Author Topic: Involve lawyers?  (Read 1192 times)

dodojojo

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Involve lawyers?
« on: April 28, 2021, 03:18:14 PM »
My dad was involved in a minor bus incident this weekend.  He was transported to the ER, got a scan and was told there were no discernable injuries.  He was told to follow up with his family doctor, which he did yesterday.  He has soreness when the area is touched but otherwise is fine. This is the straightforward part.

The complicated part...the incident was reported to the transit company, I had to pursue them to respond.  They tell me their insurance company will reach out to my dad to discuss the incident.  Long story short, because my dad is on Medicaid and lives in HUD housing AND because it seems to be a minor incident AND he seems to be fine, I've advised him to not involve lawyers.  Just work with the insurance company to ensure any medical bills will be covered and my dad isn't stuck with any costs due to an accident that was not his fault. 

I have no  expertise in the matter but from what I have seen on Google, insurance payouts affect Medicaid coverage.  Due to the minor incident factor, I have advised my dad that any small payout would not be worth the effort or the loss of Medicaid.  He has minor but consistent health problems and Medicaid goes a long way in covering treatment for them. He's poor so if he were to engage a lawyer, it would have to be basically an ambulance chaser on contingency.  I doubt they would be willing to take on a case just to ensure the medical bills are paid.

But I am concerned that by advising my father not to engage a lawyer and to just work with the insurance company, I may be feeding him to the lions.  Already, my dad is stressed because he has called multiple times and the insurance company hasn't returned his calls.  Though I have to remind my dad it's only been a day.

Still...should my dad lawyer up?  I feel like we're doing the right thing, but I don't want him to get screwed either.

Fish Sweet

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2021, 03:53:59 PM »
This sort of thing sounds like it's worth a (probably paid) consultation with a lawyer.  Talking to a lawyer =/= lawyering up, and any good lawyer worth their salt will understand the complications of his Medicaid + housing on whether he should pursue any kind of damages and advise him accordingly.  In addition, there are sometimes vehicles in which insurance/lawsuit payouts can be deposited that won't affect a person's eligibility for public assistance programs.  This can be VERY state-dependent, so again, talk to a lawyer who's familiar with your father's state. 

An example of this:  I once worked at a law firm (not a lawyer) who assisted a client who was receiving government benefits and had been badly harmed by an institution, and was able to get the several hundred thousand dollars of their settlement deposited in a specific type of trust for their use without impacting their eligibility.  Several hundred thousand dollars would not have been worth this client losing their lifetime benefits, but it was certainly worth fighting for and worth spending attorney time and money to preserve.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2021, 04:10:47 PM »
It's been less than a week. Pump 'em brakes. He's not going to lose anything by waiting a few weeks to see how his injuries, if any, shake out.

Tell him to not sign anything or even answer the phone. Let them send him mail. Mail is good. Mail is papertrail.

dodojojo

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2021, 04:13:09 PM »
@Fish Sweet

Thank you for your thoughtful reply.  Initial assessment is that my dad is okay and in order to get to a settlement total that would be worth pursuing by my dad and the law firm, he may have to start saying otherwise...if you get my drift.

If it was a more serious incident and my dad was hurt badly, there wouldn't any hesitancy on the lawyer question.  But again, he seems to be fine, I just don't want him to get screwed by the insurance company or by my bad advice.

marion10

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2021, 04:26:45 PM »
When my MIL ,who was covered under Medicare, was  injured slipping in the ice on city property , Medicare sued the city on her behalf recover the money they spent on her expenses. Medicaid might do something similar.

lhamo

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2021, 07:07:27 PM »
If you are in a state with expanded medicaid there is no longer any asset testing and a one-time payout should not affect your dad's eligibility.


dodojojo

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2021, 07:52:56 PM »
If you are in a state with expanded medicaid there is no longer any asset testing and a one-time payout should not affect your dad's eligibility.

He's in CA.  When did this happened?  Because each year I help him with his MediCal renewal and we submit bank statements.

mlipps

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2021, 07:58:53 PM »
If you are in a state with expanded medicaid there is no longer any asset testing and a one-time payout should not affect your dad's eligibility.

He's in CA.  When did this happened?  Because each year I help him with his MediCal renewal and we submit bank statements.

Iím not an expert on this but I think the rules for qualifying if youíre under 65 and covered by a Medicaid expansion are different than being over 65 and dual eligible. Over 65 thereís still asset testing.

dodojojo

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2021, 08:33:00 PM »
When my MIL ,who was covered under Medicare, was  injured slipping in the ice on city property , Medicare sued the city on her behalf recover the money they spent on her expenses. Medicaid might do something similar.

How did Medicare get involved?  Did she inform them?  I'm reading online, it seems like there's advice about attorneys having to inform Medicare and Medicaid if their clients have these benefits. But if we are not involving attorneys and not pursuing a liability case, what roles do M&M play?  I wonder if we just inform M&M and let them deal with the insurance company?

marion10

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2021, 11:35:48 PM »
As I remember, the insurance claim showed it was an accident and they followed up from there. Itís called subrogation. She did not get any type of settlement.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2021, 02:31:07 AM »
Wait, your dad was hit by a bus and because of something you read googling youíve advised your father to not speak with people who deal with these things for a living?

I canít see how it would possible hurt talking to a PI lawyer. They donít wasting their own time and they generally let people without cases know. Also, you can ask them questions about things youíre not familiar with.

cool7hand

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2021, 04:57:46 AM »
Involve a lawyer. Common carriers like bus companies have the highest standard of care. A good lawyer in your market will know how to value the injury and navigate the other complexities.

Malcat

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2021, 07:35:29 AM »
100% involve a lawyer!

This doesn't mean that you have to negotiate through a lawyer, but you should without a doubt consult one as to how to handle this.

There are so many small things that could be handled wrong through this, a lawyer will warn you of all of the possible pitfalls and dirty tricks that could come your way.

Find a good lawyer YESTERDAY and get all your ducks in a row as to how you want to handle this.

Basic life wisdom: if there's any kind of settlement possibility at play with an insurance company, GET A LAWYER.

dodojojo

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2021, 09:09:45 AM »
Thank you all.  How to find a lawyer?  Fortunately, I have not been situation where one was needed.  I'm literally googling personal injury lawyer and reading Yelp reviews now.

I'm not going to get into details but he was not hit by a bus.  I'd never term getting hit by a bus as a minor incident.  The incident happened on the bus and he received medical attention out of precaution.

dodojojo

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2021, 10:46:18 AM »
Had a good chat with a lawyer.  His advice was that he didn't see a lawsuit but generously offered tips on how to proceed with the insurance company and to preserve legal action window if something down the road changes.

Malcat

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Re: Involve lawyers?
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2021, 11:08:12 AM »
Had a good chat with a lawyer.  His advice was that he didn't see a lawsuit but generously offered tips on how to proceed with the insurance company and to preserve legal action window if something down the road changes.

Perfect.

This is how I use lawyers 99% of the time, for legal advice on how to navigate issues and avoid pitfalls.