When you’ve suffered an injury, recovering and dealing with insurance claims and a personal injury lawsuit is hard enough. Couple that with mounting medical bills, and the weight of the situation intensifies. Your personal injury lawyer in Bryan, TX and Hempstead, TX can help you get through this time and deal with your bills while still getting the full compensation you deserve.
From Your Personal Injury Lawyer: Dealing With Bills During a Lawsuit
Texas personal injury law aims to compensate victims who suffer harm due to another’s negligence. Whether it’s a slip and fall at a local store, a car accident, or a workplace incident, the law is designed to make victims whole again. This often means compensating for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other damages.
Once a lawsuit is filed, though, the process could take months or even years to resolve, depending on the complexity of the case. During this time, medical providers expect payments for their services. So what do you do?
Health Insurance and Medical Bills
If you have health insurance, this is typically your primary resource. Notify your provider about your injury, and they should cover the costs as stipulated in your plan. You’ll be responsible for co-pays and deductibles, but the bulk of immediate costs are taken care of.
However, remember that health insurance companies often expect reimbursement from any settlement you receive from your personal injury lawsuit. This process, known as subrogation, means your insurance company can claim a portion of your settlement to cover what they paid on your behalf. It’s a delicate balance, but a practiced law firm can guide you through subrogation to ensure your rights are upheld and you don’t overpay your insurance provider or lose out on anything to which you are entitled.
Understanding the “Paid or Incurred” Rule in Texas
Health insurance companies frequently have arrangements with healthcare providers allowing them to pay reduced rates for medical procedures. For instance, a procedure costing an uninsured individual $5,000 might be available to an insurance company at a negotiated rate of $4,0300. Though the bill shows $5,000, adjustments made by insurance negotiations will mean only $4,300 is actually paid.
Historically, Texas did not allow defendants in personal injury cases to benefit from these negotiated rates, so medical losses and bills were calculated according to the regular rates, even if the insurance company actually paid only a portion of that bill. In 2003, new legislation stated that claimants could recover expenses either based on the billed amount (“incurred”) or the discounted amount paid. In 2011, the Supreme Court of Texas clarified that injured parties can only claim the discounted amount actually paid to healthcare providers.
This means it’s important to talk with your lawyer and have them liaise with insurers and medical providers, so you can be certain of exactly how much to claim. There are also legal strategies your lawyer can help you with to maximize your claim, even under the “paid or incurred” rule.
What if you don’t have personal insurance, it’s not paying, or it’s not enough to pay for your medical expenses? Texas law allows for medical providers to place a lien on personal injury settlements. Essentially, a medical lien is an agreement where the healthcare provider agrees to defer payment until your lawsuit concludes. Once you settle or win your case, the provider is paid directly from the proceeds.
This allows victims to receive necessary medical care without upfront costs. However, not all providers offer this, and there’s a risk that the settlement might not cover all the bills, leaving you responsible for the remainder. A clear understanding and agreement with your provider are crucial here, and you should always talk to your lawyer to get help.
MedPay and PIP in Texas
In Texas, automobile insurance policies often come with optional coverages known as Medical Payments (MedPay) and Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Both options serve to pay for medical expenses, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
MedPay is straightforward: it pays medical bills up to the chosen policy limit. PIP, on the other hand, is broader and covers 80% of lost wages in addition to medical expenses. While these coverages can be declined in Texas, if they are part of your policy, they can be a valuable resource to offset initial medical expenses following an accident.
Remember, like health insurance, any amounts paid by MedPay or PIP might be subject to reimbursement from your eventual lawsuit settlement or award. Always inform your attorney if you access these funds, so they can incorporate them into your legal strategy.
Engaging with Medical Creditors
While awaiting the resolution of your lawsuit, medical creditors might approach you regarding unpaid bills. It’s crucial to keep an open line of communication with them. Inform them about the ongoing personal injury lawsuit and express your intention to settle the bills once the lawsuit concludes.
While some creditors may be understanding and willing to wait, others might press for immediate payment or even send your bill to collections. If a bill does end up in collections, don’t panic. We can help you negotiate with creditors, and, in some cases, get a reduction in the bill or arrange for an affordable payment plan.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Engaging a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer with experience in the Texas system can make a significant difference in handling medical bills while your lawsuit is ongoing. We can guide you through the legal system, advise you on dealing with health insurance subrogation, and provide counsel on managing creditors.
Furthermore, experienced attorneys can estimate the potential value of your case, giving you an idea of the possible settlement amount. This can be invaluable when negotiating with medical providers or considering medical liens. Our experience and knowledge can provide the leverage needed to ensure that you receive the care you deserve without compromising your financial stability.
A collaborative approach benefits everyone involved. For medical providers, it assures them of a better chance of reimbursement. For you, it can mean lower medical costs and a smoother legal process. Building a trusting relationship between your attorney and your medical providers can also lead to better documentation of your injuries and treatments, which can be pivotal in substantiating your claims in court. Moreover, with your attorney handling these negotiations, you can focus on what’s most important: your recovery and well-being.
Your Personal Injury Lawyer in Bryan, TX and Hempstead, TX
Managing medical bills during a personal injury lawsuit can feel so overwhelming, but when you’re backed up by a qualified legal team, you can meet these challenges effectively. Always remember: your health and recovery come first, so get a lawyer on your side as soon as possible.
When you find yourself in need of guidance on personal injury matters in Texas, reach out to the law firm of Brian C. Gutierrez. Our team is committed to providing comprehensive support, ensuring that every aspect of your case, from medical bills to legal proceedings, is handled with diligence and expertise.