For many people who are injured in accidents that weren’t their fault, personal injury claims, insurance settlements, and lawsuits can help them pay for their medical bills. Getting compensation through the legal system is especially important for people who don’t have health insurance on their own or through work. Studies show that around 15% of Oklahomans are uninsured.
However, that means 85% of the state population IS insured, and many of those people also file claims after injuries. In these cases, victims’ medical bills may be partially or fully paid by their own health insurance policies, but they also may be able to get settlements from at-fault parties and their insurers.
How do these methods of paying for medical bills after an accident work together? We’ve got the answer.
Health Insurance Providers Can Seek Reimbursement from Policyholders’ Settlements
Unfortunately, you can’t “double-dip” when it comes to having your medical bills paid after an accident. If your health insurance provider initially pays for your medical bills and you later decide to file an injury claim against the at-fault party (which you may want to do, in order to get compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering related to your injury), your health insurance provider has the right to seek reimbursement for some or all of the money it paid to cover your medical bills.
This process is called subrogation, and it may involve your health insurer either seeking money from your settlement to cover its costs or filing a separate claim to be reimbursed. Your health insurer will notify you if it plans to file a subrogation claim, and the amount of money they seek will be factored into negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurer and your final settlement total.
Your Lawyer Will Handle Subrogation on Your Behalf
Because most people have some form of health insurance that covers some or all of their medical bills in the immediate aftermath of injury-causing accidents and before their lawsuits are filed, subrogation is a common part of injury claims.
If you file a claim against an at-fault party after having some of your medical bills paid by your health insurer and you are informed that they will be filing a subrogation claim, don’t worry. In addition to your lawyer dealing with the other party’s insurer on your behalf, he or she will also deal with your health insurer on your behalf. As with all aspects of an injury claim, your job will simply be to rest and focus on getting better.
Why File an Injury Claim if You Have Health Insurance?
If you have health insurance that will pay for most or all of your medical bills, and you can’t double-dip on compensation after an accident, you may be wondering why it’s necessary or advisable to file an injury claim, period. The primary reason is because your health insurance will only pay for your medical bills. And while medical bills are a big part of injury claims, they aren’t the only thing victims can and should be compensated for.
By filing an injury claim, you can also get compensation for current and future lost wages. If you become unable to work for years, or if you are forced into a lesser-paying career with fewer advancement opportunities, getting compensation for your future lost wages is extremely important. Many injured victims lose out on hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars over the course of their lifetimes depending on the type of injuries they suffer and how those injuries affect their careers.
You also may be owed compensation for your pain and suffering. While health insurance may cover a small aspect of this, such as the cost of prescription medications, physical therapy, and even counseling, it won’t cover the psychological losses you experience due to pain, disability, and separation from family, friends, and hobbies. While these losses are intangible, they are still very real and you also deserve compensation for them.
Contact Us After an Injury That Wasn’t Your Fault
The potential for subrogation should never deter you from filing an injury claim. They are a routine part of many injury claims in Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma personal injury lawyers at Parrish DeVaughn know how to maximize the recoveries of victims like you both with and without subrogation claims filed by health insurers.
Contact us today for a free consultation. It’s our goal to get you the money you and your family deserve for all of your accident-related expenses.