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Articles Tagged with medical bills

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An injured person must prove their case at trial. They must introduce pertinent evidence including proof of medical bills that are reasonably priced. The defendant can attack this evidence.

The judge rules on the admissibility of the medical bills and other damages and the jury decides how much compensation the injured party receives.

To make trials more efficient and fair, Texas law has allowed the parties to prove and disprove medical bills and records with affidavits since 1979.

The New In Re Allstate opinion

The Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion on Friday that will dramatically curb the use of these affidavits and require doctors to testify in person.

The justices directed a Corpus Christi trial court to vacate its order that struck a counter-affidavit filed by the plaintiff’s car insurance company.

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When you are rushed to a hospital after a car crash, the cost for treatment and testing often exceeds $10,000. But instead of filing on limited insurance policies, the hospital can file a hospital lien to guarantee that it will be paid in full from your settlement or verdict. This is unfair and can wreck settlements.

A major national newspaper just reported about the abuses with hospital liens. It noted that one hospital makes a shocking $10 million a year this way. How rich hospitals profit from patients in car crashes

However, sometimes the hospital does not follow Texas law and its lien is not enforceable.

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After you are in a car, truck, or 18-wheeler wreck, you will need medical treatment so you can heal. But it is expensive and you may not know how to get your medical bills paid. You naturally assume that the other driver and their insurance company are going to pay them quickly.

But it can take some time for the possible payers — the other driver’s automobile insurance, your health insurance, your car insurance, and others — to decide if they are going to pay you. Then they have to look at the medical records and medical bills and decide how much they want to pay. This is often a slow, complicated, and unfair process that affects every car and truck collision.

Unfortunately injured people need to wait to negotiate a settlement or obtain a jury verdict until the possible payers obtain this information:

Doctor Examining Patient

So as you can see, this is a very important topic. The problem is that you will not know in advance which doctors you need to see, what they charge, and who is paying them.

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How can a personal injury attorney obtain medical records and costs?

After a car crash or other tortious act, the lawyer must obtain the victim’s medical records and calculate their bills to prevail in their lawsuit or insurance claim.

Unfortunately the process to obtain medical records can be expensive and slow and the ability to learn medical costs has been nonexistent. But these should not be road blocks that delay litigation and hobble insurance claims in our high-speed digital world.

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Accident victims got some unexpected good news yesterday. A sweeping new law that will prevent most surprise medical bills was approved by Congress as part of pandemic-related legislation. The bill now moves to the President for approval. Bravo!

This has been a serious problem for many years. One of the biggest problems injured victims face comes weeks or even months later when they open their mail and find enormous surprise medical bills. This often happens because they have been treated by a hospital or doctor outside of their health insurance network so their company paid little, if any, money.

Of course, rarely. if ever. do people in emergency situations like car wrecks know in advance which providers will be paid.

This has resulted in an abusive practice called balance billing.

Further, victims have no idea that the hospital can charge any amount of money it wants to. We often see hospital bills exceeding ten thousand dollars due to treatment by multiple physicians and extensive diagnostic testing, not to mention huge costs for surgeries.

On the other hand, if the bills are in-network, there is no balance due, other that the co-pay and deductible.

Further adding to the financial stress, someone often has a health insurance plan but it claims that it is secondary and refuses to pay. In other casers, it eventually pays after a long delay, but then demands to be repaid in a process called subrogation.

To make matters worse, the at-fault driver’s liability company has no legal duty to pay the plaintiff’s medical bills up front, so it doesn’t pay until it knows all of the damages the injured victim has suffered and how much money they are demanding for compensation.

Surprise medical bills are a huge problem, especially in Texas where they are generated at two times the national average.

The new law will help hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.

Unfortunately, it does not take effect until January 1, 2022.

So after the surprise car crash and surprise medical treatment, the surprise medical bills will surprisingly be allowed to continue for a long time.

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Last summer our client injured his foot at a recreational facility outside of Fort Worth. We went to work immediately and

  • investigated the scene and obtained critical evidence including witness statements and photographs;
  • worked with his doctors, health insurance carrier, and employer to make sure he got the medical treatment he needed;Client-on-crutches
  • located a secondary health insurance policy;
  • gave our client a large loan since he could not perform his physical job. And we never charge interest, not wanting to add to our clients’ financial burden (and it is outlawed in the Bible);
  • researched similar cases across the country and contacted attorneys who had handled them to get more information;
  • contested his health insurance company’s attempt to be repaid for the medical bills it had paid;
  • kept our client and the insurance companies updated with case developments; and
  • sent a lawsuit petition and discovery documents we were about to file in court to the business’s insurance company.

For confidentiality reasons, we are not permitted to disclose further information.

The excellent results

Mr. Berenson entered into lengthy negotiations and was able to make the insurance company pay $180,000.00.

Then he cut down medical bills that had to be repaid due to subrogation from $33,000.00 to $21,000.00.

He also cut his legal fee and expenses so his client would get more money.

His client received $100,000.00 in his pocket and was thrilled. Continue reading

coronavirus

I have been asked by several clients if the coronavirus will affect their car wreck cases. No one knows as we are in uncharted territory. On top of the anxiety we are all living through, as a Fort Worth personal lawyer, I am very concerned how the virus could affect injured people’s medical treatment and personal and financial outcomes.

Here are some specific questions I have.

       1. Will fewer police respond to crashes?

It is essential that the police come to the scene of a crash and determine which driver was at fault. Without a favorable police report and officers who can testify in court, a car accident can become a “he said/she said” dispute. These are often denied by the other driver’s insurance representatives so a lawsuit must be filed. Juries may not know which driver to side with.

Furthermore, the police report contains important information that the car accident lawyer can use to help his client win the case. This includes the names and identifying information about all drivers, insurance policies, date, time, location, speed limit, weather, vehicle damage, witness’s observations, admissions of fault made, injuries reported, alcohol use, etc.

My office obtains the police report for our clients at no charge. The sooner we get the report, the sooner we can get to work.

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Joshua’s story

Berenson Injury Law has successfully resolved the highly unusual case for a young man who was driving this commercial truck (the company’s name was deleted) in East Dallas last year.

The dump truck driver in front of Joshua stupidly activated the dump mechanism. As the bed raised, the top grazed a bridge which sheered off a piece of the truck. Our client swerved to avoid the road debris and a collision resulted. He was taken to a hospital and diagnosed with a strained back.

We immediately investigated the scene and obtained critical evidence that we needed to win the case.

We also researched the truck driver and his company and learned that he did not have a commercial driver’s license, but that he did have a criminal history.

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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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