After suffering a serious personal injury, your first concern will typically be the need to obtain appropriate medical treatment for the injuries. When this happens, who will be responsible for paying the medical bills for related treatment? Keep reading to learn more from top personal injury lawyer, Brent Eames, about how medical bills get paid in personal injury cases.
As a general rule, the insurance provider of the party who caused the injuries will be responsible for the payment of medical bills. For example, in an automobile accident case, the liability insurance of the guilty driver shall reimburse the injured individual for all the associated medical expenses. In the cases of a slip-and-fall, the property insurance covering the premises where the accident happened shall be responsible for the payment of the medical bills. In the case of a dog bite, the homeowner’s or renter’s, insurance of the dog owner shall pay. However, when it comes to liability claims, these payments generally come in the form of a one time lump sum payment which will not come until the resolution of the case. So, what happens to the bills while the case is open and pending?
Any medical facility or provider that provided treatment to the injured individual can place a health lien for the amount of unpaid charges accumulated for the related treatment. If such lien is placed, it will have to be paid out of the final settlement. In Illinois, health liens are regulated by the Health Care Services Lien Act, also known as 770 ILCS 23/1, et seq. The Act divides medical treatment suppliers into health care professionals, such as licensed physicians, dentists, ophthalmologists, etc., and health care providers, such as hospitals, surgical centers, licensed home health agencies, and others. The Act then provides that in order to obtain reimbursement for services provided in connection with the personal injury case, the health care professional and /or the health care provider needs to provide the injured party and the at-fault party with a written lien containing the injured party’s name and address, the date of the injury, the address of the facility where the services were provided, and the name of the party that caused the injuries. The Act also ensures that health liens do not completely deplete the settlement funds in personal injury cases. According to the provisions of the Act, if the total amount of health liens in the personal injury case exceeds 40% percent of the total settlement proceeds, the lien amount shall be reduced to not exceed 20% for health care professionals and 20% for health care providers.
Sometimes, group health insurers will make payments for medical expenses which are related to the pending personal injury case. When this happens, the insurer will typically assert a lien on the personal injury claim and attempt to seek reimbursement for any related payments. This process is known as subrogation, and it can be an extremely important component of any settlement discussions. When Medicare or Medicaid are involved, the process is subject to strict legal guidelines and requirements which must be followed.
The Eames Law Group is an experienced law firm that guides people who have suffered serious personal injuries. They help residents of Illinois gain their lives back after accidents, by managing medical bills and financial setbacks. Brent Eames has been recognized as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Chicago who will help people obtain the appropriate compensation and medical assistance after suffering an injury. For more information, contact us to meet with the Eames Law Group and learn about the legal services they offer.