Author Topic: After a car accident  (Read 773 times)

Victoria_18

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After a car accident
« on: December 06, 2017, 02:12:16 PM »
I was hit by a truck that ran through a red light. My car was totaled. I have been suffering injuries for months.

1.   I received big medical bills. The at-fault driver's auto insurance has not paid anything for the medical bills.  This is a car accident caused by the other driver. But I have good health insurance that may have significant discounts for medical bills with care providers. Should I ask my health insurance to pay the medical bills for now? Or should I patiently wait for at-fault driver's auto insurance to pay? What implications of the significant discounts of my health insurance may be for the final settlement? Would the delay of the payment affect my credit?

2.   Should I file a short-term disability for a few months? Would that be another hassle? Would that increase my premium?

I am just really overwhelmed, on pain meds, and have never been through an accident before. What else should I do? Any advice would be appreciated.

bogart

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Re: After a car accident
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2017, 03:44:36 PM »
I'm so sorry to hear about your accident and injuries.

I'm no expert, but I'd have thought your medical care providers would have insisted on billing your insurance?  And I'd be astonished (if they, or you, do) if your health insurance didn't deploy its lawyers to hasten a settlement.  Maybe someone else can provide more info., but this part of your question, at least, is really about a question about which insurance company is liable for what, and they should work that out.

Miss Piggy

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Re: After a car accident
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2017, 05:06:41 PM »
I agree with bogart. Let the insurance companies hash it out.

craiglepaige

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Re: After a car accident
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 06:09:19 PM »
Contact your insurance company and let your agent know your situation. 

Also, please be careful with the pain meds. My brother is a cab driver for a company with county contracts and the amount of methadone patients he has, who started with pain meds and escalated into hard drugs is insane.
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calimom

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Re: After a car accident
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2017, 07:02:31 PM »
So sorry to read this. What is the extent of your injuries? Can adjunct care like chiropractic be helpful? Acupuncture? I also think that this is what ST Disability is for. Has your car been replaced yet?

Take care of yourself.

Abe

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Re: After a car accident
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2017, 09:59:28 PM »
Agree with letting the insurance companies deal with it. The hospital and definitely the trauma staff are used to this process.  They should’ve billed your insurance, but in the rush to deal with a trauma patient that often gets forgotten. Call the billing customer service number and provide your insurance, they’ll take care of the rest.

With regards to pain medications, consider ibuprofen and Tylenol staggered every 4 hours. This has been shown in multiple studies to decrease post-surgery and post-trauma narcotic use. if there is a specific reason you shouldn’t take one or the other (stomach ulcer or injury, liver injury or cirrhosis) then talk with your doctors. 

ColonelPotter

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Re: After a car accident
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2017, 10:45:42 PM »
First, I just want to say I'm sorry you're going through this.  You're in for a long process.  I don't mean to sound daunting, but I also don't want to set you up for a super rosy outlook, either.  Sorry this is long, but, it might help some people out:

I've assisted in a lot of personal injury work and have also experienced the process first-hand by getting in an accident that was not my fault, and having to deal with all of it when all I really wanted was to not think about it at all.  Whether I worked at a law firm or not, I would have needed to hire an attorney to handle this with me (completely your choice, but I'll get into that soon).  I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, so please do not take this as legal advice, but this is just my personal experience and what I've gathered as I've worked on others' cases:

First - Do NOT communicate with the other person's insurance company until you decide whether or not to obtain legal representation.  Any statements you make could be used to justify lowering your settlement amount, and you'll get the runaround with communication; whereas if you get an attorney, all the communication is between your attorney and the other person's insurance, as they would no longer be allowed to contact you diretly.  This is good for peace of mind to focus on what you need to focus on, aka, taking care of yourself.

Second - Go to all recommended doctors appointments, referrals, physical therapy, everything; you need to show that you are compliant with medical providers or else when the other person's insurance company requests your medical records it will appear as if your injuries weren't so bad if you didn't bother going to certain appointments or flaking out on going to physical therapy, etc.

Third - Insurance.  You will have to run your medical bills through your insurance, and pay any portion of your deductible, and it will suck for a long time.  It's stressful and annoying and fucks up your money situation, but it's how it works.  Light at the end of the tunnel - you'll get it back.  I swear some good stuff is coming up about this.

Fourth - To lawyer up or not.  This is a completely personal choice, and all I can tell you is my experience.  I chose to have an attorney represent me for a few reasons:  I worked at a law firm and it was easy access, I didn't want to deal with getting screwed over by the other person's insurance company, and I knew if I hired an attorney, they would work to get me the best deal because the bigger the settlement amount the more they get paid.  In my case, they were also able to negotiate my medical bills that had at that point turned into liens without it impacting my final settlement amount.  Around my parts, personal injury cases are often settled at 3x medical costs.  Many attorneys will take on personal injury cases on a 1/3 settlement fee, meaning whatever the settlement amount ends up being, 1/3 of that will go to the attorney.  This leaves 1/3 for actual medical costs/liens, and 1/3 for your pocket.

Fifth - This is a timesuck.  It took me 2 years to get my settlement finalized.  Nothing extravagant or unique about it, just the process.  Between having to show good faith efforts in non-invasive medical appointments for 8 months, finally getting the green light to get the surgery I needed 8 months earlier, the follow up appointments, the physical therapy for 4 months after surgery, getting all the billing amounts finalized (and paying for them), gathering medical records, missed wage documentation, etc. - I was so fucking over it.  Depending on the nature and medical necessity of your injuries, this could be a thorn in your side for a long time.  Keep track of all your medical bills, prescription costs, missed wages, history of all appointments - this will all need to be provided by you anyway, so just stay on top of it.

To me, hiring an attorney was worth it not only to negotiate the best settlement amount, but also so I could free myself emotionally and try to just focus on my well-being and recovery.  Like I said, this sucked 2 years out of my life, and I felt so burned out and like I had nothing left, so I couldn't imagine having to do the negotiating my attorney had to do.  I'm not sure of the extent of your injuries or if you require surgery, and I'm no help when it comes to how you should handle the time off work (at the time of my accident my employer had no benefits except PTO), but this is a shitty, shitty process and I am so sorry you have to deal with it.

Good luck on your recovery - please take care of yourself.

Abe

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Re: After a car accident
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2017, 10:06:17 PM »
I would like to add that a lot of trauma centers will provide services to deal with the psychologic aspects of injury and recovery (commonly referred to as PTSD). It is worth seeking out these services. Even seemingly small injuries may cause significant psychological harm, especially in situations where one was not at fault.

Victoria_18

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Re: After a car accident
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2017, 07:24:47 PM »
Thank you to everyone very much for your advice and kind wishes.

rymmm

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Re: After a car accident
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2017, 07:33:08 PM »
I have been through hell because of a recent car accident in August which left me hospitalized for a week, and am still suffering with considerable pain. I was not at fault per either insurance company.

I have learned SO much, but numbers matter a lot. Here is some advice:
1) Check your health insurance handbook\policy, and look for a subrogation clause. If your plan is considered "self funded" by and employer, it lands under ERISA federal law, which means your health insurance company gets 100% of any settlement BEFORE you do until they are totally paid back for everything. This really, really matters! If your insurance is governed by state law, most states have a "made whole" doctrine which means you can get paid some settlement before your medical insurance can recoup losses.

2) Find out policy limits on your underinsured motorist insurance, and the liability coverage the other driver has. Your insurance should be able to tell you other the other drivers' policy without speaking with them.


Once you know these numbers, you have a decision to make:
1) Hire a lawyer: Standard fee rate is 33%. If there is enough coverage leftover in the policy limits, and your injuries are substantial enough, it may warrant getting a lawyer.

2) Try to settle it yourself with insurance companies. This is risky-- Both companies will attempt to pay as little as possible, and they will try to place blame on you. If you say anything that puts you at fault, you can be screwed out of anything.

In my situation, I am stuck. My medical bills are very close to policy limits, and I have a subrogation clause.  Hiring a lawyer can go many different ways; they could find additional insurance, they could be able to negotiate the subrogation with the medical insurance company; or they could fail and both and I would end up with a bill or with no settlement.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: After a car accident
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2017, 04:38:41 PM »
I was in a car accident 10 years ago and TheHusbandHalf and I did go to a lawyer. It was kind of an easy case, but something we didn't know could have resulted in a lot of trouble. Thankfully, our lawyer told us this: In Ohio, the medical insurance and the car insurance have to share the costs of the medical bills. I think it was 50/50 but to be honest, I'm not sure.
Without the lawyer, we would have just taken the car insurance money and let the medical insurance pay, which I suppose would have caught up with us eventually.
The way he said it made us believe that all states are not like that.