A motorcycle accident is enough to make anyone appreciate the fragility of human life. When you get out of the hospital after your motorcycle accident, you likely feel grateful that your injuries are not worse than they are. Even if you make a full recovery from the injuries you sustained in a motorcycle accident, the burden of the unexpected medical expenses that you incurred can follow you around for years. If your injuries are permanent, then the financial devastation caused by the accident is even worse. You need the motorcycle accident lawyers at Foster Wallace to help you get compensation for the medical expenses resulting from your motorcycle accident.
The Hidden Costs of a Serious Injury
The medical bills from an injury can leave you reeling for years, even if you make a full recovery. The medical bills that you will eventually receive from places like North Kansas City Hospital, Truman Medical Centers, KUMed, St. Luke’s, Research, and all the other hospitals in the Kansas City area will not be cheap. You probably know someone who went to the emergency room because they had appendicitis or kidney stones and came out with thousands of dollars of medical bills. For many Americans, debt is a vicious cycle, with creditors threatening to garnish your bank accounts to pay your unpaid medical bills. It is even worse if you have a chronic health condition that requires ongoing treatment, especially if it interferes with your ability to work.
Physical pain is not the worst part of living with a serious injury. The pain is compounded by not being able to provide for your family the way you used to before the accident. A motorcycle accident lawyer can not only help you pay for the treatment you need, put you with the right doctors, recover the income you lost because of your injuries, but also help you get compensated for your pain and suffering.
Do Not Count on Your Car Insurance to Pay Your Medical Bills
If you have been in a car accident before, you have probably received a settlement offer letter from the car insurance company. Many times, the settlement is not enough to reimburse you for all the money you spent on repairing your car or motorcycle, but only covers part of it. In car accidents involving injuries, the insurance companies include the estimated cost of medical treatment in calculating the settlement offer, but the amount they offer is almost never enough to cover all your medical bills. They usually make offers quickly after a motorcycle wreck.
If you get injured in a motorcycle accident, you should not enter into a settlement and sign a release without talking to a lawyer first. Entering into a settlement means that you promise not to file a personal injury lawsuit, so if you later decide to file a lawsuit because your injuries were more severe than you thought, the court will dismiss that lawsuit because you have already released your claim. In fact, you should not even talk to the insurance company if they call you to get a recorded statement about the accident. If they call you, you should just have them call your lawyer. Motorcycle accident lawyers know all the tricks that insurance companies use to get injured people to say that they were at fault for the accident or that the injuries were not very serious. If your personal injury lawyer talks to the insurance company on your behalf, he or she will not say anything that will weaken your case in a lawsuit.
Medical Expenses and Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
The medical bills start coming in shortly after a motorcycle accident, and they keep coming for a very long time afterward. You should keep all the bills and give them to your personal injury lawyer. If you do not have health insurance, then tell your attorney so he can work with your Kansas City-area health care providers. You should see if you have Personal Injury Protection or Med Pay benefits under your own car insurance policy. You will be able to use those funds to pay medical bills up to a certain amount (depending on what kind of coverage you have). One of the main features of a personal injury lawsuit is that the plaintiff is requesting damages for the medical expenses related to the injuries that the defendant caused or failed to prevent. When you request damages for medical expenses, all kinds of bills count, including doctor visits, surgeries, hospital stays, physical therapy, and medications. As mentioned above, we will often contact the hospital that you visited and let them know you were injured in a wreck and that we are seeking compensation for the negligent driver’s insurance company and they should hold on to the medical bills until we are able to settle the case after PIP or MedPay coverage has been exhausted (assuming you don’t have health insurance). We do not want the hospital to come after you in a collections action because you were unable to pay for the bills that were incurred because of the negligence of another person.
The medical bills and medical records that you present as evidence in your motorcycle accident lawsuit are important for several reasons. First, they show the exact amount of money that you have paid or still owe in connection to your accident-related injuries.
Second, your medical records show that your injuries are the result of the accident and not of a pre-existing condition. (If you have a pre-existing condition and the accident made it worse, you can still recover damages.)
Third, your medical records and the bills incurred between the accident and the trial enable the court to calculate what your future medical expenses for your injuries will be and award you damages for future medical expenses.
What if You Have Health Insurance?
If you have health insurance, you will want them to pay for your medical bills after Med Pay and PIP benefits have been exhausted. Unfortunately, you will likely have to pay some out of pocket payments up your deductible or even co-pays that you will be responsible for (we will track these and make sure you are reimbursed those expenses at the end of the case). You have the right to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit whether or not you have health insurance. Typically, when an injured party requests damages for medical expenses, they request the amount that the doctors and hospitals charged, including the portion that the insurance paid. For example, if your insurance paid $20,000 for your treatment, you paid $4,000, and you still owe $16,000, you would request $40,000 for medical expenses. If you win your case, you will have to pay the portion you still owe to the doctors and hospitals; you may also have to reimburse the insurance company for the amount it paid, especially if you got the health insurance policy through your employer or your spouse’s employer and that health insurance plan is a fully-funded ERISA plan that has reimbursement rights (we will analyze this for you to determine whether they actually do have reimbursement rights or not). Further, if you have Medicare or Medicaid, you will only have to reimburse them for part of the amount they paid. Sometimes health insurance companies negotiate with healthcare providers and write off part of the amount originally charged. Most of the time, you cannot claim the written off amounts because they disappeared into thin air; no one paid them or is still being asked to pay them.
You might be wondering why it is worthwhile to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit if you have to pay so much of it to your health insurance company. You would do so because any medical expenses are not the only damages you can recover. Your settlement or damages in award for any lawsuit will also include lost income and non-economic damages (pain and suffering).
Have You Been Injured in a Kansas City Motorcycle Accident?
If you've been injured in a Kansas City motorcycle accident you should speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.249.2101 to schedule your free consultation.