If You Settle, Do You Have to Reimburse Your Medical Insurer?
Tuesday, November 29, 2016By Richard Alexander
A common misconception of those who are injured by others is that the victim gets to keep all of the settlement money. This is not entirely true. Both attorney’s fees and costs usually come directly out of the settlement amount. In addition, insurance companies and health care providers may have a right to reimbursement for any money paid out on behalf of the victim.
When you’ve been badly injured in an accident, it can be tough to makes ends meet. Many accident victims are unable to work at all. Some people can only go back to work part-time. Even those who are able to return to work sometimes have to take time off for doctor visits, rehabilitation, and therapy. In addition to losing some or all of their wages, accident victims must pay medical bills as they roll in.
Insurance companies know that accident victims are usually under financial pressure due to lost wages and medical expenses. They use this as leverage in negotiations, often using delay as a tactic to maximize the pressure on victims.
As a result, those who are injured sometimes accept lower settlements to allow them to move forward with their lives. It’s important in these situations to know who has a right to any settlement money.
If you entered into a contract with a personal injury attorney, you will have to pay the agreed-upon fee. This almost always comes out of any settlement amount you receive. You should also review your contract with your attorney to make sure you are aware of any additional costs you must pay, such as filing and copy fees, travel fees, and postage.
If you received health care services from a hospital or other health care provider, that provider likely has a lien on any settlement you receive. Your attorney can advise you about the effect of any such lien on your settlement award.
In addition, if a medical or health insurance company paid benefits on your behalf, California law gives that company a right to be reimbursed for services it provided to you. This is true even if the insurance is provided through your employer and even if you pay premiums for the coverage.
If you or someone you know has been injured, contact the California accident lawyers at Alexander Law Group, LLP for a free, no obligation consultation. Call 888.777.1776 to speak with an attorney right now.