These days, one visit to the ER can cost thousands of dollars. Our personal injury lawyers at Kiefer & Kiefer are often called by potential clients concerned about getting their medical bills paid for or wondering who is responsible for paying their medical bills following an accident.
In Louisiana, a tortfeasor is responsible for all of the damages that are reasonably foreseeable based on his or her negligent acts. When making a claim against a third party for negligence, we help our clients seek compensation for all of the medical expenses that were incurred by our clients that medical experts relate to the accident or incident. However, there is no general requirement for a third party’s insurance to pay your medical bills in advance of your case ending.
From our New Orleans-based team of personal injury attorneys, here’s what you need to know.
How Can I Get My Medical Bills Paid for While My Case is Pending in Louisiana?
Although it is not generally required for a third party to pay your medical bills while your case is pending, there are a few ways you may be able to get your medical bills paid.
- Medical Payments Coverage under the Auto Policy. If you were a passenger in a vehicle that has medical payments coverage under its insurance policy, even if the driver of that vehicle was at fault, you can make a claim to get your medical bills paid while your case is pending.
- Medical Payments Coverage under the Auto Policy. If you have an automobile policy that has medical payments coverage, you can make a claim to get your medical bills paid while your case is pending.
- Medical Payments Coverage under Homeowners’ Policy. If you were injured in an accident at someone’s house, there may be medical payments coverage under their homeowner’s policy that will pay your medical bills while your case is pending.
- Medical Payments Coverage under Commercial Policy. If you were injured at a place of business, there may be medical payments coverage under their business policy that will pay your medical bills while your case is pending.
Will My Health Insurance Cover My Medical Bills?
This issue comes up all of the time.
For some reason, there is a widespread belief that you cannot use your health insurance if you were involved in an automobile accident or have a claim or case pending.
This is not true!
We know we pay enough these days for our health insurance, from monthly payments, out-of-pocket expenses, and deductibles (that are often times thousands of dollars on their own). If you are hurt in an accident, you can 100% use your health insurance.
In fact, under current Louisiana law, if you have private health insurance, it is more beneficial to you to use it.
In Louisiana, under the Collateral Source Rule, a tortfeasor may not seek a reduction in the damages award for any written-off or discounted amounts procured by the tort victim’s insurer. (For more info, see Griffin v. Louisiana Sheriff’s Auto Risk Ass’n, 1999-2944 (La. App. 1 Cir. 6/22/01), 802 So.2d 691, writ denied, 2001-2117 (La. 11/9/01), 801 So.2d 37.)
What that means, simply, is that you are entitled to collect 100% of the bills that went to your insurance company, not just what they paid your healthcare provider. So, if your emergency bill was $10,000, you are entitled to seek $10,000 from a tortfeasor even if the insurance company only paid the doctor $1,000.
The only caveat is that your health insurer may assert its “subrogation” right under its contract and seek reimbursement for the amount that it paid. The good news is that our team at Kiefer & Kiefer handles any of these subrogation claims for you for free with your injury case, so you can get the most recovery possible.
Can My Attorney Pay My Medical Bills While My Case is Pending in Louisiana?
Yes. Often times our clients are uninsured or cannot afford their out-of-pocket costs under their health insurance following an unexpected accident.
In these cases, we may advance the costs of your medical treatment so that you can focus on getting better and not on financial stress.
We often get clients who were completely unaware that there was significant medical payments coverage available to them that the insurance company did not tell them, or we have clients who were feeling pressured by the insurance company as well as financially to settle their case because they were concerned about paying the medical bills.
Don’t do that without a legal consultation! If you settle your case, you may very well be waiving any right to seek compensation if your injuries wind up being severe.
Contact Kiefer & Kiefer New Orleans Personal Injury Lawyers Today
If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident, car accident, trucking accident, bicycle accident, or have sustained any other type of injury and are worried about paying your medical bills, give us a call for a free consultation on your possible claim. We handle cases in New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, and every other parish in the state of Louisiana.
This is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.