How to Get Medical Bills Paid When Injured

When you are injured and have lost wages, have medical bills and serious injuries you are confronted with financial hurdles you were not expecting . If you remember these tips it can save you some stress and get your medical bills paid more easily and efficiently. 

If you are injured in a traffic accident, a fall, by product failure or other means you are going to incur medical expenses.  Often injured people think the other side (i.e. the person or business that caused their injury ) should pay for their medical expenses.  This is not always the best path.

medical billing and personal injurySometimes you have no choice, for example if you are hurt at work your workers compensation should pay medical expenses and some wage loss for your injuries. Note however even if you are hurt at work there may be another party that also caused your injury and you may have a personal injury claim against them as well.  That is helpful because workers compensation does not pay for all your injuries and harms. If you are a trucker in a truck collision you may have a workers compensation claim and a claim against other driver(s) who contributed to the collision occurring. This claim would compensate you for your full wages,  pain and suffering and other harms not covered under workers compensation. 

If it is not workers compensation then having the “at fault ” parties insurance paying for your expenses takes your control of your medical care out of your hands and places control of your medical care in the hands of the wrongdoers insurance company.   That can be disastrous. When the other insurance company says they will pay but then does not do so promptly or disagrees with the method or amount of treatment it can affect your physical recovery and economic recovery.  This can affect your ability to get well and gives them control over your care. 

There are usually 3 types of insurance that could help you with your medical expenses. The first is workers compensation if you are hurt at work and we have discussed that already. The second is your own health insurance , if you have it.  This could include private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.  The third  coverage is what is called med pay and it is like a  health insurance that is tied to a particular vehicle or location and will pay a limited amount of medical bills. Health care providers will want to use you med pay first  because they will get more money that way. For your protection you are better to have medical providers bill your insurance ( even if it is Medicare or Medicaid first ) and use your med pay to pay any deductible or co-pays.  This gives you the best protection and gets your bills paid.The last thing you need when injured in collision, or accident is for a collection agency to keep calling you regarding an unpaid medical bill

If  a medical provider refuses to bill your health insurance or an insurer refuses to pay a bill you should consult an attorney who handles personal injury claims to help you get your medical expenses payment plan on the right track.

What does Super Lawyer Mean?

Indianapolis Personal Injury AttorneyI am a double Board Certified Trial Lawyer.  I am Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and by the National Board of Civil Pretrial Practice Advocacy.  In order to achieve this status, I had to represent seriously injured Hoosiers in a number of cases.  This includes participating in trials, participating in the preparation necessary to bring the cases to trial and then passing an eight hour written test.  I have to renew my Certification every 5 years.  In other words, I earned this certification.  I earned it by representing Hoosiers in automobile collisions, semi tractor-trailer accidents, construction accidents, drunk driving accidents, road design cases and many, many more.  I earned this certification by representing seriously injured Hoosiers including those with paralysis, spinal cord injuries, brain injury, broken bones, wrongful death and more. I earned this certification through almost 25 years of hard work.

A Super Lawyer is an advertising gimmick.  You do not have to have any skill to be a super lawyer.  You do not have to have tried any cases.  You do not have to know anything about preparing a case for trial.  It is true that you have to be elected , at one point to be a Super Lawyer.  However, two of my partners have been Super Lawyers for more than ten years and they do not even know why.  In fact, one of my partners has complained to the Indiana Supreme Court that the Super Lawyers  gimmick is misleading to the public and is not a true reflection of a lawyers worth or merit.  You will see a magazine put out in a few weeks that has a bunch of glossy adds about Super Lawyers.  Know this about that, they are only ads, and the real reason it is being done is to make money by the magazine for the costs of the adds.

I know I am tilting at wind mills, but you do not select your doctor based on an ad, you ask people who they use or would recommend.  Why would you trust your case to a person about whom you know nothing other than that they advertise.  Consult your friends and family on important issues such as this.

Questions to Ask a Lawyer When in an Accident

Indianapolis Auto Accident AttorneysIf you are in a serious personal injury collision you should consult with a lawyer before talking to the other parties insurance company.

The reason is simple. The insurance company has an adjuster whose job it is to get facts regarding how the incident occurred and how you are injured.Their goal is to obtain facts that will allow them to minimize what they will compensate you for as a result of their insureds negligence.

When should you talk to a lawyer? Soon after the incident to get advice on what things you should  do and what you should not do.  You might unknowingly do something that will make it more difficult for you to be compensated for your losses. There are also time limits that you need to know about that can affect your presenting a claim. They include statutes of limitations, insurance contract limitations and tort claim notices.Your failure to meet these deadlines can hinder or  preclude you from making a valid claim.

How do you find a lawyer?  The best way is to talk to your own lawyer if you have one and see if they do this type of law and if not have them refer you to a personal injury lawyer that they trust . If you do not have a lawyer ask your friends , relatives or co workers who they might suggest.

Do you have to sign a contract to talk to a lawyer?  A responsible and professional personal injury lawyer will consult with you regarding your case without charging you a fee for their time or making you sign a contract.  If you decide to hire them then they will work for you on what is called a contingency fee. This means they will only be paid if they are successful in obtaining a recovery for you.

You should make sure you are talking to a lawyer and not a staff member when you do your first consultation.  Also be sure the lawyer who is talking to you will be the one handling  your case.This  includes being  the one trying your case in the event it is not settled.

The  lawyer in an initial consultation can tell you about time deadlines, whether to give a statement to the other side, where to send your medical bills and other details important to you and your claim.  No lawyer has a crystal ball and they can not tell you how long your case will take or how much it is worth at the initial meeting … They must get the facts before being able to give you reliable advice on those issues.  If they try to do that you should perhaps get a second legal opinion.

If the lawyer tells you that you must sign an agreement before they can give you advise or answer your questions you should get a second opinion.  You should not let yourself be pressured into signing an agreement at the first meeting.  If you want to think about it or talk to someone you trust before signing you should.  Your decision to hire a personal injury lawyer to protect your interests is an important decision and you should choose a lawyer you trust and one who you feel will best represent your interests.

Serious Personal Injury and The Golden Rule

Indianapolis personal injury lawyerI have often said, but not as eloquently as I have recently read in the paper.  As you all know we represent Hoosiers seriously injured in auto accidents, construction accidents, semi tractor trailer accidents, drunk driving accidents and so on.  Our job is to advocate on behalf of  folks dealing with brain injury, broken bones, spinal cord injury, paralysis, and wrongful death.  Our philosophy is that we only take serious injury cases with merit.  What I mean by this is that there is evidence that the person who we contend was negligent was actually negligent and that that negligence caused our clients injury.  We do not advertise.  We rely on other lawyers and former clients to recommend us to our clients.  In this way we know that our clients are taking the issues seriously.

Our greatest tool has always been what our mother taught us and what  we know your mother taught you.  If you make a mess you are responsible for cleaning it up.  We have always known we are not alone in making this a core value of our lives.  Yesterday, in the Indianapolis Star, we read the following and want to repeat it here as we think it sums up the essence of a meaningful life, and the essence of why injured people are entitled to be made whole when another causes their injury. The peace is entitled “Golden Rules for Living”,  by Miriam Hamilton Keare.

                 If you open it, close it.

                 If you turn it on, turn it off.

                 If you unlock it, lock it up                             

                 If you break it, admit it.

                 If you can’t fix it, call someone who can.

                 If you borrow it, return it.

                 If you value it, take care of it.

                 If you make a mess, clean it up.

                 If you move it, put it back.

                 If it belongs to someone else, obtain permission to use it.

                 If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.

                 If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions about it.

We hope you have a productive, healthy and joyous new year.

Five Things to Do if You Are Hurt in an Accident

If you are hurt in and accident whether it be auto, truck or motorcycle there are five things you should do to make sure that your rights are protected.

Indianapapolis Auto Accident AttorneysIf there are  injuries or property damage it is important to call the police and have them do a report. This better insures that you will get the other parties correct address and accurate insurance information.  It is also important that you, if possible,  or someone on your behalf take pictures of the scene , vehicles , skid marks and other drivers.. This provides valuable information for later on if there is a dispute as to any facts. 

This is easy now with most cell phones having cameras . If your phone  has video capability this can also be helpful , especially if the other driver is admitting their fault at the scene.  It is also important to get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses at the scene. Often not all witnesses give statements and often not all witnesses appear in the police report. 

You should contact your insurance company and find out what coverage’s you have that might apply.  You might have medical coverage that would supplement your health insurance and if you do not have health insurance it might pay some of your bills . Your property damage coverage could be helpful if the other sides insurance in reluctant to resolve your property damage claim. In serious personal injury claims uninsured and underinsured coverage’s might provide relief to you where the other driver either has no insurance or has  insufficient coverage. 

If you are injured you should seek medical treatment promptly because often the earlier treatment is sought it results in a better physical recovery. You should also call a lawyer that you know and find out if they do these types of cases.If they do not then ask them to  refer you  a personal injury lawyer  so you can find out what you should do and not do. This will preclude your doing something that might  make any claim you might have more difficult or in the more extreme case miss a deadline that could result in your claim being denied.

Skills to Look for In A Social Security Lawyer

Yesterday, I spoke with a woman who received an unfavorable decision from the Administrative law judge on her Social Security Claim.  She called her lawyer and was shocked to find out that this lawyer would not pursue her claim in the next step in the appeals process.  A little background might be in order here.  The steps in a social security claim are 1. Application, 2. Request for Reconsideration, 3. Request for hearing Before Administrative Law Judge, 4. Appeal to the Appeals Council, 5. Appeal to Federal District Court, 6 Appeal to Federal Court Of Appeals, 7.  Appeal to Supreme Court of United States.   The lawyer did not refuse to file the appeal before the Appeals Council based on the merits of the client’s case.  He refused because that is not a part of his practice. In other words he either does not know how to file such an appeal or is too lazy to properly represent his client.  In either event, he should have told the client that he was only willing to go half way in representing her at the start.

Indiana Social Security LawyerYou might say that she could always get a second lawyer to finish the appeal, and you might be right.  However, there are many issues which attach to the case that make it more difficult for the client because of the lawyers refusal to fully represent her. First, when the Administrative Law Judge issues an opinion, the client has 65 days from the date on that letter to file their appeal with the Appeals Council.  This means that the client has to spend several days, probably weeks, trying to find a second lawyer.  That lawyer has to review the decision of the ALJ and the file and make a decision whether there are good reasons for an appeal.  This delay is nerve racking for the client.  They have pinned their hopes on receiving the benefits they believe they are due, and being turned down is bad enough without learning at the last moment that the representative they trusted is not going to help them any further.  Second, in many instances the first lawyer has not done all that should have been done to help the client.  In other words, he has made a mess of the case.  It is difficult to follow a lawyer who has made a mess of the case in the first place.  It is difficult because the burden of proof is different at the Appeals Council, and it is difficult to please somebody who has already been poorly represented in the first place.

To avoid these potential problems, ask your lawyer, up front, “Are you willing to represent me all the way through this process?”  If they say anything other than an unequivocal yes, find a lawyer who will.

Semi Tractor-Trailer Crashes, Car Crashes and the Little Black Box

What do semi tractor-trailer collisions, automobile collisions, drunk driving accidents and motorcycle collisions all have in common?  They are all likely to have data recording devices which can provide a huge amount of information about the vehicle involved in the crash.  I refer to this device as a black box.  I call it this because this is what we are accustomed to hearing when we hear about a plane crash.  It is a good descriptor because even though the data recording devices in land vehicles might not yet record as much information as a plane recorder, the technology is improving.  Depending how advanced the recorder is it probably records information such as the speed of the vehicle for twenty seconds prior to the crash.  This twenty seconds is likely to be broken into 10ths of seconds.  The device will also record acceleration, deceleration, timing of the application of brakes, whether the seatbelt was engaged, and much more.  The device will also record this information for several seconds after the crash.

Indianapolis Auto Accident AttorneysThe device is easily located within most cars, but it is best to have it accessed by an expert.  This insures that the information is properly preserved and admissible at any court proceedings. It is important to note that if the car is driven after the collision, the recorder will record over the information saved after the collision.  Therefore, if you are in a crash, and this information will be important, do not move the vehicles.  Allow them to be towed.  Contact an attorney immediately so that this vital evidence can be properly preserved.  We have a great deal of experience with these recording devices.  We know the experts who are trained to retrieve this information.  Give us a call so that we can help you and your family.

What is an Umbrella Policy of Insurance and Why Have One

As trial lawyers representing injured persons, we are often asked what is an Umbrella insurance policy and why should I have one.  This is an important question because it affects others and yourself.  As any insurance policy is for the protection of others and yourself, the more coverage you purchase, the more you are protected.

Indianapolis Personal Injury AttorneysAn umbrella policy is an “extra” policy on top of your regular policy (which can cover your home car or business).  The umbrella policy pays on a claim only after the underlying, or main, policy limits are paid in full.  Thus, as an example, if you are in a car accident that is your fault, and the person you hit is severely injured (brain injury, paralyzed, broken bones etc.) or killed, you would be protected against a judgment by that person against you up to the limits of your underlying (main) policy and the limit of your umbrella policy.

Typically, insurance companies require a higher limit on the underlying policy before they will sell you an umbrella policy.  The underlying limit of coverage is usually required to be at least one hundred thousand dollars, sometimes two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, sometimes even more.  Umbrella policies usually are sold in million dollar increments.

In our example, if you purchased one hundred thousand dollars of coverage and a one million dollar umbrella policy, you would be protected from a claim by the injured person against you in the amount of one million one hundred thousand dollars.  If a judgment higher than that amount were entered against you, the injured person could collect the judgment against you by having the Sheriff execute on your property to pay the balance.

Obviously, having enough insurance is important to protect, (1) to the injured person to compensate them for any harm you may cause); (2) your own assets; and (3) yourself in the case where the accident is not your fault but rather the fault of another driver.  If that other, at fault driver, has little or no insurance, you would still be protected by your own underlying policy and umbrella policy (be sure your company links the two policies together) for your own injuries, or loss of income from work caused by your injuries.  So, ask your insurance agent about umbrella insurance policies, and if you can do it, protect yourself and others with adequate insurance coverage for any serious injuries or death you might cause, or you might suffer at the hands of a negligent driver.

Understanding Your Rights in the New Year

I want to try and take a moment to ask all my readers to consider something from a new perspective.  Automobile accidents, construction injuries, drunk driving collisions, semi tractor trailers crashes all have one thing in common.  They both have the potential to cause Hoosiers serious personal injury.  These injuries can include wrongful death, spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia, broken bones, all of which can interfere with a person’s ability to support themselves and their family.

Indianapolis personal injury attorneyThe remedy granted to these people, by the United States Constitution, and the State of Indiana Constitutions is the right to a trial by jury when injured.  This is a right just like the right to free speech, the Right to Freedom of Religion and the Right to Keep and Bear arms. The right to free speech permits people to say offensive things, however it is an essential protection for the people against abusive government. The right to the freedom of religion has spawned much disagreement and litigation, however, the right to practice your religion as you wish is what sets us apart from the Taliban and other religious fanatics who would force you to practice only the religion of which they approve.  The right to bear arms results in many tragic deaths, however the right to bear arms has always been an essential bulwark against the tyranny of abuse.

Like these rights, the right to a trial by jury for injuries to persons and properties has difficulties.  One difficulty is those who would abuse the system for their own gain.  However, by far and large, the claims of injured persons are legitimate.  The system is very good at rooting out the fakers.  It is a system that is operated in the private sector free of the bureaucracy of bloated government.  It is self regulating.  The right to a trial by jury puts the individual on the same footing as the corporation, despite the disparity in wealth and resources of the corporation. As you sit in your kitchen, reading about a verdict for an injured person please bear in mind a few things.  A jury has listened to all the facts, the news story has very few facts, and those are not always accurate.  A person who has been injured has medical bills and has not been able to work.  The money they receive will help them pay their bills and get back to work able to earn, pay taxes and pull their own weight.  This is good for you, and it is good for everyone else.  Lastly for this missive is the fact that your mother was right when she taught you that if you make a mess you are obligated to make up for that harm.  If you hurt somebody, you make up for that harm by having your insurance company pay the injured person.

In this new year, keep in mind that  when corporations, the chamber of commerce and insurance companies tell us that we should do away with this system, they are really saying that your constitutional rights are not worth protecting.  If they can do away with one constitutional right they can do away with others, including the right to bear arms, and the right to say what you want. Do not ever let that happen.  Do not ever let them convince you that the injured person is the bad guy. The founding fathers knew better.

NOTICE: No face-to-face meeting needed. You can remain safely in your home from case signup to settlement.

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