Knowledgeable Attorneys Discuss Insurance Payments and Personal Injury Settlements in Washington
A common damage in a personal injury settlement is medical costs. These are past medical expenses that you have paid, as well as those that your health insurance has paid. Medical costs often create interesting situations, especially when health insurance picks up most of the costs during your lawsuit.
If you did not pay the entire medical bill, could you still sue the defendant for the cost? Would your insurer sue them if they were liable? These are all excellent questions. While we can provide you with an answer, it is best to consult with a personal injury attorney before applying this information to your case.
Can You Sue the Defendant for Medical Costs Paid for by Insurance?
Yes – however, you will not receive the money that your insurance company paid for you. Consider, for example, if you were in a car accident. You had over $50,000 in medical costs, which your insurance company paid for you. You hire a personal injury attorney who then files a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. They cite the medical costs of $50,000 plus other damages. Your health insurance company finds out about the lawsuit and files a lien against it.
When the settlement is reached with the defendant and you receive compensation, you must satisfy the lien that your insurer has before you can receive your portion. Therefore, they will lien against your settlement for all medical costs that they have paid.
Washington allows a health insurance company to place a lien against your compensation. This is because it is not considered fair for you to sue for damages that you did not financially pay yourself. Therefore, you must satisfy the balance of the insurer’s lien before you receive your cut.
Counting for Contingency Fees and Liens
Good attorneys will calculate the liens and their contingency fees in addition to future costs and your non-economic damages. Once this number is determined an attorney can use this to negotiate a reduced repayment to your medical insurance company. This is often referred to as “subrogation.” Many times, your attorney’s skill at negotiation of subrogation is as important as the handling of the underlying case.
For example, if you receive a $100,000 settlement, but your health insurance company’s lien takes $50,000 of it, and your contingency fee with your attorney takes $33,333. That leaves you with just about $16,667 out of your settlement – barely enough to cover the rest of your costs. In this scenario, negotiation of the subrogation is the most critical aspect of this case.
The burden of a health insurance lien deters injured people every day from filing a lawsuit, but it is important to note that your attorney will work to ensure that you receive compensation that does not leave you financially struggling. While you may lose a portion to health insurance liens and your attorney’s fee, your attorney will still ensure that you have the funds to cover your lost wages, pain and suffering, and out-of-pocket expenses.
Speak with an Attorney in Washington Today
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury, contact the accident team at Brett McCandlis Brown, PLLC. We are here to advocate for your right to compensation, and we offer free consultations so that you can discuss your case without obligation. Get started today by calling us at 800-925-1875 or contacting us online with your questions.