You’ve been injured, and you don’t know how to deal with the medical bills. You might be lucky and have your insurance company step in to deal with the bills. When you’ve won your case against the responsible party, though, you might find that your insurance company is the first in line to want to be paid. Understanding why is one of the key factors in understanding how a personal injury suit works.
Personal Injury Settlement – Why You Get Paid
If you’re involved in a car accident, you probably won’t be collecting directly from the other party. Instead, if you live in most states, you’ll be given the right to collect directly from that insurance company regardless of the severity of your injuries. In just over one out of five states, the so-called “no fault states”, you’ll have to collect directly from your own insurance. In either case, you’ll be dealing with a major corporation instead of a human being.
If the insurance company thinks the person they represent has liability for the injury, you’ll usually be given the chance to accept some form of out-of-court settlement. If they don’t think there’s any liability, you’ll have to go to court and file suit. If you go to court, you’ll generally deal with a jury who will decide on what you get from the insurance company based on factors like the cost of your medical care, wages lost due to your injury, pain and suffering suffered, and possibly even emotional distress. If you accept a settlement, then, you’ll want to accept something that considers all of those same factors and compensates you justly.
The Health Insurance Cut
So, why does your health insurance company get part of your money? Well, it’s best to start with the basics. Part of your settlement or award was, after all, intended to pay off your medical bills. If the insurance company was already paying for those bills, it is fairly logical that they would want to be paid back. It’s a little harder to understand, though, when you get a smaller settlement. You might have gotten money to cover pain and suffering or lost wages, but the health insurance company will still insist on being paid first. It seems patently unfair that the health insurance company would seek to take everything that you were awarded, but in many cases the health insurance company will seek to do just that.
This is why you need a good attorney. He or she will seek to negotiate with the health insurance company to find a solution that works well for everyone. It’s doubtful that either of you will get precisely what you want, but you may be able to walk away with something instead of letting the health insurance company take everything. Your lawyer may be able to find solutions that bring you both some kind of closure, even if you aren’t always able to go home with all the money that was awarded to you.
It’s not wrong for the health insurance company to insist on getting paid if it has already paid for your bills, but you shouldn’t expect that your entire award will go to the insurer instead of going to you. If you have medical bills that were paid by your health insurance company before a suit, make sure to talk to an attorney to figure out what your options will be when it comes time to settle. With the right advice, you will be able to move forward with your settlement and your payments in a way that will help you put your life back together and settle your debts.