Medical Bill Attorney in Amarillo
Almost every personal injury claim results in medical costs. Medical bills can include:
- doctor bills (the hospital will have a separate doctor bill)
- diagnostics like x-rays, MRIs, and other testing
- physical therapy or chiropractic care
- other specialist doctors
- medical devices like braces or a wheelchair, etc.
All of your medical bills factor into the seriousness and value of your case. Having a large amount of medical bills does not necessarily mean your case is worth more, but it often does have a correlation. Someone who just gets checked out at the hospital and does not need any additional medical care is not usually seriously injured. It really depends on everything including the severity of the injuries and length of time to recover form your injuries.
What bills do I have to pay?
In almost every case when you go to the hospital after a car wreck, the hospital will file a lien against your case. In Texas, hospitals are required to treat you at the emergency room whether you are able to immediately pay or not. So, Texas law allows hospitals to file these liens to ensure payment. You will also have to pay any doctor or treatment facility that agrees to treat you under a letter of protection. Many people still do not have health insurance and a letter of protection from your lawyer is like a contract and a promise to pay that medical provider out of any settlement funds. Sometime this is the only way an injured person can get the treatment they need following an injury.
You also have to pay any medical provider where you signed an Assignment of Benefits. This is in the small print you go to a medical provider. A patient is usually told they are signing a consent for treatment and to “bill insurance.” The patient is almost never told it includes an agreement that the medical provider gets to be paid out of any auto insurance that is paid because of the injury. Be careful what you sign.
In most cases a medical provider will agree to accept less than their actual billed amount in order to guarantee payment. This happens mostly in dealing with hospitals. However, there is no rule that a hospital or doctor must reduce their bill.
A patient is only required to pay a reasonable amount for emergency medical care. If a hospital charges an unreasonable amount, you should only have to pay what is reasonable. I have actually sued hospitals in the past that charged unreasonable amounts and refused to fairly adjust their bill. $100.00 for an aspirin is not reasonable, neither is a $10,000 MRI.
If a medical provider does not have a lien, a letter of protection, or an assignment of benefits then it is your choice and your responsibility regarding the payment of those bills. I have known many past clients who decided to not pay medical bills out of an injury settlement and then latter negotiated those medical bills and got an agreement to pay a much lower amount. Be aware that unpaid medical bills can affect your credit and a medical provider, like any other person or company, can file a lawsuit against you for the payment of the services that were given to you.