Do you have to pay medical bills from a personal injury settlement?
When you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, getting compensation through a personal injury settlement can be a lifeline. However, one common question that often arises in such cases is whether you have to pay your medical bills from the settlement amount. The answer is basically yes, although who pays your medical bills and when can depend on a variety of factors unique to your specific case. Read on for a more thorough discussion on this topic, and contact Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello LLP if you’ve been hurt in a car or truck accident, slip and fall, or other serious accident in New York’s Hudson Valley and need help with your claim from an experienced and successful New York personal injury attorney.
Understanding Personal Injury Settlements
A personal injury settlement is a legal agreement reached between the injured party (the plaintiff) and the at-fault party or their insurance company (the defendant). A settlement serves as a resolution to the legal dispute and typically involves the payment of a sum of money to compensate the injured party for their losses and injuries.
In many personal injury cases, medical bills are a significant component of the damages suffered by the plaintiff. These bills can include expenses for emergency room visits, surgeries, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, prescription medications, and more. Whether you have to pay these medical bills from your settlement depends on several factors:
- Liability and Negligence
The first crucial factor to consider is liability. In New York, personal injury claims are often based on the concept of negligence, which means that someone’s failure to exercise reasonable care led to the injury. If the defendant is found to be liable for your injuries due to their negligence, they or their insurance company may be responsible for compensating you for your medical bills as part of the settlement.
- Types of Damages
Personal injury settlements typically cover various types of damages, including economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages encompass tangible financial losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, encompass intangible losses like pain and suffering. In New York, you may be entitled to recover both economic and non-economic damages.
- Health Insurance Coverage
Your health insurance coverage can also play a role in whether you have to pay medical bills from your personal injury settlement. If you have health insurance, it may have covered some or all of your medical expenses related to the injury. In such cases, you may be required to reimburse your health insurance company from the settlement amount for the medical bills they paid on your behalf.
- Medicaid and Medicare
If you receive Medicaid or Medicare benefits, these government programs may have paid for your medical treatment. Similar to private health insurance, you might be obligated to repay these programs from your settlement for the medical expenses they covered.
- Legal Negotiations
The negotiation process between your attorney and the defendant’s insurance company plays a significant role in determining how medical bills are addressed in your settlement. Experienced personal injury attorneys understand how to maximize your compensation, which includes negotiating for the best possible outcome when it comes to covering medical bills.
- Subrogation and Liens
In some cases, third parties, such as medical providers or health insurance companies, may assert subrogation rights or place liens on your settlement. This means they have a legal claim to a portion of your settlement to recover the costs they incurred on your behalf. Skilled attorneys can often negotiate to reduce these claims, ensuring you receive a fair settlement.
A medical lien isn’t always as scary as it sounds. If you don’t have insurance, if your insurance doesn’t cover the type of treatment you need, or if you can’t afford high deductibles and co-pays, getting care from a doctor on a lien basis ensures that you get the full extent of treatment you need. Your attorney can discuss with you whether a medical lien makes the most sense in your situation and help you find a doctor who will treat you on a lien basis if needed.
Maximize Your Settlement With the Help of Skilled and Experienced New York Personal Injury Lawyers
At Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, we focus heavily on personal injury cases in New York and have a strong record of helping clients receive fair settlements that address their medical bills and other damages. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation.
In Ulster County and surrounding areas, call Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, at our offices in Kingston (845-331-4100) and Marlboro (845-236-4411). We’re here to protect your rights and guide you through the legal process. Contact us today to discuss your case and explore your options for pursuing a personal injury claim.