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Seeking Medical Attention After an Accident

Nov 4, 2019 Brown Moore & Associates

Today, we welcome Jon Moore, a partner at Brown Moore and Associates, to discuss the importance of seeking medical attention after an automobile accident. Seeking medical care not only ensures you are okay, it can be beneficial to a potential legal action in the future. Paige and Jon then discuss the benefits of using your health insurance for your medical bills when possible, even when another party is at fault.

Key moments from the episode:

  • [1:00] – Seeking medical attention after an accident
  • [3:06] – Handling medical bills after an accident
  • [5:48] – What you need to know about health insurance
  • [8:00] – Using MedPay

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When Accidents Happen is a podcast by Brown Moore and Associates, a personal injury law firm based out of Charlotte, NC. This podcast is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for consulting an attorney. You should always consult an experienced personal injury attorney about your unique situation before making legal decisions. Visit our website for more online resources at brownmoorelaw.com, or better yet, call 704-335-1500 for a free initial intake interview so Brown Moore and Associates can evaluate your case.

Read Full Transcript

Intro:[00:02]Chances are you’re here because of an accident involving yourself or someone you love and before the dust even settles you’re dealing with an insurance company that doesn’t have your best interests at heart. You may be feeling overwhelmed. You may be feeling scared. Welcome to When Accidents Happen, a podcast brought to you by the attorneys of Brown, Moore, and associates. With more than five decades of experience our attorneys are here to guide you through these uncertain times and provide you with the information and answers you need today. Please welcome your hosts the attorneys of Brown Moore and Associates.
Jon Moore:[00:43]Hi Paige, this is Jon Moore and for y’all listening I’m one of the partners here at Brown, Moore, and Associates. I enjoyed listening to the podcast that you and Jim did about what to do after a car crash so thanks for having me here today.
Paige Pahlke:[00:55]Good to have you. Thanks for joining me.
Jon Moore:[00:57]So today I think we’re going to talk a little bit about what to do as it relates to medical attention following a collision, Paige, what do you recommend to your clients that you see?
Paige Pahlke:[01:07]I think that it’s very important that clients get medical attention as soon as possible. It’s very scary after collision. Oftentimes you’re very shaken up and in shock but your health is the most important thing. And so, it’s very important that you get to a medical provider and you get checked out because there are a lot of times that there could be something wrong that you wouldn’t necessarily know the signs and symptoms to look for. So my recommendation is always get medical treatment as soon as possible.
Jon Moore:[01:30]And I tell the same to my clients even if they end up being well at least they have the peace of mind of knowing that they got checked out and they’re trusting the doctors to look out for them. Now from a legal perspective though I also find and I’m sure I have it in cases frequently and I’m sure you’ve had it in cases too where somebody who may be in a car wreck doesn’t get medical care for a week, two weeks, or three weeks after a collision. And the liability insurance, the insurance for the other driver always uses that as an excuse to try to minimize the payout because they’ll say, “Well, the person may not have been hurt that bad or must not have been hurt that bad.” Do you find that also?
Paige Pahlke:[02:09]I do and that is very hard and that’s something that we have to deal with in those cases where that happens and it does potentially hurt the value. So, if you need that treatment my advice is always find a way to get that treatment, go get that treatment. Your health is very important. And especially during those early days it’s very important that you are following up if you’re instructed to follow up and that you’re going to see who you’re supposed to go see. They’re professionals, they know how to take care of you. They see people who have been in collision all the time. They know how to handle it.
Jon Moore:[02:38]Yeah. I have a lot of clients who are tough people and they say, “Well, I felt like I didn’t need to go to the doctor right afterwards. I thought that it would just get better over time.” And all my clients almost always regret that approach. Now, of course they’re in here. We don’t see the ones who do get better and don’t come in here. But if there’s even a little bit of a slight concern then it’s always best to go and get checked out either by your primary care physician or if it’s really serious go to the hospital. I know a lot of people have questions Paige about their medical bills that they incur for that treatment, the hospital, the primary care physician. What do you recommend to your clients about that?
Paige Pahlke:[03:18]So, if my clients have health insurance I always recommend that they give their providers their health insurance information and ask that the providers submit their bills to health insurance. One of the main reasons for that is because the injured party is responsible for those medical bills until the claim is resolved. And so, if we can have insurance pay for those that is one less thing that they need to be worrying about as they’re focusing on getting better.
Jon Moore: [03:43]That’s a very good point Paige. North Carolina is a fault state which means that the person who is responsible for the collision or at fault for the injury is not liable for the medical expenses until a court of law finds them to be liable. And medical providers and hospitals have no ability to go after that person. That person is who in law speak we call the tortfeasor, the person who caused the injury. The medical providers have no right to go after that person. The only person that the medical providers can seek payment from is the injured victim.
Paige Pahlke: [04:21]Yes, and I often time have clients, the clients who have health insurance I want them to be using that health insurance and making sure that the providers have that information and they’re submitting to them. For the clients that don’t have health insurance there will be times where their bills are still coming to their house and they might potentially be going to collections. And so, a lot of times or their doctors won’t see them again until they’ve paid those bills. And unfortunately they still need the treatment, their claim is not ready to be resolved because we don’t know how much more treatment they’re going to need. And so, for those clients they oftentimes have to work with the provider to set up a payment plan or maybe find another provider who will allow them to continue to treat without requiring the full payment up front. And so, they have to think creatively in how they’re going to get that treatment that they need. And that’s just unfortunate but that is the way that it is in North Carolina like you pointed out.
Jon Moore:[05:11]Well and at times we can be part of that help with creative thinking about helping our clients come up with the medical care that they may need. And sometimes it involves having the medical provider get paid out of any ultimate recovery at the end of a case and that is a medical concept or a legal concept rather called a lien. So, that’s something that we need to have all of our clients always using their own health insurance rather than trying to pay out of pocket. Now, what are some of the issues that arise when our clients use their health insurance as we want them to?
Paige Pahlke:[05:49]So, well there are two things. Sometimes what I’ve found is that providers even when they want the client takes their health insurance card to the provider they asked them to submit the providers still asserts a lien like you had just mentioned. Or alternatively, depending upon the type of healthcare that they have, maybe they have Medicare, or Medicaid, or they have health insurance to the state employee health plan, or they might have health insurance through a self funded or ERISA plan. There may be a right of reimbursement or a subrogation interest that we have to take into account at the end of the day if we get a recovery on their behalf that those health care plans may be entitled to some amount of reimbursement for what they’ve paid on our client’s behalf.
Jon Moore:[06:32]And does that reimbursement come out of the client’s ultimate recovery?
Paige Pahlke:[06:35]It does, yes.
Jon Moore:[06:37]One of the things that I like to do on cases that have that is be very proactive up front and get in touch with whatever be it a health insurance company or another provider like Medicare or Medicaid and talk with them. Some of the Medicare, Medicaid, there are certain laws that you have to comply with in terms of the reimbursement obligations but as far as health insurance plans a lot of times it helps to be proactive and negotiate with those providers upfront about what amount if any they’re going to be able to get back out of the recovery. And I find that that’s the best practice in order to maximize the ultimate recovery to the client at the end of the day.
Paige Pahlke: [07:20]I completely agree, John. I think that is the best approach and I think that a lot of our clients don’t realize when they come into us that they may actually have to pay back what their health insurance has paid on their behalf. And so, it’s a very scary concept for them to begin with. And having somebody walk them through that and then negotiate on their behalf to try to maximize their recovery I think is something that is very helpful and reassuring to them through this process.
Jon Moore:[07:44]I know a lot of our clients may have high deductibles and part of the puzzle that we have to solve is how they’re going to be paying for that money on those high deductibles for the medical care. And something that we will try to use is automobile medical payments coverage and I know that’s going to be a topic of a separate podcast so if you find yourself in that situation please listen to that one. But it is part of what we need to do is just really work to fit together all of the available options that a client has for covering their medical bills since the law in North Carolina simply provides that the person who is responsible for a collision or an injury they have to reimburse the victim for the medical expenses that they’ve incurred. Is that right?
Paige Pahlke:[08:31]Yes, that’s right. Med pay, if our clients have it that is a great resource and we always want to tap into that. And we are happy to help our clients through that process and like you mentioned we will cover that in a separate episode more in depth.
Jon Moore:[08:42]All right. Well thanks for talking this over with us.
Paige Pahlke: [08:45]Yes, thanks Jon. I appreciate it. You had a lot of good advice for our potential clients and thank you for your time.
Outro: [08:53]We appreciate you joining us on this episode of When Accidents Happen. To learn more about today’s discussion or to tell us your story visit our website at brownmoorelaw.com that’s B-R-O-W-N-M-O-O-R-E-L-A-W.com or call 704-335-1500. The insights and views presented in When Accidents Happen are for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information presented is not a substitute for consulting with an attorney nor does tuning into this podcast constitute an attorney client relationship of any kind. If you’re ready for the personal attention you deserve contact Brown, Moore and Associates today.