An article in today’s paper sadly reports that 44% of people in the Dallas area are “drowning in debt” — most often due to hospital and doctor charges from motor vehicle collisions. How does this happen? And how can it be prevented?
People hurt in car and truck crashes can have piles of medical bills and not know how or when they will get paid. Unfortunately, until a final settlement is negotiated or a jury verdict is obtained, the injured person must try to figure out the best way to pay for his medical expenses. This can be a complicated, frustrating, credit ruining process if it is not handled properly.
Let me explain what your best options are if you have been in an automobile or truck accident in the Dallas Fort Worth area:
1. Hire an experienced and aggressive attorney who will fight for you.
A good lawyer can save you a ton of money. My office works with all of the health insurance companies to make sure that your bills are being processed for payment. Some companies refuse to pay, delay payment, or only pay for some of the bills unless pressured to do so. Sometimes the health insurance company pays, but then files a lien under the ERISA subrogation (reimbursement) rules and may not be legally entitled to do so..
Some hospitals or doctors will refuse to file on your BlueCross or Cigna policy and demand payment in full. Some hospitals file liens and demand full payment, but liens do not attach to all cases, notably those involving wrongful deaths. In certain circumstances, an emergency medical provider can file a lien. Sometimes non qualified providers, like chiropractors, wrongfully file liens.
Then there can be problems if Medicare, Medicaid, workers compensation, quasi-workers compensation plans, or other funding is involved. Tax and child support liens cloud the issue.
There can be many medical offices and many people involved. This gets complicated quickly. There is a lot of money at stake — thousands and often tens of thousands of dollars. Everyone wants to be paid now.
2. File on your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits on your auto policy. PIP pays for your medical bills, 80% of your lost income, and the cost of hiring a caregiver for you, your family members, and passengers in your car, regardless of who caused the crash. Your company is required to offer you $2,500 PER PERSON in coverage. So if there are four people in your vehicle, PIP will pay $10,000 of submitted medical bills. And some people buy more coverage than that. Contrary to popular belief, this will not make your rates go up.
We always demand that your company produce your rejection of benefits in writing if it claims that you did not purchase PIP. We have been successful in obtaining these benefits for our clients when the company fails to provide a written rejection. This just happened yesterday for a client named Shawn, for example, and he obviously very happy to hear the good news.
3. We sometimes grant letters of protection and work with treating physicians to insure that they will be paid from the recovery.
Other ways we can help save you a lot of money:
* We fight to get excessive bills lowered and invalid liens released.
* We try to find less expensive providers for our clients.
* We advise you on how to deal with other outstanding medical bills.
* We loan money for medical treatment if and when necessary. We do not charge any interest because the Bible (Leviticus 25:37) prohibits this and I don’t want to add to my client’s financial distress.
Make sure that whichever injury law firm you hire for your collision, it does these things.
Remember that the other driver’s liability insurance carrier will not pay for your medical bills up front before a settlement or verdict from a court. We are focused from day one on obtaining the largest amount of money for our clients, protecting their credit rating, and getting their medical bills reduced.
Here is just one of many positive client reviews recognizing our hard work:
My fiancée and I were in a wreck in Hurst several months ago on Precinct-Line Road. A man tried to run a stop sign and hit us head on. It completely totaled our car. No one wanted to help us. Allstate blew us off – didn’t want to help us one bit. We couldn’t get a rental car or anything.
Mr. Berenson fought very hard for us. Got our car fixed, got our medical bills taken care of, and even put some money in our pocket. We didn’t expect anything. We just needed someone to help us out to get our car fixed and help us with our medical bills.
Mr. Berenson and his staff went above and beyond and did more than we could have ever imagined. I couldn’t possibly thank them enough.