I think the best person to address this question is your attorney. Why don't you call and request a telephone conference with him or her to discuss? In general terms, the attorney does not get paid until a Closing Statement is signed by the client breaking down the money as to fees/costs/LOPs/Liens/Medicals paid, and net to client. Some providers are easier and quicker to deal with than others.
There is no set time frame for the negotiation of the bills and a lot depends on the medical providers themselves. Like any negotiation, there may be a a bit of back and forth until an agreement is reached. in many cases the client also was covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. These health insurance plans are also entitled to repayment for the amounts they paid for related medical treatment and they usually have a lien on the settlement proceeds. Dealing with Medicare alone often requires many months to conclude negotiations and it is unlikely they will even respond to a letter in less than 90 days.
In addition, if you are receiving Medicare assistance, there might be issues relating to the protection of Medicare's interests with respect to the payment of future medical bills related to the incident.
Without knowing the specific facts of your case it is impossible to provide more detail; however, your attorney will be able to answer these questions for you.
Negotiating the medical bills can take a couple months or longer depending on how much of a reduction you are asking for. For example, if you are asking the doctors to accept 30% of their bill, then this may take longer to get approved as often times medical facilities have managers or other individuals who must sign off on such a signifcant reduction. Some medical providers will not agree to accept the proposed reduction and will counter with a higher figure. Other times, the medical bills have been sold to collection agencies and it is difficult to find who actually even holds the bill. Regardless, your attorney cannot take any fees on your case until you have signed the Closing Statement. So, unless you have signed a Closing Statement (which would be highly unusual considering your medical bills have not been reduced yet), your attorney has not received any money yet either. Just keep calling the office to check on the status. This should help keep your file on the top of the stack. Good Luck!
This information is for general purposes only and should not be construed as giving legal advice, or as establishing an attorney-client relationship. Since each case is unique and every state has their own unique laws, any questions should be addressed with an attorney in your state.
Your attorney will have a better idea than any of us who don't know how many providers there are, whether medicare or medicaid involved, and other factors. Medicare can take a long time. Your attorney obviously got you policy limits which is as good as it gets, so just be patient and let her negotiate the bills for you. That gets you more money in the long run.
Definitely speak with your attorney directly. That being said there is no set time for reductions to be completed and your attorney should not be taking any fee on the settlement until you have signed off on the closing statement or final accounting.
You should really address these questions to your attorney, I'm sure she will be happy to answer them for you. Negotiating medical bills and liens can take time depending if health insurance or Medicare paid some bills. There may be other issues like approval from the underinsured motorist carrier or negotiating a medical payments coverage lien. I would keep on top of your lawyer!!
I would discuss your concerns with your attorney. Common practice is that we get paid when you get paid. The settlement funds should remain in trust until all medical providers are paid and you receive your settlement proceeds. In regards to time, each case is different. Negotiating medical bills can be complex and time-consuming. Talk to your attorney.
Although there is no set timeframe in which to negotiate medical bills, before we take a cut out of the settlement for our fees and costs, it is our firm's practice to negotiate and finalize the amounts that each provider and/or insurer is claiming out of the settlement. As soon as we receive written confirmation that an insurer accepted our demand and agrees to settle for a certain amount, we begin contacting the providers/insurers to negotiate the monies they are owed. I suggest sending your attorney an email and asking for a written summary of the medical bills that your attorney has negotiated and request a written status of the settlement. I wish you the best.
Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about personal injury law.