The best way to make sure you get the maximum recovery when you are injured in a wreck is to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you. I’ve been practicing injury law for over 30 years and I know how to get you the most money possible. Without a lawyer, insurance companies have no reason to be afraid of you. They know you won’t file a lawsuit alone so they won’t make you the kinds of offers they would make if you had my muscle behind you. Insurance companies know I will file lawsuits and win at trial.
Beyond that, there are several things you can do to help increase your recovery even further. I will be writing several blog posts about these strategies in the coming weeks.
My first suggestion is to always file your bills on health insurance.
If you have it, filing your accident related bills on your health insurance will help you make more money. A lot of my clients are afraid to file bills on health insurance because they think it will affect their rates or risk their coverage. This is not true. Insurance is designed to pay for your medical treatment when you are injured, and after a wreck is a perfect time to use it. 45 million people in the U.S. do not have insurance coverage. I always tell my clients that if you are lucky enough to have it, you should use it to your advantage.
If your health insurance pays your bills, you will get to keep more of your settlement.
Many people think that the auto-insurance company for the at-fault driver in a wreck will just pay off all of the victim’s medical bills directly. This is generally not the case. When you hire an attorney to represent you, when the case is settled, the auto insurance company will issue a single check which covers the entire settlement. From that money, the outstanding medical bills need to be paid.
Obviously, the lower your outstanding medical bills are, the less that will need to be paid out of the settlement and the more you will get to keep.
So how do you minimize the amount of bills you need to pay?
One way is to minimize the amount of bills you incur. Many people will resist getting the medical care they need because they are afraid of the costs. THIS IS A BAD IDEA If you do not get the care you need when you need it, you run the risk that when you finally do seek treatment, the insurance company will use your “gap in treatment” as an excuse to not pay you money. Unfortunately, juries often agree that these gaps prove you were not hurt even if you were. Getting the timely treatment you need is vital both for your health and for the health of your case. Plus, if you do not have a lot of medical bills, proving you deserve a lot of money is a lot harder.
The better option is to go to the Emergency Room and file the bills on your health insurance. This way, your bills will be paid off, but we can still use the full amount of the bills to negotiate with the car insurance company. So in a way, your bills will be paid twice, and you get to keep the second payment instead of it being used to pay off the bills. This means you get more money in your pocket. Another benefit is that since your bills are paid quickly, you will not be contacted by collection agencies.
Your health insurance company want to be paid back for what they have paid on your behalf, but they are only entitled to recover what they actually paid, not the full amount of your bills which. Beyond that, I can usually negotiate down that amount or prove that they do not have a right or recovery at all. Without a lawyer, the car insurance company may simply issue full payment to your health insurer even if they are not legally entitled to it.
If you’ve been hurt in a wreck, please call my office today at 817-885-8000 for a free consultation and to discuss your case. In our first meeting, I’ll take the time to get to know you and your case and answer all your questions. The sooner you call, the sooner I can start helping you.