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Getting Medical Care After Your Car Wreck--It's Not As Difficult As You Might Think in New Mexico!

Posted by attorney Mark Caruso

You've been in a car, truck or motorcycle wreck in New Mexico. You're injured. You need medical care. The doctor's office says they won't accept your health insurance, and the auto insurance company for the at-fault driver won't pay your medical bills (or maybe they won't even return your calls). What do you do? Auto liability insurance does not work like health insurance. They are not going to pay your medical bills as you go along. The auto insurance company expects you to go out and get all the medical care you need. Then, when you've completed all of your medical care, they want you to gather your medical bills and ask for reimbursement in one lump sum. That's right. You only get one bite at the apple. It's a one time settlement payment. And you cannot go back later and ask for additional money if your injuries turn out to be worse than you thought. Getting medical care after a car wreck can be complicated and frustrating. A common mistake is failing to contact an experienced injury lawyers like the albuquerque, New Mexico Caruso Law Offices as soon as possible. That error may result in a "gap" in medical care, which the auto liability insurance company will use to argue that you did not go to the doctor because you were not really injured. The insurance company knows it's not true, but they don't care about that. Their goal is to pay you the least amount of money possible. It is extremely important that you get the medical care you need as quickly as possible after the wreck. You may have been transported to the hospital by ambulance. Or you may have gone to the Emergency Room on your own. Maybe you haven’t been able to see any health care provider because of your concern about who will pay. You will be billed for the treatment you received--whether you have insurance or not. But what do you do after that? At Caruso Law Offices we can help you get the medical care you need, and we can make the at fault driver’s insurance pay for it. Here are some options that you should consider. • Health Insurance: If you have health insurance coverage, you should use it. Unfortunately, several of Albuquerque’s HMO plans (Presbyterian, Lovelace and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of NM) and the HMO's of most other states are now refusing to pay for medical care following a car wreck. Most plans will still pay for the ambulance and the emergency room, but follow up care is usually restricted. Some health plans just push prescription drugs rather than physical therapy and other treatment. You'll still be responsible for deductibles and co-pays associated with your plan, but it sure beats having to pay the whole amount out of pocket! Remember, all plans require you to reimburse them from any settlement proceeds. However, I can usually negotiate a significant discount when your case is resolved. •Letters of Protection: You'll need a lawyer for this. A Letter of Protection ("LOP") is an agreement made with the doctor's office by your lawyer and you promising to pay the bill from the settlement proceeds. Doctors are not required to accept LOPs, but many doctors will do so. Meet with me to get my list of most local medical doctors, osteopathic doctors, dentists, psychologists, chiropractors, accupunturists, physical therapists, medical massage therapists, MRI’s and others who accept LOP’s. This means that you won’t pay any money out of your pocket at each visit, and you won’t get any bills until we get a settlement. These doctors agree to wait to get paid from the settlement and don’t charge any interest while waiting to get paid. Because I have been in business for 31 years (26 years in Albuquerque) I have established great relationships with some of the best doctors in Albuquerque and in other cities throughout New Mexico. Some medical doctors in Albuquerque refuse to accept a LOP from any other law firm except our firm and one or two others. I will help you find the best health care provider in the best location for you. I also know which doctors you should avoid because of bad reputations with insurance companies. I can usually get you in to see a doctor the day after I begin working on your claim. There is no reason why you shouldn’t find a health care provider to treat your injuries, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t get the best medical care possible. After all, you did not cause the wreck, and the at-fault driver’s insurance should pay for your medical care. I can get you the medical care you need following your wreck. •Med Pay: You may have Medical Payments Coverage ("Med Pay") on your own auto insurance policy. This coverage typically provides benefits of $2,000 to $10,000 Med Pay can be assigned to medical providers so the doctor's office can bill your own auto insurance company up to the amount of your coverage limit. You should consult me before using Med Pay because there may be strategic reasons to use the coverage for some bills but not for others. Remember, your Med Pay plan requires you to reimburse your own insurance company from any settlement proceeds. However, I can usually negotiate a significant discount when your case is resolved. •Medicaid & Other Government Benefits: If you already receive Medicaid, Medicare or other government benefits before your wreck, then you should be able to use that coverage for your injuries. It is also possible you may qualify for government benefits after the wreck. In that case, Medicaid may actually go back and pay all of your medical bills from the date of the wreck. Keep in mind, all government benefits require repayment when you recover money in your case. However, I can usually negotiate a significant discount when your case is resolved. •Pay As You Go: This is the option of last resort if you don’t have insurance coverage available and you don’t want to issue a LOP. I hope this summary really helps you understand how you can get immediate medical care following your accident. I would love to give you an hour of my time to personally meet with you to discuss your specific car wreck and the medical care we can help you get for your injuries. If you are from the State of New Mexico, please feel free to call me at(505) 883-5000 for a personal appointment with me, not a paralegal. If you are from another state, look for an AVVO personal injury attorney near you.

Caruso Law Offices is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico and exclusively handles personal injury claims including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accident, bus accidents, pedestrian accidents resulting in personal injuries, brain injury, permanent injury and impairment and wrongful death. Offices are located in Albuquerque's North East Heights at 4302 Carlisle NE (Montgomery & Carlisle) and in Albuquerque's West Side at 2929 Coors NW Suite 310-E. Free one hour consultations with an attorney are available by calling 505-883-5000

Attorney Mark Caruso is a former insurance company attorney who now represents injured clients in their personal injury claims. He is a 1982 graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law and is a former State Representative in the New Mexico Legislature.

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