several articles on this blog about hospital liens. My most recent hospital lien article details the change in Alabama law.
A common (and wrong) scheme in Alabama and many other states involves settlement mill lawyers (billboard and television lawyers) who have arrangements with a specific clinic. How does it work? You hire the lawyer. The lawyer sends you to his clinic. The clinic bills at a high sticker price and collects fully from your settlement. You end up with less. The billboard lawyer and his medical person enrich themselves at your expense. If you have health insurance, the lawyer should have told you to use it. If you don’t have health insurance, the lawyer should have tried to negotiate down the medical charges. But, he did not. Instead, he used your settlement money to pay his friend top dollar! These advertising lawyers are NOT looking out for your interest.
Why Did My Health Insurer Send A Letter About My Car Accident?
If you have health insurance, you should have the insurer pay your medical bills. You will avoid unpaid bills and collection calls. And, you will avoid liens and claims by medical providers for higher, sticker price charges.
Most health insurers and medical payers (including Blue Cross, Medicare, Tricare, etc) have certain rights to be reimbursed if you get money from your accident case. I know, you hate to pay back money. I do too. But, reimbursement is still better than letting clinics, chiropractors and therapists take money directly from your settlement. Remember, health insurers usually pay a reduced amount less than the bill. This means you pay less back out of your money later. And, a skilled lawyer can often negotiate these health insurance reimbursement claims even lower (saving you even more money). Make sure you hire a lawyer dedicated to your interests who will work hard to put the most money in your pocket.
What About Car / Auto Insurance?
If you are hurt, you need to focus first on healing. Until you’ve recovered (or the doctors have done all they can to help), you don’t know the full extent of your damages. Neither do the lawyers on television promising quick checks for wrecks.
Focus first on healing. Once you receive some treatment, then you (or your lawyers) can begin to understand the value of your case. Then, you can pursue money claims. Only then, will you or your lawyers be able to determine fully how much to claim. Billboard lawyers who promise quick settlements often make claims before the full extent of your injuries can be valued. That’s bad for you.
Alabama law requires all drivers to possess a minimum amount of auto insurance. Some drivers still ignore the law and are uninsured. Others may be underinsured for your injuries. If the other driver does not have enough insurance, you can make a claim for uninsured / underinsured coverage (commonly called UIM) on your policy. I’ve written on several occasions about the need for Alabama drivers to purchase plenty of UIM coverage. It’s pretty cheap compared to other insurance costs. And, it provides lots of needed coverage for serious Alabama accidents.
The Blackwell Law Firm represents people across Alabama with serious personal injury cases. Many of these cases involve car or truck accidents. If you have questions about an accident, injury or insurance issue, let us know. Consultations are always free and confidential.