If you’ve been doing research after an accident, you probably know by now that you can receive compensation for medical care. For example, if someone struck you with their car, their insurer should pay for all reasonably necessary medical treatment for your injuries.
But accident victims face a problem: time. It can take months to reach a settlement with an insurer, even with the help of a Los Angeles lawyer. Nevertheless, an accident victim needs medical treatment immediately, which means someone has to pay for it while everyone waits for a settlement.
Accident victims typically face two choices—use their health insurance to pay for medical care or grant a doctor a lien on their future settlement. Read on for more information or contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney.
If you have health insurance, you can use it to help pay for medical treatment, such as surgery, doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, or other treatment. However, your insurance contract probably contains a clause stating that you must reimburse your health insurer if you were injured in an accident and receive a settlement. This is called a right of subrogation.
Take out your insurance contract and read it. If you can’t understand the legal language, show it to your Los Angeles personal injury lawyer.
What happens if you are unable to get a settlement? In that case, you probably do not have to reimburse your health insurer, so that is a definite benefit.
This is the more unusual option. In California, you can receive treatment on a lien basis, meaning the doctor does not require that you pay up front. Instead, you will have to sign an agreement with the doctor so that he or she has a lien, which is basically a right to payment out of the proceeds of your settlement. This is a good option for clients who lack health insurance.
Some people wonder whether they should accept treatment from a doctor on a lien basis. Their thinking is that the doctors who work this way probably are less qualified than other doctors. In our experience, nothing could be farther from the truth. Although the quality of doctors in California varies significantly, we haven’t found that doctors who work on a lien basis are typically less qualified than their peers.
A doctor’s liens can come with some complications, however. For example, you might not receive enough in a settlement to cover all your losses. In that case, you will need to negotiate payment on the lien. Talk with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer for help drafting and negotiating your doctor’s lien, if this is an option that is attractive to you.
In Need of Medical Care? You Have Options
After an accident, you should seek immediate medical treatment to limit the severity of your injuries. Fortunately, California allows those without health insurance to obtain treatment on a doctor’s lien.
For help negotiating a favorable settlement, contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney. At El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, we have helped draft and negotiate doctor’s liens, as well as settlements with at fault drivers. For more information, please contact us to schedule a free consultation.