Trick question! But, the short answer is that the insurance company pays you so that you can pay them.
When you’re in a car wreck in or around Columbia, SC, the last thing you want to do is worry about your medical bills. Yet, even though they might know it’s someone else’s fault, facilities like Lexington Medical Center may start sending YOU the medical bills. I inevitably get a call nearly once a week from a client insisting that this process isn’t fair. And while I agree, I am obligated to explain (1) why this is a good thing and (2) why the system works that way.
I know I may have lost you when I said this is a good thing, but it is. By the insurance company giving you the money to pay your medical bills, you control the situation. You get the receipts and proof of payment, you handle it with your health insurance (if you have any), and you don’t have to trust the auto insurance companies to do it the right way for you. You aren’t their client, so they don’t owe you the duty of acting in your best interest. That’s where having an experienced personal injury attorney, like those here at The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, can step in. We can help you with all of these things to guarantee that they are done correctly and handled with your best interest in mind.
Why does the system work this way?
In short, because even though you’re not the one who caused your injuries, you are the one who has the relationship, medically and financially, with the doctor. Due to many regulations and policies, including HIPAA, only you or your legal representative can access protected health information (PHI). Here’s a simplified timeline of how the system works:
- You get injured in an accident caused by someone else.
- You seek medical treatment.
- You submit your bill to your health insurance. Your health insurance may cover all, or some, of your medical bills while your case is pending.
- After some time, you are discharged from care, and your doctor releases you to return to life as usual.
- Your attorneys prepare a settlement package demanding compensation for your TOTAL medical bills (even if some of those were covered by health insurance).
- Your attorneys negotiate with the defense, and you agree to a settlement. This settlement amount compensates you for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Your attorney untangles the web of medical bills, working with your insurance companies and providers to make sure all of your bills are appropriately paid and, if appropriate, discounted.
- You keep the rest (minus legal fees and costs), including the difference in what the insurance paid you (the full amount of your bills) and what actually had to be paid back to your medical providers (usually only a fraction of the full amount).
Still confused? No worries. We do this for a living so that you don’t have to. Just call our experienced car accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, PC in Columbia, SC, so that we can help answer your questions and get you the recovery you deserve.