Medical Expenses from a Florida Motor Vehicle Accident
Although Florida has one of the nation’s highest rates of residents without health insurance at 9.1 percent, according to the Florida Policy Institute, many accident victims still may have private health insurance that may initially cover some or all of the individual’s medical treatment for injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident. Thus, your health insurance may initially pay for certain treatment you have to undergo as a result of another driver’s actions. However, if you later file a claim or lawsuit against that driver and/or his or her insurer, the negligent driver and/or insurer are on the hook for any medical treatment that you are forced to undergo because of your injuries. This includes paying for all medical treatment that was necessitated by that driver’s negligence, the pain and suffering those injuries caused you and will cause you in the future, and any other damages or losses you suffered as a result of that driver’s actions.
However, if you choose to settle your claim against that driver and/or his or her insurer, then you will be responsible for reimbursing your health insurer for whatever expenses your insurer may have paid towards the treatment for the injuries you suffered due to the other driver’s negligence. If you have retained an experienced attorney to represent you, however, your attorney often will be able to negotiate down the value of the lien that your health insurer has for the amounts it paid for whatever treatment you received for those injuries. This will reduce the amount of the lien that will be paid out of your settlement proceeds and will result in more money in an accident victim’s net settlement amount.
Your Health Insurer’s Right to Be Paid Back for Medical Treatment for Injuries Related to Someone Else’s Negligence
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, particularly if your injuries are serious, you should seek medical treatment immediately. It also is important to understand, however, that whatever medical treatment you receive as a result of your injuries related to that car accident ultimately are the responsibility of the driver that hit you and his or her insurer under Florida law. The significance of this for you as the accident victim is that, if you settle your accident claim or lawsuit against the other driver and/or his insurer, your health insurance provider has a right to be reimbursed for whatever medical treatment related to your injuries from the car accident your health insurer paid for. This is a legal concept known as subrogation. It is a contractual right included in virtually every health insurance policy and is also provided for under Florida law. It normally is buried in the fine print of virtually every insurance policy in one of the back pages of a document that usually runs to hundreds of pages. However, it still exists, and must be dealt with if your health insurer has paid any of the medical bills associated with injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident caused by a third party’s negligence. However, as discussed below, an experienced attorney can often negotiate with your health insurer to reduce the value of a lien so that you, the accident victim, can walk away from a settlement of your motor vehicle accident injury claim with additional money.
How Does Negotiation of a Lien Work When It Comes Time to Settle Your Florida Accident Injury Claim or Lawsuit?
As an example, let’s say that an accident victim is covered by health insurance through a private sector employer and receives $7,500 worth of treatment paid by her health insurer for injuries suffered in a car accident caused by someone else’s actions. Because her injuries were the direct result of a third party’s negligence, that driver and/or her insurer are ultimately responsible for paying for that medical care and treatment. However, in many cases, the health insurer may be willing to take less than the $7,500 to resolve that lien when a case is about to be settled given that (i) the insurer has already paid that money and (ii) the chances of the insurer getting paid anything are much better if a case settles than if a case goes to trial, where anything could happen and the insurer could be left with nothing. However, the victim’s attorney needs to make sure to attempt to always negotiate the amount of the lien because you cannot get a reduction if you don’t ask for it, and some attorneys are not experienced or knowledgeable enough in these types of cases.
Contact Us if You Need an Experienced Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney
At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal experience representing Floridians who have been injured in motor vehicle or truck accidents in which our clients have suffered catastrophic injuries that required extensive medical treatment. We take the time to ensure that we understand and confirm both the existence and amount of any and all outstanding liens directly with our clients’ insurers at the beginning of each case and well before we ever discuss settlement with the other side. We therefore will never advise a client to enter into a settlement before ensuring that any and all outstanding liens for medical treatment that was paid by a health insurer are satisfied when a case is settled or resolved and the settlement our client receives is a fair one. However, because of our long experience in representing motor vehicle accident victims and other injured persons, we also have developed the expertise in negotiating down the value of liens and will take an aggressive position to get our clients every last penny we can. Therefore, contact our experienced attorneys at email@example.com or (877) 694-6079 for a free consultation today if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida.