I was in a low speed rearend collision (the other parties fault of course) it's going on 5 months of doctor visits and physical therapy. Starting to get letters that I'm going to be sent to collections even though I have told them it's an auto accident case and it'll be paid in full upon settlement. I have other questions but let me get your advise on this first. Thanks, Ed
Personal Injury Lawyer
There is no obligation, that I have seen in any auto insurance policy that requres the insurance company to pay medical bills as you continue treatment, even if they have no dispute over the fact that their insured caused the accident. There is nothing in the law to force them, or the defendant, to pay as you receive treatment (unlike, for example, workers compensation claims). You are only entitled to file a lawsuit and receive a lump sum for your past and future damages that you can prove, so the insurance company won't give you anything more than the law will give you. The closest thing they usually will do is to settle the damage to the auto and pay that, while still keeping the personal injury claim unsettled.
Some health care providers that I work with are good about putting off their payments if they know a claim is being made and some don't. Make sure you notify all your health care providers. They are entitled to a lien on your recovery amounts if they provide you your medical records without payment, and that usually satisfies most of them. Otherwise, do what you can do to pay them and get reembursed for your health care costs from the insurance company from a settlement or trial.
Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
Hi. If you have health insurance, you should give your healthcare providers that info and request that they file. Many injured people make the mistake of not filing on their health ins policy due to the injury being someone else's fault. There are several advantages to using health insurance. First, the providers are less likely to demand payment while claims are being submitted to the health ins co. Second, health ins cos usually have contracts with medical providers that reduce the total amount of the medical bills. The defendant's liability ins co cannot use this to reduce its exposure to the full amount of your bills due to what is known as the "collateral source rule." And even if your health ins co has a contractual right to be repaid from the settlement or court award (which is probably the case if it's an ERISA policy), the amount of repayment can be negotiated.
Personal Injury Lawyer
The adverse insurance carrier is generally not under an obligation to pay your ongoing medical bills. If you have private health insurance or Medicaid or Medicare, your bills should be submitted to them for payment. They will have a right to be reimbursed under a subrogation lien at the end of your case, but, in the interim, will get your medical care paid for.
Since you have been in treatment for over 5 months, it sounds like you have some serious injuries. I would suggest that you contact a personal injury attorney in your area and see whether or not the attorney is able to undertake your representation.
You also will find it helpful to review some of the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com, many of which deal with the situations you are now facing after this collision.
Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure that proper advice is received.