This is an excerpt from one of the recent episodes of 'Do I Need a Lawyer?' hosted by: Gary Martin Hays.
"Hi Gary. I was hurt in a car wreck. The other driver was talking on his cell phone and ran the red light. I was taken by ambulance to the emergency room and told to get more treatment. Here's the problem. I don't have health insurance. How can I get treated for my injuries?"
That is a great question.
I'm joined now by Philip Milam.
Philip, thanks for being here.
What advice do you give this person?
I would recommend they find an experienced personal injury attorney who can help them get the medical treatment they need.
There are two ways the attorney can help:
(1) Look to see if the person has med-pay coverage on their car insurance.
What is med-pay coverage?
This is like health insurance on your car.
We get a copy of our client's car insurance dec page to see if they purchased med-pay coverage. It is sometimes listed as MPC.
The insurance company will pay for reasonable and necessary medical expenses up to the limits of the policy - regardless of who is at fault.
If the client has medpay coverage, we just submit the medical bills to the insurance company to get them paid.
What happens if the person does not have a car? There is no need for them to have car insurance. But they are hurt in a car wreck while riding as a passenger in someone else's car?
Then we look at the insurance coverage for the car in which they were riding. If the driver has med pay, it provides coverage for everyone in the car - even if the driver is at fault.
OK. What happens if there is no med pay coverage? How can a personal injury attorney get the client the medical treatment they need for their injuries?
(2) Medical lien:
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you find a doctor that is willing to provide treatment to you through a medical lien.
What is a medical lien?
This is essentially an agreement between the person that is hurt and the doctor. If and when the personal injury claim settles, the attorney agrees to pay the doctor's medical bills.
In most cases, doctors are not willing to treat a patient on a lien basis unless they know they have an attorney to protect the doctor's bills.
One thing I'd like to stress to our viewers. If you have been injured in a car wreck, it is important that you get prompt medical care for your injuries. And this should be done regardless of whether or not you plan on presenting any kind of claim against the at fault party's insurance company. You had your health before the wreck and you need to get that back as best you can.
And if you are hurt and you plan on pursuing a personal injury claim, do not delay in seeking medical treatment! The insurance company will use any delays to try and diminish the value of your claims.
When the injured person goes to the doctor for treatment for their injuries, what recommendations do you have for them?
Here are the top five things I recommend:
(1) Tell the doctor about all of your injuries. You are not being a whiner or complainer. It is important for the doctor to know what is wrong with you so he can treat you.
(2) Keep all of your medical appointments.
Why is this important?
It's difficult for the patient to get better if they're not keeping their medical appointments.
Philip, you're right and the insurance company will definitely attack the sincerity of the claims if the patient is not going to their medical appointments.
Tell us about #3
(3) Comply with the doctor's treatment recommendations. If he recommends home exercises, then do it. If he or she recommends more testing, have them done.
What's the fourth recommendation?
(4) Keep your attorney updated about your medical treatment. I ask my clients to call us after their doctors' appointments to keep us updated on their treatment and so they can also let us know if they have been referred for any additional testing or treatment with another specialist.
And finally number five...
(5) Keep track of all of your doctors and your medical bills. Your medical records are a very important part of your demand package that is sent to the insurance company as a part of your personal injury claim.
We always ask our clients to send us copies of any medical bills, records, or any correspondence from any insurance company. This is a great way for us to make sure we do not miss any important information from any of these doctors.