We get asked this question all the time. When we begin to wrap up injury cases and settle with the insurance company or even win at trial, there is still quite a bit of work to do. One of those tasks is to make sure that all the medical providers that have treated our client during the recovery from the accident are paid what they are owed. As this can be a significant part of the claims process, it is important that an injured person with a claim understands why a medical provider may get a portion of their settlement amount.
Getting Medical Bills Paid After an Accident
After a vehicle accident, there are usually a few different ways that your medical bills can get paid. The first method would be through any Medical Payments Coverage that the injured party may have as part of their auto insurance policy. This along with the health insurance coverage of the victim will take a primary role in ensuring that medical providers are paid in a timely fashion for a contracted rate. Depending on your auto and health insurance policy, what the companies pay out for your medical bill may have to be reimbursed through the settlement of your claim. If a client does not have insurance coverage to help pay for their medical bills, the medical provider will then hold the client personally responsible for those bills until they are paid through a settlement.
Our clients frequently assume that the other insurance company will pay any medical bills resulting from the accident. That is not always the case. Under most settlements, the amount paid by the insurance company of the at-fault individual is an amount that is to cover all of the medical bills and any pain and suffering or lost wages caused by the accident. As an example, if an auto accident case settles for $150,000, that amount includes reimbursement or payment for any medical bills that may have been incurred.
Who Gets Paid from an Accident Injury Settlement?
Once the case is settled, several entities may get paid out of the settlement before a check is cut to the injured party. As with the example above, a portion of the $150,000 will be used to pay any outstanding medical bills, any health insurance company lien, Medicare or Medicaid liens, third party liens, and then also your attorney for their fees and expenses (as agreed upon in your contract). All of this should be well known and discussed with the client before any final settlement amount is accepted.
Why do Doctors Get Paid from My Car Accident Settlement?
Doctors and other medical providers are there to assist those injured, whether it was in an accident or not, and so they should be fairly compensated for their work. It is the responsibility of the injured party, with the assistance of their attorney, to make sure that medical providers receive their payments owed — which can come from your accident settlement.
This does not mean that a doctor or other provider should be able to profit off an accident victim (which we see some attempt repeatedly), it just means that they should be paid at the contracted rate for any type of injury whether it involved a vehicle or not.