What If You Are Injured Without Health Insurance?
“What if I am injured with no health insurance?” This question comes up quite frequently. If you have been injured in a car accident or slip and fall accident and don’t have health insurance, you may be able to seek treatment under an attorney’s lien. Attorney’s lien on personal injury cases is actually quite common. It is where the patient and the patient’s attorney agrees to pay for the treatment related to an injury case out of the proceeds of the settlement or award.
Attorney’s lien can be helpful in situations where the injured party does not have health insurance. There are a few other benefits to seeking treatment under an attorney’s lien. First, if the accident occurred in a state that applies the collateral source rule, then your medical bills will still be due and owing until the resolution of the case, which would increase the economic damages that the Plaintiff is entitled to. Second, you do not need to pay for expensive co-pays like you would if you were using your health insurance. Third, you will have an opportunity to negotiate your medical bills when your case has settled.
If you are injured with no health insurance, consider an attorney’s lien
There are definitely some drawbacks to using an attorney’s lien for treatment in lieu of using health insurance. First and foremost, it will likely reduce the amount of money going into your pocket after your personal injury case settles. This is because the doctors’ interest will supersede that of your own interest in your own personal injury case. In other words, they are entitled to payment before you are. This can put you in a bad position to negotiate your medical bills. This in addition to the fact that your attorney likely has a long-standing working relationship with the doctors that they will send you to.
Therefore, they will be reluctant to negotiate the bills as low as possible for fear that the doctors will not send them cases in the future or that they will not work with them on their client’s cases that need substantial reductions in order to finalize their cases.
Although an attorney’s fiduciary duties are owed to their clients, there are limits as to how far they are required to go in order to negotiate the medical bills as low as possible. Another problem with treating under an attorney’s lien is if your personal injury case goes south and takes a turn for the worst. You may end up owing to the doctor’s medical bills. Unlike most personal injury attorneys, who take their cases on a contingency fee basis, the doctors are owed the money for their bills regardless of who wins the case.
There are many complex factors that go into what you should do if you do not have health insurance and are involved in a car accident or a premise liability accident. So you should contact a law firm that is highly experienced in handling those types of matters. You should immediately contact our personal injury law firm today if you are involved in a personal injury accident.
For more information on the Attorney’s Lien, see Suzanne Burke Spencer’s article on the ethical enforcement of the attorney’s liens.