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Medical bills payment can be a huge problem after a vehicle collision

After you have been in a car or truck crash, you may have been rushed by ambulance to an emergency room. Expensive medical treatment and tests were performed. Worrying about how these medical bills were going to be paid was probably the last thing on your mind. So you will be shocked to find out later that you owe a huge sum of money for your medical bills. This happens often.

Berenson Injury Law has been representing injured Texans for the past 40 years and this can be one of the biggest hassles of the car/truck crash process.

We see one or more of these happening:

  • Objections and delays are made by health insurance companies and medical professionals to avoid paying medical bills;
  • The hospital or medical providers may be out-of-network; or
  • The deductible, copayment, or coinsurance rate is not paid; or
  • The patient is required to repay the medical bills later from his settlement or jury verdict.

If this sounds familiar, that is because you were not told any of this at the hospital or by your doctors. You may not find out until months later when you open your mail and see “surprise bills” which can be $10,000 or more. You naturally assumed that the other driver’s insurance company or your health insurance plan would have paid these by now.

The medical bills morass is unfortunately a common problem after a car wreck, especially here in Texas. A recent study showed that we had almost the highest number of these out-of-network charges in the U.S.

If you have health insurance, you probably do not know which hospitals and doctors (other than your PCP) are in-network. You will have no idea what medical procedures cost. Before this happens to you, you should study your plan’s directory and research costs so you will be prepared.

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You can be seriously hurt after being in a car accident in Fort Worth or Dallas and not know it. A good example is blunt-force chest trauma. You may experience pain and have trouble breathing, but hope this goes away on its own. That can be a serious mistake. This post will answer your questions about how serious a chest injury after a car accident can be, what can you do to treat it, and whether you can be compensated.

This post is part of a series about injuries commonly sustained after a car or truck crash including to the

  1. Head
  2. Neck and back
  3. Spinal cord
  4. Shoulder
  5. Broken bones

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MRIMost people who are in car and truck accidents suffer from neck and back pain. Sometimes after undergoing diagnostic tests, they find out that the cushion-like disks that separate the bones (vertebrae) in their backbones have been damaged. This especially happens in rear-end collisions. Your doctor may have told you that you have one or more herniated and bulging disks. This post discusses what this means and what you can do about these often serious medical problems.

What is a herniated disk?

A herniated disk happens if the outside of the annulus fibrosis, the disk’s outer cover, ruptures or tears. Some of the soft nucleus puplosus, the jelly-like material inside the disk that gives it the shock-absorbing quality to protect your vertebrae, leaks out.

Sometimes it escapes into the spinal canal, often contacting a spinal nerve root. Enormous pain and other symptoms can result.

Herniated disks progress in stages going from smaller to the most extreme: prolapsing, protruding, extruding, to sequestering. In that last state, the material inside the disk has severed from the disc.

They are also referred to as ruptured or slipped disks and the pain can be called a pinched nerve.

Adding to the complexity of a correct diagnosis, herniated disks do not always cause extreme discomfort. At other times, the symptoms are more like those from bulging disks that are described below.

Further, while they can be caused by the sudden trauma of being crashed into by another vehicle, they can also be caused by aging, falls, other injuries, or other factors.

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You may have seen that crazy show called “1,000 Ways to Die.” You can guess that its sequel, “1,000 Ways to Crash on Texas Roads,” is being filmed now. News stories often report the countless ways that over 250,000 of us — yes that’s one-fourth of a million people –  get injured each year in car accidents. They have one thing in common: someone didn’t use the basic level of caution required of anyone behind the wheel, especially in Texas lane-change crashes.

Most recently, a Garland teen was a passenger in a sports car north of Austin when she met a tragic ending due to an unsafe lane change. The 17-year-old driver of his car was going too fast and when she caught up to a slower moving vehicle, swerved to get around it. The car flew off the road and flipped multiple times and the young man sadly lost his life.

Too many Texas lane-change crashes result from “the 3 I’s”

If you have been involved in a car or truck accident, you need answers to these important questions:

  1. Can you get a good recovery of money to pay your damages?
  2. Should you hire a personal injury lawyer?
  3. Will you have to testify at a trial?

If you are like most people who have been in a vehicle crash, you have probably suffered a neck and back injury. We know how you must be feeling. You hurt 24/7. You have restricted movement and can’t sleep. You probably can’t go to work or take care of the kids.

Average Compensation for a Whiplash Settlement

Your stress is compounded because you are incurring medical bills which are sometimes enormous. You won’t have a car because it is being repaired or you might be underwater on the car note if it has to be totaled. And you are losing money if you can’t work.

The insurance company takes advantage of people’s predicaments so it can make a low offer of settlement and close the case cheaply.

You need to have an idea of what your case is worth and how to proceed so you can be repaid for your medical bills and other damages.

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A blow to a driver’s or passenger’s head can change his or her life. Huge medical bills, pain, disability, lost wages, loss of future employment, and other damages can result. If this has happened to you, you will naturally wonder how much money you can receive. The answer is not an easy one but here is a list of over 80 variables that Berenson Injury Law uses to calculate a range of settlement values or jury verdicts for our injured clients. The factors include the severity, liability, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, bills paid and incurred, and insurance available. More information about how to estimate the average concussion settlement follows.

Average Concussion Settlement

This post is a part of a series about injuries for those people who have unfortunately been hurt in a car or truck accident. Others related topics including head, neck and back injuries and broken bones are here.

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A fracture or an open wound is easy to see, but how do you know if you have a soft tissue injury after a car accident? Let’s look at some of the different types of these more subtle injuries and examine what to expect if one happens to you.

What Are Soft Tissue Injuries?

Soft Tissue Injury After a Car Accident

The soft tissue of the body includes ligaments, muscles, tendons, skin, and fat. Any tissue that is soft to the touch is a type of soft tissue. Even blood vessels and nerves are types of soft tissue. Types of soft tissue injuries include sprains to the ligaments, bruises, and strains due injuries to tendons.

If you have a soft tissue injury after a car accident, it occurred due to the impact of a crash, angle of impact, seating position, and other factors. When a vehicle crashes into another car, truck, or roadside barrier, it causes a great deal of force. This depends on the weight and speed of the vehicles involved. The impact changes the direction of the body producing a reaction known as “muscle splinting.”

The body is an amazing machine, often responding to stimuli or changes on its own with minimal delay. When it experiences violent motions, the body sometimes shuts down certain muscle groups. The nervous system releases hormones that create a “fight or flight” state. Sometimes that causes the ligaments to relax, making them more vulnerable to injury. A soft tissue injury after a car accident can either be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-lasting.) The latter obviously denotes a longer healing time. A critical job for medical professionals is knowing the difference so that you get the most effective treatment.

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The force that accompanies the impact of a car accident makes the neck and spine especially vulnerable to injury. That’s one reason why it’s very common to have a back injury after a car accident, even if you don’t realize an injury has occurred immediately afterwards. Another is the structure of the spine itself.The spine extends from the base of your skull to your tailbone. The entire spinal column is made up of small bones called vertebra. The area where one vertebra joins to the next is called a facet joint. Like other types of joints throughout your body, facet joints are what allow the spine to move in different directions.

There is cartilage between the facet joints, which gives the joints flexibility. Flat, round, gel-like cushions called the inter-vertebral discs act as a shock absorber between the vertebrae. The spinal cord and nerves pass through an opening in the middle of the vertebrae called the spinal canal.

The shape of the spine is also designed to protect it. Even when you ‘stand up straight’, like your parents and teachers probably told you as a child, the spine has a natural ‘S’ shape when viewed from the side. These curves help support your body’s weight and make it more resilient to stress than it would be if it were straight.

The spine also consists of soft tissue including tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The muscles provide movement while the tendons and ligaments connect muscle to bone and bone to bone. During a car accident, damage can occur to any area of the spine, leading to damage and pain.

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MIST is a term that many insurance companies use to denigrate a car accident with minimum visible damage that causes injuries to the soft tissue in the neck and back.

MIST cases are often the hardest collision cases for a personal injury lawyer to handle. The liability is clear and the pain is real but insurance company offers are often low. Many cases have to be taken to trial.

The liability carrier’s argument that the crash does not appear to be so jarring that someone could have been injured is medically invalid. The goal of Berenson Injury Law is to prevent insurance companies from taking advantage of people who have been hurt. But with all of the trucks and SUVs and the increased traffic on the roads in North Texas, we see these crashes often. We fight to get fair settlements and jury verdicts for our clients.

Good recovery obtained for our client

For example, last week we finalized a $35,000 recovery for our client who was driving this truck. It was rear-ended by another pickup truck at a low rate of speed. Neither driver claimed injuries and they drove away. But our client’s head, neck, and back began hurting an hour later and the next day he had to go to a minor emergency clinic to be checked out. Later when the pain continued to increased he went to a hospital and chiropractor. An MRI was inconclusive.

The insurance company attorney for the at-fault driver did not believe our client could have been very injured. He also argued that our client was already 50-years-old, as if that proved he was hurt already. However with the help of our experts, we convinced the attorney that these property damage photographs were irrelevant, that our client was hurt, and that his company had to pay a reasonable settlement.

We then substantially reduced our client’s outstanding medical bills and our fee, waived expenses, and he received $21,700.

Our client was very pleased with our work and very nicely wrote this review on Google:

***** Mr. Berenson and his team did a thorough job on my case. I was happy with the settlement and the communication with me as it progressed. Highly recommend!

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I had an appointment with a physical therapist for my knee injury on Friday. Great, I ran 57 marathons with no problems mostly in my late 50’s, then pop, a meniscus tear after a short run.

As my therapist was evaluating my injury, I looked around the clinic pictured here and thought about the hundreds of PT reports I’ve reviewed and used as evidence in my clients’ cases.

These chart notes have been instrumental in proving the pain, mobility restrictions, lost wages, and disability caused by my client’s auto accident injuries.

What is physical therapy and why is it important?

Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy to rehabilitate you before or after a surgery to speed your recovery and reduce your need for medications.

Physical therapists must earn a masters or a clinical doctorate degree and often receive specialized training in particular modalities or areas of injury. These academic credentials also lend a high degree of credibility and reliability to their reports in a court of law. For this reason, physical therapy reports provide valuable evidence. Continue reading

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