What Can I Expect To Happen Once A Personal Injury Claim Is Filed?

Once a case has been filed, generally the only interaction that you will have with the other attorney will be at a deposition, which is further along in the case. The other thing you might want to expect is what is called an IME where your physical condition can be examined by a doctor of the defendant’s choosing and he will use that information basically to testify against the plaintiff should the case go to trial. All other interactions are generally with the attorney as far as gathering the witnesses, evidence and medical records.

What Information And Evidence Will My Attorney Need To Review Before Filing The Claim?

I like to gather as much information as possible as far as the incident is concerned and as far as the injuries are concerned. That might be pictures, it might be an engineer taking a look at steps or a pothole and a parking lot or some kind of construction site. That evidence will need to be gathered as soon as possible as well as talking to any witnesses. The other information that I like to review is the medical records and see what the extent of the injury was in a particular claim.

What Are Some Defenses That Insurance Companies Use To Avoid Paying Out On Injury Claims?

There are three defenses that immediately come to mind. One is that it was a third-party’s fault that the injury was caused by somebody else other than the defendant or the plaintiff. The other defense that comes into play a lot is that some or all of the liability for the accident rests on the actual plaintiff. That could be a fifty-fifty or a 100% or something a little bit lower. The other defenses that the insurance companies like to use is the injuries, the injuries that were sustained. They may claim that the client did not actually have those injuries or they had those injuries pre-existing to the accident, or that their accident and their injury was not significant enough to ferret out an actual claim.

Are All Of My Medical Bills Always Going To Be Paid In Full In The Personal Injury Settlement?

No, not necessarily. Generally, when a claim is settled, it will be a full settlement of all the claims. That would be the medical bills, there might be a Medicaid or Medicare lien. There might be a medical bill that is paid. All the medical bills that are outstanding, they may be paid by your insurance company, the plaintiff’s insurance company. It is possible that some of those moneys that were expended by the insurance company might be paid back, they may have a lien. But all these things can be discussed and negotiated prior to settlement, so we know exactly what is going to net the client prior to settlement.

Will Reimbursement Include Medical Bills Already Paid As Well As All Of My Future Treatment?

The medical bills that were already paid can certainly be a part of the recovery in the action. As far as future medical treatment, generally you want to have a settlement that anticipates any of that future medical costs and that would have to be proven to the significant extent to be able to recover for it if it did not already happen. But yes, all those items can be evaluated and factored into a settlement.

Which Providers Or Sources Of Funds Are Entitled To Recoup Reimbursement After A Settlement?

There are generally a couple of different entities that will seek reimbursement of the fees that they expended on a plaintiff’s behalf. One is their insurance company. So, if somebody has an insurance company that paid out, say, for a surgery and they paid out $100,000, they may try to put a lien on the file to try to recoup that money once the case is settled. The other sources of fund would be Medicaid or Medicare. They are the same as almost an insurance company where they will try to recoup the funds that were expended on the plaintiff’s behalf. There could also be the medical providers directly who are owed money and they may take a lien on the file as well and get paid when the case is settled or it reaches a verdict.

Should People Pay Medical Bills As They Come In Or Should They Wait For A Settlement?

If there is no insurance coverage and if it is a car accident, it would be no fault and if it is a general accident, it could be general medical insurance that pays these claims, the medical bills as they come in. If there are other medical bills that come in and you have the ability to pay throughout the case, I always think it is a good idea to pay the medical bills as they come in because a lot of medical providers do not necessarily want to wait until the case is settled to get paid. Now, you could negotiate a lien on the file and you could negotiate the amount of bills that are to be paid out of a settlement once you reach a settlement. But I always think as a general rule, it is always better to pay the medical bills as they come in to avoid any other problems.

For more information on Expectations In The Personal Injury Process, an initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (914) 230-0040 today.

Glen A. Kurtis, P.C.

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