When it comes to injury cases there’s plenty of literature and materials on how to go about suing someone for damages. However, what folks don’t hear enough about and need to for their own information and response plan when something goes wrong is how to deal with the hospital and treatment costs right afterwards.
In an ideal situation, the injured party already has health insurance through work or a personal plan. In these instances, the doctor’s office or hospital will start a file and work with the given insurance company to bill costs out as they occur. The insurance company will also be contacted if the hospital or clinic is out of network, which will likely trigger the insurance company to send a representative to move the patient to a network provider to reduce costs. However, as many know, serious medical costs often outpace any insurance policy and there will co-payments expected from the patient. No surprise then, the hospital or office will sometimes try to get the patient to sign responsibility forms right away to bill him or her where the provider doesn’t pay for the entire bill later on.
When it comes to the cost of care and the potential recovery of a personal injury case, a person needs to remember that the hospital or clinic is not bound by what happens with the case. That means the medical costs will continue to add up regardless of whether the case recovers $10,000 or $1 million in a settlement or judgment. The only limitation of the cost of care provided is whether the treatment is refused by the patient or his or her representative with power of attorney. That in turn could mean a patient could have costs left over after a case has ended.
In most situations, however, an attorney representing an injured person is going to make sure as many of the medical costs are included in the recovery as possible, including anticipated costs in the future that have not yet occurred. This is a common situation where a person has suffered traumatic injury that is likely to require continued treatment and surgeries, as well as rehabilitation treatment for a long period afterwards. Or, the injury could result in a permanent disability in which case the care needs to be ongoing, from medical assistance to medical supplies and equipment. So, if an attorney is doing his or her job well, the recovery sought is going to anticipate all of these expenses, including the cost of a new car lease, and make sure they are included in damages sought.
However, what can limit a case and its recovery can be where the case settles or if a judgment goes against the injured party. Settlements are exactly that, an agreement to close a case and end the matter in exchange for some kind of recovery. In these cases the injured party agrees to forego a trial and going after every possible damage for instead a smaller amount. Again, a good attorney will try to make sure his or her client gets enough to return as much as possible to status quo, the way things were before the injury. However, if a case isn’t as strong as possible, the settlement could be less than desired.
Judgments are, at the end of the day, a guess ahead of time. No one knows for sure how a judgment will turn out until it occurs. Because of that risk, many parties settle on both sides of a lawsuit. That said, a party could go all the way, believe they have the strongest case, and it still turns out bad. In these situations, the medical costs would still be owed, but the injured won’t necessarily have a recovery to pay it with. As a result, many see why a settlement is a more definitive choice in comparison.
No attorney can guarantee a recovery. However, a good lawyer will do his or her best to achieve a solid recovery for a client, especially an injured one. That attorney can help manage medical costs and delay them until the case is resolved as well, which can take the pressure off an injured person while still obtaining the needed care to heal and get better.
The Lamber Goodnow legal team, together with its partner personal injury lawyers in Chicago, are experienced in personal injury matters. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers never charge a fee, unless we win your case. Get a risk free consultation today.